The Utah House voted 59-12 on Monday for a bill that boosts the criminal penalty for operating a sexually-oriented business without a license.
Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, said his bill, HB258, is centered around escort services and aims to provide additional tools to law enforcement to go after prostitution.
“If they don’t have a business license, they can make an arrest off that without having to do the undercover work,” Stenquist said.
Current law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate a sexually-oriented business without a license. Stenquist’s bill would raise the classification to a Class A misdemeanor, which he said is comparable to operating a massage business without a license.
A Class A misdemeanor carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a $2,500 fine.
The bill will now be transferred to the Senate for consideration.