TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A bill that allows out-of-court statements made by children 16 or younger to be used against defendants in sex crimes and other offenses has cleared a Senate panel.
    
The Senate Judiciary committee cleared the bill (SB 1114) by a 9-0 vote on Monday.
    
Courts usually forbid second-hand statements not offered by a witness on the stand - known as hearsay - unless it fits an exception. The current Florida exception includes statements by children 11 and younger.
    
Critics say the exception shouldn't be expanded because teenagers tend to lie more than little kids. Proponents counter that allowing more statements in will help prosecutors.
    
Statements generally come into evidence by having an investigator or parent testify as to what a child said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)