Hawaii Lawmakers to End Prostitution Exemption

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers say they plan to change a bill to end a police exemption under the state's prostitution laws.

Currently, police acting in the course of their duties in Hawaii are legally allowed to have sex with prostitutes. Law enforcement experts and women's advocates have called that provision unnecessary and an invitation to abuse.

Lawmakers have been working to revamp and toughen Hawaii's decades-old law against prostitution, and had proposed scrapping the sex exemption for officers on duty.

But Honolulu police officials told lawmakers the exemption is a valuable crime-fighting tool, and an amended version of the bill later passed the House with the exemption intact.

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from citizens, advocates and lawyers who argued against the exemption. No police testified, and Committee Chairman Clayton Hee said he would amend the bill to end the exemption.

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