AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has approved a bill seeking to raise from 17 to 18 the age at which offenders automatically enter Texas’ adult legal system.
Thursday’s vote sends the proposal by Houston Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton and several bipartisan co-sponsors to the state Senate. A Senate version of the bill is pending in committee but hasn’t yet cleared committee there.
Dutton’s bill isn’t expected to cost the state money in its 2018-2019 budget, but eventually could cost $35-million-plus annually.
Past efforts to “raise the age” stalled in Texas, which leads the nation in executions and relishes its tough-on-crime reputation.
But this session’s House bill passed relatively easily, endorsed by youth organizations and criminal justice reform groups, as well as conservatives who want Texas to cut the costs of its prisons.
This story has been corrected to show that Rep. Harold Dutton sponsored the bill. Repe Gene Wu was a co-sponsor.