A state lawmaker wants to make sure 17-year-olds are treated by the courts as juveniles, if they commit a non-violent crime.
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) says 17-year-olds who break the law should not be treated as adults. He's introducing legislation that would give them access to juvenile rehabilitation programs instead. The Middleton Democrat says there's a much better chance for a kid to lead a normal life after a non-violent offense, if they can get treatment in a setting not designed for adult offenders.
Erpenbach wants to pay for the programs by raising the sales tax of video games and game systems by one percent. That's on top of the existing five-percent state sales tax. The Middleton Democrat admits the plan would increase prices, but believes it would have long-term benefits by taking some of the strain off of the Department of Justice.
The proposal is already drawing criticism though. State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) is questioning what video games have to do with juvenile crime and why they should be subjected to a tax increase. However, Erpenbach says he is open to other funding sources.