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Document: Missouri House Bill 12

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A Missouri House committee on Tuesday moved forward the bill that would raise the minimum age for proposed mandatory juvenile certification hearings for some crimes to 16 years old.

A House Special Committee on Criminal Justice substitute for HB 12 was passed Monday, put forward by committee chairman state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin.

Dogan's amendment proposed the minimum age for which a juvenile offender accused of armed criminal action would be required to have a hearing on whether their case be tried in the adult system be 16 — instead of 12, as it is currently for other specific felonies, and instead of 14, which had been a compromise a bipartisan majority of state senators had agreed to.

The Missouri Senate had previously passed 27-3 a crime bill containing Gov. Mike Parson's legislative agenda for the special legislative session, but Republican leadership in the House stalled that bill after Parson expanded the agenda further to include a proposal for the state's attorney general to be able to take on murder cases yet to be prosecuted by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office.

One of the pieces of the anti-violent crime agenda was for courts to be required to determine if a juvenile should be tried as an adult for unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action charges.

Senators reached a compromise that included that the minimum age for those hearings be 14, instead of 12, after the younger age raised concerns from lawmakers, policy advocates and protesters that children as young as 12 would be tried as adults and Black youth would be targeted.

Parson's legislative agenda was split up into separate House bills, and Dogan's amendment to the juvenile certification bill, HB 12, kept the Senate's work intact, but added provisions including that the minimum age for a juvenile certification hearing be 16, and that unlawful use of a weapon not be included as a crime that would mandate such a hearing.

The House Rules-Administrative Oversight committee — of which Dogan is a member — voted 12-1 Tuesday to move the substitute bill forward.

The House is scheduled to convene at noon Monday to begin discussions on the floor about the bills that are part of Parson's special session agenda.

There has been no committee action yet on Parson's proposal regarding the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, and none was scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.

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