The Kentucky House has passed the much-debated juvenile justice reform bill. Proponents say it could lead to state savings of $25 million over a five year period by reducing incarceration for "low level offenders".
House Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley championed the bill on the floor Thursday.
"This bill will, contrary to what some have said, put greater emphasis on family involvement and involving families at the k-stage and earlier stages of intervention and we think this will present better outcomes for Kentucky's youth and their families," said Tilley.
Tilley told members offenders could still go to court, but only after early intervention efforts.
Louisville Representative Kevin Bratcher voted no, saying the justice system is being watered down.
"When you go home to your neighbors after this session and you say, what have you done to make our community safer, especially in Louisville where I live, after last Saturday night, you can say you made it better for the criminal," said Bratcher.
The bill was approved 84-15 and heads back to the Senate where members will consider House changes.