R 340
2021 -- H 5250 SUBSTITUTE A
Enacted 07/01/2021

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Williams, Ajello, Vella-Wilkinson, Alzate, Henries, and Morales

Date Introduced: January 29, 2021

     WHEREAS, There has been significant research on the safety and health impact of laws
specifically related to violence, exploitation, stigma, human trafficking and sexual health, but
more needs to be done analyzing the data; and
     WHEREAS, These laws disproportionately impact women, transgender individuals, and
people of color; and
     WHEREAS, Police treatment and behavior of marginalized and targeted communities,
especially Black people and transgender women, is being highlighted and addressed throughout
our Nation and the State of Rhode Island, and it is imperative upon us to ensure justice and
accountability in the way our laws impact our citizens; and
     WHEREAS, There has been a documented increase in exploitation and violence against
people in the sex industry in Rhode Island since the passage of federal legislation
     WHEREAS, A newly-published meta-analysis of 134 studies, spanning many nations and
published over a 28-year period, showed increased violence and incidence of STIs in jurisdictions
with repressive police practices; and
     WHEREAS, A 2017 study, conducted by Baylor University's Scott Cunningham and
Manisha Shah of the University of California Los Angeles, published in the Review of Economic
Studies found that during 2003 through 2009, while indoor prostitution was still decriminalized in
Rhode Island, the number of rapes diminished by 31 percent and the statewide incidence of
gonorrhea among women diminished by 39 percent; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That a special legislative commission be and the same is hereby created
consisting of thirteen (13) members: two (2) of whom shall be members of the House, to be
appointed by the Speaker of the House; one of whom shall be from the organization COYOTE-
RI, to be appointed by the commission Chairperson; one of whom shall be from the organization
Amnesty International, to be appointed by the commission Chairperson; two (2) of whom shall be
representatives of organizations serving populations disproportionately impacted by the
criminalization of commercial sex, with priority given to organizations focused on improving
public health, supporting survivors of violence and sexual assault, and civil rights organizations,
to be appointed by the commission Chairperson; one of whom shall be the Director of the
Department of Health, or designee; one of whom shall be an attorney from the Rhode Island
Public Defender's Office, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; one of whom shall be the
Rhode Island Attorney General, or designee; one of whom shall be from the Brown University
Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; two (2)
of whom shall be individuals that have engaged in commercial sex, to be appointed by the
commission Chairperson; and one of whom shall be the President of the Rhode Island Police
Chief's Association, or designee.
     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory
commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a General Assembly
resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu
of a legislator, provided that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party which
is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of the member of the general public.
     The purpose of said commission shall be to make a comprehensive study and provide
recommendations on the health and safety impact of revising laws related to commercial sexual
activity, identifying the methods of human trafficking and exploitation to develop strategies to
reduce these activities, and ensuring accountability in the treatment of marginalized and targeted
communities by police.
     Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at
the call of the Speaker of the House and organize and shall select a chairperson from among the
     Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.
     The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,
documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or
desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.
     The Speaker of the House is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters
for said commission; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and results to the House of
Representatives on or before May 31, 2023, and said commission shall expire on June 30, 2023.
LC000038/SUB A