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Committee meeting over "raise the age" legislation gets heated

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk

State representatives exchanged angry remarks in a House committee meeting Tuesday over a series of amendments to a bill package that would raise the age Michigan residents can legally be tried as adults.

The bills would change Michigan law so that 17-year-olds are no longer automatically tried as adults.

Representative Joseph Graves (R-Argentine Township) put forward the amendments, saying he doesn’t think 17-year-olds should be put into the juvenile justice system alongside 12-year-olds.

Graves said results have been “mixed” in other states that raised the age.

Officials with the Michigan League for Public Policy, which supports the legislation, said it’s not clear what states – or data – the representative is talking about.

Representative Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) reprimanded Graves for introducing the amendments that would alter much of the bill package a day before it would be voted on.

“The man who is wanting to amend my bill hasn’t even returned my telephone calls; he sits next to me in committee, this is incredible. It’s rude,” said Howrylak.

Graves says he did return Howrylak’s phone calls.

The committee is expected to vote on the bill package – including the amendments – Wednesday morning.

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