Mayor Bloomberg signs bill to punish cabbies who knowingly participate in sex trafficking
Women in sexy clothes protested the bill outside CIty Hall last week
New York - After thinking it over for a couple of days, Mayor Bloomberg today got hooked on legislation imposing heavier penalties on cabbies who knowingly transport prostitutes.
The mayor stunned everyone at what was supposed to be a routine bill-signing hearing at City Hall on Wednesday when he announced that he needed more information before he could support the measure that had been endorsed by his own administration.
"I pointed out that in this day and age young people go out clubbing and they wear very risque (outfits)," Bloomberg recalled. "You can't have a taxi driver decide who is and who isn't (a prostitute)."
Turns out that cabbies don't have to become fashion police.
The mayor said he learned that the bill would add a $10,000 fine only when a taxi driver is convicted for a second time of being part of a hooker ring.
"There's no penalty for transporting a prostitute or a decoy, but only for knowingly engaging in a sex trafficking operation that's already against the law," the mayor said.
Drivers who testified against the measure on Wednesday said they were afraid cops wouldn't make that distinction and would pull them over whenever they picked up a scantily-clas passenger.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens), who sponsored the legislation, issued a sigh of relief when the mayor signed the bill during his weekly radio show on Friday morning -- apparently a first in city history.
"I'm very happy this is finally happening," she said. "It's really for unscrupulous drivers who hide behind the license."
"The more I read it and the more I talked about it, the better I think your idea is," responded the mayor. "As we are speaking, I am signing the bill."