House panel approves juvenile justice reform bill

House panel approves juvenile justice reform bill
© Getty Images

A House panel on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to reform juvenile justice systems across the country.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted to send the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act of 2016 to the full House for consideration.


The bill introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Ranking Member Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE (D-Va.) would update and reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.

The bill aims for a number of reforms, including giving local authorities more flexibility to deal with juvenile justice issues.

The legislation also looks to help young people as they transition out of the juvenile justice system and ensure they have access to education and other services.

Curbelo said the bill would help set young people up for long-term success while improving oversight and accountability.

"These reforms will help more children acquire the skills and the knowledge to hold themselves accountable for their actions, grow into productive members of society and seize opportunities to work toward a brighter future," Curbelo said.

The bill had broad bipartisan support, with Dem Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonTeacher's union leader: DeVos is 'a cautionary tale' of presidential impact on public education Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' Democrats lash out at DeVos over proposed changes to loan forgiveness plan MORE (Fla.) calling it “a validation of my life’s work.”

Wilson said she hopes “states take [this] seriously and abide by [it].”

It's unclear if the bill will be taken up by the full House this year, with lawmakers focused on passing funding legislation by the end of the month and the November elections looming.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads MORE (R-Iowa) is working to push a similar juvenile justice measure in the upper chamber.

Despite the odds, Rep. Scott said he was confident that “we can get this bill on the president’s desk in a few weeks.”