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      Virginia's Senate passes tougher juvenile drug measure

      (Photo courtesy efimero via Wikimedia)

      RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Juveniles facing a third conviction for serious drug offenses would be tried as adults under legislation approved by the Virginia Senate.

      Del. Terry Kilgore's bill passed 26-14 Thursday. It now goes back to the House of Delegates for consideration of amendments added by a Senate committee.

      Democratic Sen. Donald McEachin of Henrico County opposed the bill. He said juveniles charged with serious drug offenses already can be tried as adults if a judge decides it's appropriate. McEachin urged his colleagues not to erode the discretion of judges.

      But Republican Sen. Tommy Norment of James City County said the legislature has already determined that juveniles charged with other serious crimes must be tried as adults, and Kilgore's bill simply adds third-time drug offenders to the list.