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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill that some say could cut down on juvenile crime in Kentucky took a step forward Monday.

House Bill 318, sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin Bratcher, passed the House floor with a 73-19 vote. 

"This is a bill that needs to be passed," Bratcher said. "We've got some changes that need to be made in the juvenile justice system."

Through the bill, Bratcher said juveniles charged with a serious crime in Kentucky would be held in custody up to 48 hours before a hearing. Bratcher said the types of offenses he's concerned with are things such as murder, arson, robbery and kidnapping. 

"This bill only addresses the most serious crimes," he said Monday, speaking to other representatives. 

According to an Louisville Metro Police spokesperson, when an officer takes a juvenile into custody right now, they contact the court designated worker. The court designated worker then performs an assessment and discusses their findings with a district court judge. If the judge rules the juvenile will be detained, LMPD takes the juvenile to the Jefferson Regional Juvenile Detention Center (JRJDC) on La Grange Road. If that facility is full, the Louisville Metro Transport Team will take the juvenile to the next closest, available juvenile detention facility. If the juvenile is not detained, he/she is released to an adult or in some cases, to the YMCA Safe Place. 

"Nobody wants kids locked away," Bratcher said. "That's not what this bill will do. This bill simply takes the most serious offense and then they have to see a judge before they're given a diversion plan. 

"It is not going to change any diversion programs for children that make the minor mistakes. Nobody wants to scar a child for life. But when they commit murder or arson or kidnapping, some more needs to be done, and that's what this bill does." 

Jessica Wethington, a spokeswoman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's Office, released a statement Tuesday on HB 318:

"House Bill 318 is high on our public safety legislative priority agenda and would help us better tend to our local juvenile justice challenges. It will serve as one of the many tools that we use as part of our whole of government approach to public safety. We have heard loud and clear from our community’s police officers, judges, victims, and family members that there is a gap in the way we assess violent juvenile offenses, and this legislation addresses that in a thoughtful and precise manner. Combined with other programs like Group Violence Intervention, the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and the Office for Youth Development, we look forward to hopefully implementing this law to reduce juvenile involvement in violent crimes in our community and make all Louisvillians safer. Thank you to Representative Bratcher for sponsoring this important piece of legislation."

On Monday, some in Frankfort made arguments against the bill. 

"Mandatory detention of someone presumed innocent is never a good idea, much less a child who could be as young as 10 or even lower," Rep. Joni Jenkins. said 

"A judge has discretion to hold a juvenile, and I don't believe this bill in its current form is going to change anything in the process to help out with public safety," Rep. Keturah Herron said.

Others, like Rep. John Blanton, sided in favor of HB 318. 

"Is thing going to solve all of our juvenile justice problems? No. (I'm) not pretending like it would," Blanton said. "But it's certainly a good piece of the puzzle and it's step in the right direction." 

Bratcher pointed out, this would not just impact Louisville, but the entire state.

"There are some crimes that a child can commit that need some serious repercussions," he said Tuesday. 

The bill also addresses a parent's role in situations where a juvenile is charged with a crime.

"There are times when a parent just has to step in and this is going to make them accountable," said Bratcher. 

According to a release, HB318 addresses parental cooperation in transporting children to a diversion program. The bill would allow judges to communicate with the parents the importance of getting the child into these programs. 

"Ultimately, my goal is to cut down on juvenile crime across not just Louisville, but the state," said Bratcher.

Now that the bill has been passed in the House, it will head to the Senate.

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