TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - There's widespread agreement among lawmakers, law enforcement and child advocates that the state can do more to help juveniles who make stupid mistakes stay out of trouble and avoid a criminal record that could follow them all their lives.
But what approach it should take is still a matter of disagreement.
There are two bills moving through the Legislature aimed at helping young offenders get into diversion programs after they've committed their first misdemeanor.
A Senate bill would mandate that law enforcement issue a civil citation after a first juvenile arrest for a list of specific misdemeanors and a House bill would automatically expunge a youth's arrest record after a diversion program's completed.
Lawmakers are working to come up with a compromise during their 60-day session that ends May 5.