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Senate Public Affairs Committee OKs two crime bills

The Senate Public Affairs Committee this evening endorsed two crime-related bills that earlier passed the House.

Both bills now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 72 gives judges access to certain offenders’ juvenile records when they’re making decisions about whether to release them before trial.

That sort of review would occur in the judges’ chambers. The offenders would have to be under 30 years old and charged with felonies, and the juvenile records would have to involve serious offenses.

It passed the committee unanimously.

House Bill 29 would authorize — but not require — counties and municipalities to enact curfews for children under 16 between midnight and 5 a.m.. There would be exceptions — for example, for youth who were on their way to or from school or church events.

Police officers could take curfew-breakers into protective custody for six hours. If their parents couldn’t be reached, they would be turned over to the Children, Youth and Families Department.

Supporters said curfews would protect children as well as deter juvenile crime.

But opponents said there is no evidence that curfews work, and that they would just worsen the relationship between police and young people.

They also objected that curfew ordinances could result in racial profiling.

The bill passed on a vote of 5-4.