New Jersey’s attorney general has a new law on the books that allows her to use her office to enforce state prostitution laws, and it will likely have an impact on her office’s ability to enforce other state laws.
Chris Christie signed into law HB 1614, which allows a state agency to prosecute those who provide services for sex work or solicitation, in a signed statement on Monday, and the law has broad implications for how state prosecutors will work with other state agencies and how they handle prostitution cases.
The law, which passed in December, gives the attorney general the authority to issue arrest warrants for persons who knowingly engage in prostitution in New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
It does not create a separate state prostitution statute, which was first proposed in 2014 by then-Gov.
Jon Corzine, a Democrat.
State law currently only allows prosecutors to charge individuals who engage in the sex trade for criminal solicitation.
The law also does not make any exceptions for individuals who are providing services to people for whom they do not own property or are not required to register as sex offenders.
A spokesman for Christie said the new law “provides a new level of enforcement, by allowing the attorney to take the lead in prosecuting prostitution offenders, and provides additional resources for the Department of Justice.”
The new law is one of several laws signed into existence by Christie, and is part of a package of legislation that includes measures that are aimed at protecting New Jerseyers from prostitution.
Christie signed another bill last month that expands the definition of prostitution to include people who provide sex work.