CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Members of the Ordinance and Rules Committee of the city of Charleston were torn in their decision Monday evening about the prostitution ordinance that will eliminate the possibility of jail time for first-time prostitution offenders.
The big issue with those who voted no was that this ordinance will be retroactive, meaning that anyone with pending prostitution charges that have not been finalized will also be able to avoid jail time for his or her crime.
This will apply to the case of high-profile lobbyist, Phil Reale, who was accused of and arrested for soliciting a prostitute at the corner of Washington Street West and Beatrice Street in July.
Mayor Danny Jones said that the case with Reale acted as a catalyst for this ordinance, but the main goal is to save the city money by eliminating the need to pay for lawyers and jurors for first-time prostitution offenders. He also said that the city of Charleston hasn't sent anyone to jail for this type of offense in more than 40 years.
Monday's vote went 6-2 in favor of the ordinance; it will now go onto Charleston City Council for final voting. The next city council meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Dec. 2.