Wash. Senate eyes restrictions to juvenile records

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- State senators are exploring a plan that would restrict public access to juvenile court records.

Supporters of the proposal said Friday it was designed to prevent people from being burdened for years by mistakes from their youth, with Democratic Sen. Nick Harper saying the system should focus on rehabilitating and not punishing young offenders. But representatives for prosecutors and newspapers testified that the measure would unnecessarily impede access to the courts, especially since juvenile offenders can already go through the process to get those records sealed.

Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe also raised questions about the bill, saying businesses should have a right to know what kind of legal trouble prospective employees may have had. The Senate panel that began considering the bill did not take action on it Friday.