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Juvenile offender bill moving quickly through Legislature

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A bipartisan bill that would reverse a Wisconsin state law that requires all 17-year-old offenders to be treated like adults is moving quickly in the state Legislature.

The Assembly Corrections Committee was slated to vote on the bill Thursday, the same day a Senate committee was holding a public hearing on it.

The proposal only affects 17-year-olds charged with non-violent crimes for the first time.

A variety of groups supports the change, including the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and the state public defender.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is against it. He says the current system works well.

Wisconsin is one of only 11 states where children under the age of 18 are automatically treated as adults, no matter the offense.

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