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Teens tried as adults? North Carolina eyes bill

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RALEIGH - Legislation that would end a practice of automatically prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds for crimes as adults is advancing in the North Carolina House.

A House judiciary committee unanimously agreed Wednesday to advance the "raise the age" legislation. The proposal is an effort to stop North Carolina from becoming the only remaining state that automatically tries teens as adults since New York lawmakers agreed in April to a two-year phase out of the practice.

The North Carolina proposal would take effect in 2019 if approved, shifting misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases to juvenile court. Funding remains an issue and is expected to be debated Thursday.

Also Wednesday, the North Carolina Senate began debating a budget plan that would also include elimination of automatic adult court for these youth. But language in the measure would limit the exemption to misdemeanors only and implements the shift that would begin in 2020.

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