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After four tries, it's time Emily's Law was passed

Emily's Law has been reintroduced in the Minnesota House for the fifth year.

Emily's Law was first introduced in response to the death of Emily Johnson, a 2-year old who was murdered by her daycare provider's 13-year old son in an act that shook the Fergus Falls community.

The bill seeks to lower the age a juvenile could be charged as an adult for a violent offense from 14 to 13. The bill would also eliminate a court's ability to expunge a juvenile's criminal record if he or she is convicted of a violent offense.

It's time that the bill, introduced by Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) and Rep. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake), be passed.

"Do you really think a 13-year-old doesn't know the difference between right and wrong?" Emily's mother, Lynn Johnson of Fergus Falls, asked lawmakers during 2008 testimony before a House committee.

It's a valid question.

A teenager should not be allowed to commit a heinous crime and be protected from the consequences for his or her actions because they are a juvenile. Teenagers also need to be held accountable for their actions just as adults are.

The bill's first committee reading is Thursday, Feb. 10, at 10:15 a.m.

We'll be sure to keep an eye on the progress of this issue that surely touches our community. -- Fergus Falls Daily Journal