“Raise the Age” Bills Pass Committee

This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed both the House and Senate versions of “Raise the Age” legislation. SB 793, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau), and HB 1255, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles), had a hearing the previous week. The committee voiced support for raising the age for juveniles to be tried in adult courts to 18. Missouri is one of only five states that still prosecutes all 17-year-olds in adult court, regardless of the crime.

The sticking point was how to fund the measure. The fiscal note estimates a price tag of $10 million when the bill is fully implemented in 2024. The committee added several amendments to the bill to help pay the cost of juvenile services, including a $2.00 surcharge on traffic violations, and the ability for prosecutors to charge convicted offenders a fine up to $500 if the victim was a child. The collected fees will be held in a separate fund, which will expire on August 28, 2024.