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Bills aimed to stiffen the penalties for violent crimes

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Altoona (WQOW)- Monday, state Republicans unveiled a series of bills designed to be tougher on violent crimes.

Representative Jesse James announced the new "Tougher on Crimes" initiative in Altoona.

James said violent crimes are increasing and he wants stiffer penalties to hold offenders accountable and off the streets.

The first bill makes any attempt to intimidate a victim of domestic abuse a Class G Felony.

The other two bills give the courts additional options to conduct victim or witness testimony via video-conferencing or through deposition if there's a reasonable belief that they may have been intimidated.

James said there is also legislation to address a rise in juvenile violent crimes.

"That is a true reason for concern and if they're smart enough to commit the crimes that are gathered right now according to the FBI crime statistics, we need to look at that and we need to hold them accountable as well," James said.

When asked if he's concerned that the bills will only extrapolate the state's prison overpopulation problem, James said the state needs to do a better job of finding ways to keep non-violent offenders from being locked up.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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