This week, the House Judiciary Committee voted HB 274 “Do Pass” by a vote of 9-1. Sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles), the bill would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years of age. With the recent passage of a similar bill in New York, Missouri is now only one of six states to treat 17-year-olds as adults in the justice system.
To supporters of HB 274, including the MCC, 17-year-olds can better be held accountable and set on the right track if they are held in the juvenile justice system. Though the vast majority of crimes these youth commit in Missouri are misdemeanor or nonviolent offenses, HB 274 would not prevent 17-year-olds accused of serious offenses from being prosecuted as adults.
The bill now goes to the Rules Committee for further review.