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Governor signs MacDonald’s Raise the Age fix

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Sen. Michael D. MacDonald’s legislation to fix an oversight in the 2019 effort to raise the age of legal adulthood within the state’s court system.

“We must continue to focus on more effective ways to rehabilitate young offenders and give them a chance to change the course of their lives,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “I am pleased that the governor signed my bill to add a section that was inadvertently left out of the 2019 Raise the Age legislation. If a 17-year-old had committed a crime in Michigan but turned age 18 during the legal process, the juvenile court could have lost jurisdiction.

“With the governor’s signature, this reform solves that problem and extends the jurisdiction timeline a year to keep the goal of treating troubled youths in the juvenile system while also holding them accountable.”

Senate Bill 683, now Public Act 118 of 2021, extends the amount of time the juvenile courts have to adjudicate someone under age 18 who commits a crime by amending the probate code to change the final day for jurisdiction for juvenile matters from a person’s 18th birthday to their 19th birthday.

The 2019 Raise the Age package revised various parts of state law to formally recognize that 17-year-olds should be considered juveniles for purposes of adjudication or prosecution of nonviolent criminal offenses. The revisions still allow for 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in violent criminal offenses.