Governor Walker Announces Next Steps to Building a Safer Alaska in the October Special Session - P.O.W. Report

Friday, September 15, 2017

Governor Walker Announces Next Steps to Building a Safer Alaska in the October Special Session

Will add Senate Bill 54 to special session call

September 15, 2017 ANCHORAGE-Governor Bill Walker announced today that he has tasked Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth to create and implement a public safety action plan. The first step, he said, is to add Senate Bill 54 to the October 23rd special session call.

"I have heard from Alaskans who have had cars, cabins and homes broken into," Governor Walker said. "Thieves are openly stealing from businesses. Results from the 2016 Alaska Crime Report prove that crime is up. Whether caused by economic instability, the opioid crisis, or criminal justice reform, we must tackle the problem with a plan of action-with immediate, mid-term and long-term steps. Passing SB 54 this year is an important immediate step we can take."

Earlier this year, the Walker-Mallott administration proposed fixes to Senate Bill 91, the 2016 bill that addressed criminal justice reform, to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. Most of the revisions were included in SB 54 introduced last session.

"SB 91 overhauled our criminal justice code, and with any overhaul, you need to keep a close eye on how it's working and fix it when needed," said Attorney General Lindemuth. "SB 54 is a good first step in giving necessary tools back to our law enforcement and prosecutors. But we have to remember that SB 54 is only a piece of the puzzle. We are actively reaching out to our federal, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to get input into a larger integrated plan."

Senate Bill 54 would give courts the ability to impose jail time for first-time Class C felonies or repeat theft offenses. This would act as a potential deterrent and encourage offenders suffering from addiction to seek treatment.

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