Bipartisan bill packages to “Raise the Age” when people can be automatically tried as adults were reintroduced into the new legislative sessions of Michigan’s House and Senate last week.
This is the third time “Raise The Age” legislation, which moves the presumptive age to be tried as an adult from 17 to 18-years-old, has been introduced. A large coalition of impacted people, criminal justice reform organizations, activists, and legislators statewide are hoping that the third time will be the charm.
Why do so many people in Michigan remain committed to Raising the Age? Here is how Alicia Guevara Warren of the Michigan League for Public Policy put it:
“Every day we delay this change, there are 17-year-old kids who are being forced into a system that wasn’t designed for them.
Every day we hold off, these kids experience trauma. They lose crucial hours of education. They miss out on opportunities to grow and discover their potential.
But today could be the day we start to change their lives. With the start of a new legislative session and the bipartisan support this issue has, we’re so well-poised to raise the age and give kids a chance to learn from their mistakes and move forward. It’s time to do the right thing.”
The sponsors of this package represent the full diversity of Michigan, both politically and geographically, and directly address many of the objections that stymied previous versions of the package.
Jason Smith, Director of Youth Justice Policy at the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency (MCCD) believes this combination of stakeholders and advocates will make this year that Michigan finally joins the overwhelming majority of states who already Raised the Age:
“I am very optimistic about the passage of legislation this session. There is a diverse and growing coalition of stakeholders that are committed to its success. Legislative leadership on both sides of the aisle are supportive of the bills. And polling shows that the majority of Michiganders are in favor as well. Simply put, Raise the Age is sound public policy, broadly supported and long overdue.”
Not only are there reasons to be optimistic, but Tom Hickson, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy at the Michigan Catholic Conference, also thinks that the benefits of passage could have real and meaningful societal safety benefits:
“Thirty-four percent of youth exposed to the adult system are more likely to reoffend and escalate to more violent offenses than their counterparts in the juvenile justice system. Passing Raise the Age will help reduce victimization in this state and help youthful offenders get on a path to a more productive future”
The list of sponsors of the Raise the Age package in the House includes:
Rep.Roger Hauck (R), Rep. Doug Wozniak (R), Rep. Julie Calley (R), Rep. Ryan Berman (R), Rep. Michael Webber (R), Rep. Daire Rendon (R) Rep. David LaGrand (D), Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D), Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D), Rep. Brian Elder (D), Rep.Leslie Love (D), Rep. Graham Filler (R), Rep. Tommy Brann (R), Rep. Mary Whiteford (R)
The bills in the House are numbered HB 4133 through HB 4146 and include two bills (HB 4144 and HB 4146) that are designed to provide funding solutions for the implementation of Raise the Age legislation.
The list of sponsors of the Raise the Age package in the Senate includes:
Sen. Peter Lucido (R), Sen. Jeff Irwin (D), Sen. Sylvia Santana (D), Sen. Curt VanderWall (R), Sen. Marshall Bullock (D), Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D), Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), Sen. Ruth Johnson (R), Mike McDonald (R), Sen. Adam Hollier (D), and Sen. Jim Runestad (R)
And the Senate Bill numbers are SBs 84, and SBs 90 through 102.
November 28, 2018
See the post shared by Michigan Council on Crime & Delinquency below to learn more about today’s action on this issue:
This morning, Raise the Age Legislation was reported out of the MI House Law and Justice Committee to the full House for approval! Committee members showed strong support for the bills, most of which passed by a 9-2 margin.
The successful vote is a major step forward in the legislative process. Passage of the full House and Senate, culminated by the Governor’s signature, is necessary for these bills become law prior to Sine Die (the expiration of the 2017-18 Legislative Session).
Today’s vote occurred one day after the Law and Justice Committee adopted substitute bill versions that push back the legislation’s effective date to 2021.
The package also includes a funding bill sponsored by Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy). The Howrylak funding mechanism provides an essential, perhaps final, piece of the legislative puzzle.
“We are thrilled to see that committee members are prioritizing the safety and well-being of Michigan’s justice-involved youth!” said Mary King, executive director for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. “These bills represent an investment that will result in long term gains for our state.”
While the legislative process offers no guarantees, the establishment of the funding bill, along with the new implementation timeline, has created significant momentum for Raise the Age.
Read more coverage of today’s vote in the Detroit News by clicking here.
TAKE ACTION: Help Us Raise the Age in Michigan!
Michigan is one of only four states that has not yet raised the age. We are getting close, but need your help. It’s quick and simple: take action by sending your House member a letter urging him or her to Raise the Age in Michigan!
Please click here if you are interested in getting involved or taking action on this issue.