House Passes Lee Bill to Ease Penalties for Truancy

(March 19) – Rep. Pete Lee’s bipartisan bill to limit the use of incarceration for juveniles for truancy from school passed the House today on a voice vote.

It’s the 21st century, but some Colorado courts are still jailing students solely for truancy. The major drivers of truancy are poverty, homelessness, teen pregnancy, foster care issues and mental health struggles, not intent to commit a crime.

HB18-1156, sponsored by Rep. Lee, D-Colorado Springs, reduces the maximum jail time for truancy from five days to two days and adds other limitations on the use of detention.

“Truant kids aren’t criminals, but jailing them with real criminals dramatically increases the risk that a kid will fail to graduate and wind up with a criminal record,” Rep. Lee said. “This bill helps ensure positive outcomes.”

The education establishment supports HB18-1156, which is one recorded vote away from heading to the Senate.

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