2nd Update On the 4th Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legislature, 2017.
I have had many inquiries about Senate Bill 54, what it contained before the session and what was included in the final version. I'll try my best to briefly give my perspective on the bills amendments.
On April 7, 2017 the House received SB 54 from the Senate. It was referred to three committees but, much to my dismay, did not get a hearing prior to adjournment. SB 54 has now been taken up and passed by both bodies during this special session, not without some controversy, which may or may not remove some of the content of the bill.
The bill passed by the Senate contained provisions put in it to improve and strengthen some of the laws which were put into effect with SB 91. Those were increasing both C felony and Misdemeanor sentences, violating conditions of release and a sex trafficking loophole.
Key amendments to the bill during the special session:
Officer Involved Class A Felonies - stronger sentences for offenders who commit Class A Felonies and directs that conduct at law enforcement or first responders.
48 Hour Hold Pre-release - allows judges and prosecutors additional time to determine whether a felony offender can be released pre-trial.
Felony Theft Threshold Decrease - this changes the threshold for thefts that are considered felonies from $1000 to $750.
C Felony Sentences - this amendment increases the possible sentences for Class C Felony offenders.
Probation for Call C Felonies - this allows a judge to increase the probation time for Class C Felony offenders.
Sentence for Repeat Misdemeanors - allows sentence to increase for repeat Class A Misdemeanor offenders.
Sentence for Sexual Assault of a Minor Third Degree - increases the sentence for an offender who commits sexual assault of a minor in the third degree.
Theft 4 Sentences - increases sentences for offenders convicted of 4th Degree Theft for both first time and repeat offenders.
Repeal Administrative Parole - removes any automatic prison release without appearing before the Parole Board.
Sobriety Law - requires people who are arrested while they are intoxicated to be held until they are sober.
Recidivist Provision - provides progressively stiffer penalties if someone re-offends and continue to do so.
ASAP Program Expansion - expands the pool of offenders who are addicted and abuse alcohol and drugs with referrals for treatment and other interventions.
Added U-47700 and Tramadol to Scheduled Drugs - U-47700 is a very potent opiate and has been added to Schedule One. Tramadol is a prescription narcotic utilized for pain and has been added to Schedule Four.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Treatment Requirement - parolees may not have parole shortened unless they have completed sex offender or domestic violence offender treatment.
Negligent Joyriding Definition - similar to action taken in Anchorage to add an additional level of responsibility to those who are passengers in stolen vehicles.
Caseload Cap for Parole/Probation Officers - caps parole and probation officers caseload at 75 cases.
Dept. of Health and Social Services Alaska Criminal Justice Commission Member - adds the DHSS Commissioner or their designee to an ex-officio position on the Criminal Justice Commission.
Alaska Criminal Justice Commission Trainings - asks ACJC to create publicly accessible webinars to explain their evaluation and recommendation process, as well as train criminal justice practitioners.
Community Work Service Requirement - requires those who commit criminal mischief offenses that result in property crime to perform community service.
There were also some clarifying and technical amendments to the bill.
This is not a legal analysis. There has been a concern raised about a potential constitutional issue with Class C Felonies having the same length of potential sentence as Class B although I believe the minimum sentences are quite different.
Here is a link to the bill passed by both bodies:
It is a privilege to serve in the Alaska Legislature and represent the people of District 6.