The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Engaged In Any Sexual Solicitation Lately?


If you live in Utah, you've probably already committed multiple acts that could be considered sexual solicitation under Utah's newly passed, two-page, broadly-worded HB121 which sailed through the legislature and governor's desk without opposition from either party.  As background, consider the May 20th Tribune article "Escorts: Utah law makes acting sexy illegal".  The article, while commendable, stops short of analyzing the full repercussions of the new law.

The broadness of HB121 originates from lines 46-8 which reads:
(2) An intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee may be inferred from a person's engaging in, offering or agreeing to engage in, or requesting or directing another to engage in  any of the acts described in Subsection (1)(c) under the totality of the existing circumstances.
That is to say if one as much as "engages in" any of the activities in Subsection (1)(c), they may have their behavior inferred to mean "an intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee" subject only to a vague, undefined, open-to-interpretation-by-a-judge phrase "under the totality of existing circumstances."

The activity in Subsection (1)(c) is defined as:
(i) exposure of a person's genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast below the top of the areola;
(ii) masturbation;
(iii) touching of a person's genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast; or (iv) any act of lewdness.
Thus in theory, if you have touched or exposed your genitals, buttocks, anus, pubic area, or female areolas, (and thus "engaged in" sexual activity by definition of lines 46-8) your actions may be inferred to constitute an "intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee" and thus sexual solicitation subject to interpretation by a judge.

The absurd broadness of this law could lead the following actions to be considered sexual solicitation (even if done in private):
  • Going to the bathroom (exposing and/or touching one's genitals)
  • Bathing, taking a shower or undressing (lewdness, exposure)
  • A physician who requests you to remove clothing (exposure, lewdness)
  • A TSA agent looking at your nudy backscatter image or giving you an aggressive patdown
  • Breastfeeding (exposure of the female areola)
  • Consensual intercourse (exposure of genitalia)
  • Applying sunscreen on your buttocks or other areas (touching prohibited here)
  • Scratching of the groin or other areas due to jock itch, etc (again, no touching)
  • Dozens of other possibilities
I predict this one won't make it through the courts, but until lawmakers come to their senses or judges rule, keep your clothes on and don't touch.  And just maybe blogger Connor Boyack isn't so off target in his Invitation to Repeal bad and excessive legislation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The new law is a good law. The article leaves a distorted view of it.

It is a great way to protect cops and their families and not take away the rights of others.

The final version of the bill passed both houses with NO one voting against it on the floor of either chamber. No republicans, No democrats.

You have a bill sponsored by a democrat representative, floor sponsored by a republican senator, vetted twice in public by the House Judiciary committee having both liberals and conservatives and vetting once in public by the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee. It was signed by the Governor.

I guess they filed a federal lawsuit as I don't know a state judge that wouldn't applaud the law. It has a good balance for both the accused and the arresting officer.

The only complaint I have for 2011 HB 121 is it should have a parent warning label on the text. It is specific. I would agree with you on that point.