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House raises adult criminal age to 18 years old
The vote was 256-40 and came despite impassioned pleas by several Republicans that the present system should not be changed. The House originally passed the bill, 324-17, in early January and sent it to its Finance Committee. The panel found that the bill, if passed, would result in significant savings to the state and county corrections systems. The finance panel recommended that the bill ought to pass on a 25-0 vote.
Rep. William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, argued for keeping the age of majority at 17, where it has been since 1996.
“What this bill says to these monsters is that if you are under 18, you will get out when you are 21.”
O’Brien said such policy decisions should be made by lawmakers, not prosecutors.
Rep. Mary Beth Walz, D-Bow, said O’Brien’s concerns are “a straw man.
Rep. Robert Rowe, R-Amherst, opposed the bill, saying, “Leave the system alone.
“What we’re doing is an effort to save money rather than individuals.”
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