Only a vote of the full House is needed for the Legislature to take 17-year-olds who commit minor crimes out of the pipeline to adult jail and put Louisiana in line with most other states. A House committee passed Senate Bill 324 without objection Wednesday (May 11). The Senate voted overwhelmingly last week in favor of New Orleans Sen. J.P. Morrell's bill to "raise the age" from 17 to 18 for adult charges.
The House vote is expected to be more difficult, but Sen. Morrell believes he is bringing some members around.
"When you look at the people who are in support of this bill, we've lost opposition and gathered additional support," he said. "I think what's happened is a groundswell of different people, whether it be activists for youth or businesses, they all realize it's the right thing to do."