HONOLULU — Police in Hawaii would no longer be legally permitted to have sex with prostitutes under a bill passed Friday by a state legislative panel that would end the unusual exemption in state law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a larger bill that cracks down on prostitution after amending it to nix the exemption involving police conduct.

The bill’s next stop will be a vote on the Senate floor.

Honolulu police previously asked lawmakers to retain the exemption as a way to keep secret the methods of undercover officers. They assured the committee that their officers do not abuse the protection and that strict internal rules prevent misconduct.

The bill, HB 1926, passed the House with the exemption intact.

However, state senators last week announced their intention to remove it after The Associated Press reported on the police lobbying.

Honolulu police say internal policies hold officers to high standards of conduct, and lawmakers have said there’s no obvious evidence of wrongdoing on the part of police.

But defense attorneys for prostitutes have said their clients allege that police had sex with them before making arrests.

Myles Breiner, a former Honolulu prosecutor turned defense attorney, testified before the Senate committee last week that police have sex with prostitutes a “surprising” number of times.

“Most recently,” he told lawmakers, “I had a case in which my client had sexual intercourse with three officers consecutively one evening before she was finally arrested.”