“Raise the Age” passes!

It’s been a long journey, but “Raise the Age” legislation has finally passed! Once the governor signs the bill, 17-year-olds will no longer be tried in adult courts. Congrats to Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) and Rep. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles) for their leadership on sponsoring the bills. And a big thanks to our MOCAN network for their dedication in contacting legislators to keep the bill moving!

The final saga of the bill started when the House of Representatives voted 139-4 to pass SB 793 on Monday. Several amendments were added to the bill. The bill then went to the Senate. The Senate could either have accepted the amendments or called for a conference committee. Sen. Wallingford decided to ask the Senate to accept the amendments. In a vote of 32-1 on Thursday, the Senate truly agreed and finally passed the bill.

Missouri was one of five states that had not raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction. Arrest records in Missouri in 2015 showed that 93% of 17-year-olds were accused of nonviolent or misdemeanor offenses. Raising the age will not prevent 17-year-olds accused of serious offenses from being prosecuted as adults. Keeping 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to promote public safety.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.