AUSTIN, TX -- Efforts are underway in the Texas Legislature to change a state law that automatically classifies 17-year-olds charged with a crime as adults, but they'll likely be halted by a senator who chairs a committee that would hear the bills.
Democratic Sen. John Whitmire says he "hasn't even thought about" whether his committee will have a hearing for bills that propose raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18.
Texas' law has been in place since 1918, long before research revealed that a human brain isn't fully developed until age 25.
A bipartisan interim committee recommended the change, noting that state law as it stands is at odds with a federal law governing the housing of juvenile inmates. Last year, Texas was docked about $800,000 in federal funding for noncompliance.