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Never bark at the Big Dog. The Big Dog is always right.
On July 28 the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) published its quarterly update on state government revenue. While CREG as usual takes a low profile approach to the state's revenue problems, the actual message in the report deserves some real attention.
As we have been exploring together in recent weeks, the proposed decriminalization of status offenses in Wyoming will be positive change for our juvenile justice system. This needed change will also leave several problem behaviors in justice limbo.
From truancy to tobacco and alcohol consumption the status offense behaviors are dangerous and destructive to our youth, their families and our communities. Our challenge as a community is to come up with non-criminal alternatives which effectively deter the behavior. This way we can encourage our legislators to continue the decriminalization of status offenses secure in the knowledge that there are more appropriate deterrents in place.
Last week I wrote about some trends in truancy laws and how truancy fits into the status offense decriminalization issues for Wyoming. Although most legislators with whom I speak about status crimes and other juvenile justice issues are well informed, I still run into people who are unaware that Wyoming regularly jails status offenders or really what status offenses are. In short form, status offenses are actions that would not be considered criminal if done by an adult. Truancy is a relatively easy one to understand since adults do not have anyone requiring them to attend school.
In her big speech on economic policy on July 13, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outline a vision for expanding the American welfare state. At 17:45 into the video, Mrs. Clinton summarizes her entitlement agenda:
Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, child care are essential to our competitiveness and our growth.
In a recent Law Commentary article out of Texas, Research Associate Jason Snead of the Heritage Foundation highlights an anticipated change in Texas’ truancy laws. According to the article, Texas has prosecuted over 100,000 juveniles for Class C misdemeanors merely for truancy. Although my own research completely contradicts Mr. Snead’s contention that Texas was one of only two states prosecuting children for truancy, his article accurately highlights some of the ludicrous contradictions that we see in juvenile justice issues all the time.