HB 725 “Raise the Age” may be dead for this year, but don’t be surprised if we see it again. The North Carolina General Assembly website indicates the bill is “held in the Senate Clerk’s Office,” which means the Senate has not even considered the bill for this legislative session. That’s why it looks dead – for now.
HB 725 would raise from 16 to 18 the age at which defendants in misdemeanor cases go directly to an adult court. The bill would also create a committee to oversee the implementation of the law. A version of this bill was introduced in 2012 and was not successful. It was reintroduced in the 2013 session and was still in play during this session. In May it was approved by the House then sent to the Senate Clerk’s Office, where it now languishes.
Civitas has questioned repeatedly why the law needs to be changed. It still seems to us that some 16- and 17-year-olds commit crimes serious enough to be tried in adult court. It looks as if the Senate is also questioning why current law needs to be changed.
Will we see a version of HB 725 in the 2015 General Assembly as well? Its supporters have not been deterred by past failures, so it may well be that they’ll try again next year.