‘Raise the Age’ bill advances despite some funding concerns

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A measure to end the practice of automatically prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds as adults continues to advance through the North Carolina legislature despite funding concerns from prosecutors and lawmakers.

The House Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to recommend the “raise the age” bill to the entire chamber. A floor vote could come next week.

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North Carolina will soon become the only state that automatically tries the teens as adults. The proposal would take effect in 2019, shifting misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases to juvenile court.

A competing Senate proposal would only shift misdemeanor cases.

Some lawmakers were concerned about the financial challenges of moving cases to juvenile court.

Ashley H. Welch, district attorney for the 30th District, told the panel that offices like hers statewide already face underfunding and staffing shortages.

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