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‘We All Look Like Fools’: CA Democrat Stands Up for Children and Against Her Party on Senate Floor

Under current California law, an individual convicted of purchasing a child for sex could be sentenced to as little as two days in jail. It is unconscionable that individuals committing such heinous crimes against the most vulnerable in our society could receive nearly no punishment, and be back on the street to do it again just two days later. But bills demanding criminals spend more time in jail don’t get very far in a state legislature dominated by liberal Democrats worried about high incarceration rates of racial minorities. Yet one self-described “progressive” Democrat, who is term-limited and unable to run for re-election, has had enough and called out her own party on the floor of the Senate for being soft on crime. 

“As a progressive proud member of this body for the last 12 years, I’m done,” Senator Susan Eggman stated in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor. “I’m done with us protecting people who would buy and abuse our children. I’m done. I don’t want to send more black and brown men to prison. I don’t want more people in prison. But I don’t want people buying girls. I don’t want people buying little girls anymore. And I’m tired of saying it’s okay and we have to protect the men who do it. … We have given enough on this area, and we have got to move back into the center, or we all look like fools and laughingstocks.” 

Senator Eggman (D-Stockton) was standing in defense of SB 1414, a bipartisan bill authored by Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) which would make the purchase of a minor for commercial sex a felony in CA. The CA State Senate voted unanimously to pass SB 1414, but the bill was watered down in the Public Safety Committee against Grove’s strong opposition, likely sparking Senator Eggman’s growing frustration. 

In the committee, Democratic members proposed hostile amendments to SB 1414 and voted the modified bill out of the committee without the approval or consent of Senator Grove. Under the amended bill, buying a minor for sex only qualifies as a felony if the child who was solicited/purchased is 15 years old or younger. Even then, the predator would not qualify for prison time. If the individual has a previous conviction for soliciting/purchasing a child 16 or younger and is convicted a second time of buying a child who is under 16 years old and the victim and buyer are more than 10 years apart, then the predator would be required to register as a Tier One sex offender (10 years).

“Men are being given a little slap on the hand or a couple days [in jail] and then they’re back out again and they do the same thing,” Senator Eggman continued. “They get caught over and over and over again. And somehow that’s okay. It’s not okay. It is not okay anymore.”

“A lot of these kids can’t be throw-away kids. They are poor kids. They are kids of color. But they shouldn’t have to live a life determined by what happens to them by others at a very young age. And have the Democratic Party of California say it’s okay. It is not okay, and I’m not doing it anymore,” Senator Janet Nguyen (R) testified on the Senate floor.

“Protecting children from predators shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” said Vice President of California Family Council Greg Burt. “We’re thankful for legislators like Senator Eggman, who are willing to look beyond party lines and stand up for the greater good. It’s time to say ‘enough’ to anyone defending those who prey on innocent children. Though we were frustrated by Senator Grove’s bill being watered down in committee, we are thankful for the spark it ignited in many legislators to stand up for children. We hope SB 1414 is strengthened as it progresses through the Assembly.”


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