May 10, 2011 4:17 PM by Gene Cotton
DENVER (AP) - House lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill raising the fines for soliciting prostitution to create a scared-straight-type program aimed at discouraging sex solicitation in Colorado.
The House passed the proposal Tuesday on a voice vote. It would raise minimum fines for soliciting prostitutes to between $5,000 and $10,000. The money would be used for a statewide diversion program. Currently, soliciting a prostitute carries a penalty of $75.
First-time offenders would be able to plea bargain and opt to participate in a seminar about the downside of prostitution from former prostitutes.
Major cities around the country have implemented similar diversion programs and say they've had success.
Lawmakers must vote on the bill once more before it can clear the House.