The Senate on Monday approved a House bill that creates state criminal penalties for human trafficking and smuggling.
However, for human smuggling cases, the bill's criminal penalties were dropped from a second degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor. The change was made to coordinate the bill with SB81, an omnibus illegal immigration bill.
While smuggling people for profit would be a a misdemeanor, human trafficking for forced labor or sexual exploitation would still be a felony.
And both crimes would be aggravated to a first degree felony if they involved death of a smuggled or trafficked person or if they involved sex crimes or victims held against their will for more than 180 days.
The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of the Senate's change.