A major juvenile justice bill, House Bill 3, passed the Kentucky House on Tuesday and is awaiting assignment to a committee in the Senate.
The bill provides funding to reopen the juvenile detention center in Louisville, which had been closed for some time, forcing juveniles to be held away from the city and from their families and lawyers. The original bill provided $9 to rehab the detention center, but that amount was increased to $17 million, and even more may be needed due to the condition of the building.
The bill also provides $4.5 million to renovate the Jefferson Regional Juvenile Detention Facility in Lyndon.
The bill also makes significant changes to the way the juvenile justice system operates, with the most discussed provision that a child accused of committing a felony-level violent crime will be held in custody for up to 48 hours, based only on the accusation.
The other provision that drew criticism is the change in confidentiality of juvenile justice records, with some records now being publicly available if the child has been found guilty of a violent offense.
The bill passed 79-18, with almost all Democratic members of the House voting against it due to the two provisions noted above.