OLYMPIA - A bill passed by the Washington State Senate would improve the efficiency of a state program designed to keep students in school and out of the costly adult corrections program.
New requirements of the Washington anti-truancy or Becca laws would save the state money while heading off the stream of troubled youths who may be on a path to a life of crime. Under Senate Bill 6494:
· the maximum age in which a truancy petition must be filed is lowered from 17 to 16
· schools are required to update the juvenile court on a student’s education information
· arrest warrants would only be issued if a student commits contempt by missing court hearings
“This bill should save us about a million dollars on the very effective Becca program we have now, which is saving us tens of millions in our juvenile justice system by keeping these kids out of trouble before they get involved in real crime,” said Sen. Jim Hargrove, the bill sponsor.
Hargrove says the changes will not damage the goal of the Becca program of keeping students in school and out of trouble, while still keeping with the reform goals he and Senate Democrats have championed during the 2012 legislative session.
# # #
For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535
For interviews: Sen. Jim Hargrove, 360-786-7646