This week Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon)presented HB 274 at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. Referred to as “Raise the Age”, HB 274 would raise the age for juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18. Missouri is currently one of only 7 states that automatically treats 17 years old as adults in the criminal justice system, regardless of how minor their offense.
Numerous witnesses, including representatives from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), attorneys, and child advocates joined the MCC in supporting the bill. They noted that raising the age would help the youth, be cost effective and make Missouri safer. Opposition to the bill came mainly from individuals concerned about the cost of keeping 17 year olds in the juvenile system. The committee took no action on the bill.
For more information about the hearing, check out this story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.