Update: Anti-trafficking Bill Makes Progress

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, meeting on October 30, voted “ought to pass” on HB 201 as introduced. The vote was 16-4. HB 201 was introduced last January, retained in committee, and will get a vote in the full House in January 2020.

HB 201 would increase penalties for anyone who pays to engage in sexual contact with a minor who is being trafficked. “Minor” means under the age of 18 – in other words, a child. The bill’s chief sponsor is Rep. Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton), with a bipartisan team of co-sponsors joining her.

Cornerstone has supported this bill since its introduction. We spoke up to support the bill and its sponsors when attempts were made last February to weaken the bill. As Rep. Jody McNally (R-Rochester) said at the time, “This [bill] is not about the johns. It’s about the kids.”

One member of the Criminal Justice committee commented publicly before the recent vote, saying he was influenced by the large number of calls he received, asking him to support the bill as introduced, with no weakening amendments.

The legislator’s remark is a good reminder: Never underestimate the power of brief, clear, courteous communication with lawmakers.

How did committee members vote?

Here is how House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee members voted October 30 on the “ought to pass” motion. 

  • Voting YES: Reps. Daryl Abbas (R-Salem), Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), Dennis Green (R-Hampstead), Linda Harriott-Gathright (D-Nashua), Jody McNally (R-Rochester), David Meuse (D-Portsmouth), Nancy Murphy (D-Merrimack; she made the “ought to pass” motion), Ray Newman (D-Nashua), Andrew O’Hearne (D-Claremont), Linn Opderbecke (D-Dover), Laura Pantelakos (D-Portsmouth), Julie Radhakrishnan (D-Amherst), Dave Testerman (R-Franklin), Beth Rodd (D-Bradford), Scott Wallace (R-Danville), David Welch (R-Kingston).
  • Voting NO: Reps. John Bordenet (D-Keene), John Burt (R-Goffstown), John Potucek (R-Derry, sitting in for the absent Rep. Dennis Fields), and Sandy Swinburne (D-Marlborough).

Thank-yous to supportive representatives are always appropriate, but don’t give up on persuading others! Cornerstone encourages every state representative to support HB 201 when it comes to the House floor in January 2020.