Sex trafficking bill heard at Nevada Legislature
April 11, 2017
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held hearings on several bills dealing with issues surrounding sex and juveniles.
SB488 by Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, would expand Nevada's sex trafficking laws to include not just those actually trafficking young people but to what she described as all the participants. She said that includes those who arrange the transportation of, primarily, young women from one place to another for illicit and illegal sex acts. She said it goes after "the facilitators" of commercial sex acts and involuntary servitude. The bill would also make it a crime for the abuser to travel to Nevada to participate in these sex crimes.
She presented a young woman named Kimberly who told the committee she was repeatedly sold for sex when she was as young as 11 to multiple men.
Spearman said the federal law criminalizes those activities but in Nevada, "we don't have statutes to protect children who are exploited."
Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, presented three bills including SB472 that makes changes to existing rules regulating the registration and community notification of juvenile sex offenders including setting mandatory hearings for those offenders to determine on or before their 21st birthday whether they should continue to have to register or be allowed off that list. The committee was told if the bill doesn't pass, laws already on the books will take effect and have a "horrible impact" on juveniles.
Hammond also introduced SB473 that makes it clear juveniles are exempted from the increased penalties put in two years ago that were actually intended to apply only to adult offenders. And SB470 by Hammond deals with a mechanism to allow school districts to share information about a pupil with criminal investigators, information such as their grades, attendance and actions in school.
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Judiciary Chairman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, described Hammond's package of bills as three winners.
The committee also heard Spearman's SB124, a measure that increases penalties for domestic violence, including elevating a third offense to a Category B felony punishable by a minimum of six years in prison.
She said the bill ensures those convicted of domestic violence or even misdemeanor stalking are also prohibited from owning or having a firearm.
Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said the bill he sponsored two years ago already does that but Spearman said it doesn't go far enough and needs to be strengthened to match the military provisions barring those who commit domestic violence from having a gun.
Roberson said he believes her bill would be retroactive.
"We could have someone convicted of misdemeanor stalking decades ago who now suddenly is a felon, a Category B felony and they won't even have notice," he said. "The bill would create a lot of people who were not felons yesterday but they are now."
Staff confirmed the measure as written would be retroactive to all individuals convicted of domestic violence or stalking.
He and opponents of the bill also objected to the provision that would bar someone under an extended protective order but not convicted of any crime from having firearms.
The committee took no action on any of the measures.