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Gov. Doug Burgum in January 2019

Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill raising the age of criminal responsibility in North Dakota.

Governor's spokesman Mike Nowatzki said Burgum signed House Bill 1039 Wednesday, one of 10 bills he signed as the first of the 2019 legislative session.

The bill raises the age of culpability from 7 to 10. The bill sailed through the House and Senate. The interim Justice Reinvestment Committee brought the bill.

Proponents pointed to national juvenile justice practices and new research as reasoning for raising the age. 

The 2017 North Dakota Juvenile Court Annual Report found 2 percent of juveniles referred to juvenile court were 10 and younger.

The new law takes effect Aug. 1.

Other pieces of juvenile-focused legislation are moving through the Legislature, including a resolution to study the juvenile justice process and a bill to create a "children's cabinet" and six-year commission on juvenile justice.

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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