SALEM -- A proposed law passed out of a legislative committee Wednesday that would make it a felony to solicit sex from a minor on the first offense.
The law would finally bring Oregon in line with 45 other states who have similar laws. The bill now goes to the Senate and House for a floor vote where it is expected to pass.
Many thought this day would never come. It's been a political tug of war over House Bill 2019.
As of just a few weeks ago even, both sides had come to a compromise making soliciting sex from a minor a felony only on the second offense. Wednesday, Sen. Prozanski (D-Eugene) called a joint conference committee to reconsider the bill.
Bolstered in part by KGW coverage, advocates of the bill never stopped lobbying. Even police officers from Portland's sex trafficking unit drove down to Salem to talk to the politicians in person.
Police said the bill as it stood, didn't have the bite. It would be nearly impossible to catch the same prostitution customer twice.
"I do think it took some time for the legislation to put that all together and say okay, we get it. This is a serious crime that's going on more than most people know," said Joel Shapiro with the Children Are Not For Sale in Oregon Coalition.
Here's what the bill will most likely look like:
- The offender will be charged with a felony
- 30 days of jail
- A judge could make them register as a sex offender
- A $10,000 fine
- Mandatory treatment class