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Hawaii lawmaker, police agree to prostitution ban

HONOLULU--A key Hawaii lawmaker considering an anti-prostitution bill says he and Honolulu police have agreed to get rid of a longtime exemption that allowed officers to have sex with prostitutes.

State Sen. Clayton Hee, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he and police agreed at a meeting Tuesday that the exemption ran contrary to popular opinion.

Honolulu police said during the meeting that they're OK with making it expressly illegal for officers to have sex with prostitutes, as long as undercover officers can still say they'll have sex so they can make arrests.

Honolulu police spokeswoman Teresa Bell told The Associated Press that officers have never been allowed to have sex with prostitutes under departmental rules, so making it illegal won't change how officers operate.

“That's exactly what we wanted and how we've been conducting our investigations — with the verbal offer,” Bell said.

Bell said Hee met with officers who submitted written and oral testimony to a House committee earlier in the legislative session.

The bill passed the House without a clause that would have made sex with prostitutes illegal for officers after police lobbied to have the language removed, arguing it would inhibit undercover investigations by giving criminals knowledge of what police can and cannot do.

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