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Rep. Ken Buck has nothing to say about online sex trafficking bill

December 14, 2017 Updated: December 14, 2017 at 9:54 am
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U.S. Rep. Ken Buck. (Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics)

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week approved two bills to stiffen penalties for online sex trafficking with the assent, but Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, a former Weld County prosecutor, didn't offer much of an opinion.

One of the bills amends the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from liability for sex ads or other content posted by other persons. It has been used by online vendors like Backpage.com to avoid criminal and civil penalties.

The amended law makes the website operators liable if they "knowingly" advertise sex trafficking.

The other bill would revise the Mann Act, which seeks to punish forced prostitution. It could extend liability to websites that intentionally promote prostitution.

The website operators argued they should not be punished for the misdeeds of other persons who post information on websites that allow open access.

Buck, a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, didn't have much to say about it, though, and not much as in nothing.

"He just doesn't have anything to add right now," a spokesman for Buck said in response to an inquiry from Colorado Politics. "The bills really weren't contentious since they passed by voice vote out of a really quick markup. He didn't actually speak at the hearing. It went fast. I'm not sure that there's any particular nexus for Colorado on the bills."

Buck lost a U.S. Senate race in 2010 to Michael Bennet. An accusation he confronted during his campaign was that he was insensitive to concerns of women, once saying a jury might perceive a rape victim had "buyer's remorse."

The allegations first surfaced during the GOP primary that year campaign against Lt. Gov. Jane Norton when he suggested voters should choose him because, "I don't wear high heels."

They arose again during his 2014 successful campaign for Congress when he said he opposed abortion.

The bills approved by the Judiciary Committee now go to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. The Senate already passed a similar bill last month called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

Buck has a primary challenger in former Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning next year, while four candidates so far are in the Democratic primary in Congressional District 4: Larry Germanson, Chase Kohnem Karen McCormick and Richard Lyons Weil.

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