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Summary: HB 32 targets solicitors of prostitutes under the age of 18 and multiple offenders of other prostitution related crimes by:
Analysis: HB 32 adds escalating levels of punishment for repeat offenders of certain prostitution related crimes, with a particular focus on those who promote prostitution of people under the age of 17 or solicit prostitutes under the age of 17. We support measures that reduce prostitution, escalate punishment for multiple offenses, and protect minors involved in prostitution. Our only area of concern with this bill is the sex offender registry requirement for anyone convicted of soliciting a person under the age of 18, regardless of the solicitor's knowledge of the prostitute's age.
The Texas sex offender list contains over 70,000 registrants because the definition of a sexual offense in Texas is very broad. With so many people on the sex offender list, it can be very difficult to determine whether one of these 70,000 people is a malicious individual with intent to do harm or a non-violent individual who made a poor choice. Lumping these types of offenders together makes the sex offender list a less effective tool for parents to use to protect their children. This bill would require lifetime sex offender registration by an 18 year old who solicits a 17 year old. In this case, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. The sex offender list should be reserved for those who truly constitute a predatory threat. We recommend the House approve HB 32 with an amendment to strike provision (B-1) in Section 3.