FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- A bill aimed at locking up fewer Kentucky children in juvenile detention centers has passed the state Senate by a wide margin.
Sen. Whitney Westerfield says the bill is the best step taken in decades to improve the state's juvenile justice system.
The Hopkinsville Republican says the current system is ineffective and costly.
The measure passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote Thursday. It now goes to the House for consideration.
A major thrust of the bill is to steer more young offenders toward community-based treatment as an alternative to detention.
The bill would allow youths accused of misdemeanors or lesser felonies to avoid detention time, unless they committed sex or weapons crimes or had one prior offense.