SALT LAKE CITY -- Anyone who drives a prostitute to a hotel or motel for illegal purposes may end up getting charged with a class B misdemeanor if a local lawmaker's bill makes it through the Legislature.
The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Thursday unanimously approved HB 276, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton.
The bill now goes to the House for further consideration.
Ray said he and Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, spent some time with the Salt Lake City police vice squad last summer.
"The prostitute takes the brunt of the charges, while the pimp, the one who is setting up the deals, taking the lowest amount of risk and making the most money, rarely gets charged," Ray said.
His bill would make it a class B misdemeanor for the person to drive a prostitute to the hotel.
"Let's be perfectly clear, the person behind this, pushing it, rapes, beats and abuses these young girls," Ray said. "These are bad actors, and we need a provision to go after these bad people."
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank told the committee that the people who would be charged, if this bill passes, are usually waiting outside the motel or hotel.
"They absolutely know what is going on," Burbank said.