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State Senate Approves Roads & Criminal Justice

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AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas Legislature has approved a mandatory sentence for 17-year-olds who commit capital crimes to life in prison with parole possible after 40 years.

Both the Senate and House passed the bill Thursday. The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Perry for signature.

Seventeen-year-olds are considered adults in Texas, and the previous law mandated that those convicted of killing someone while committing a felony must spend their life in prison.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to sentence a minor to life in prison.

The bill approved the Legislature Thursday treats all juveniles the same, requiring them to spend at least 40 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

Democrats pushed to give juries more flexibility, but Republicans rejected the proposal.

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