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Monday, June 24, 2019
HomePoliticsHouse accepts HB 49, with just two from Fairbanks voting no

House accepts HB 49, with just two from Fairbanks voting no

Neither Rep. Adam Wool or Rep. Grier Hopkins of Fairbanks care for the harsh penalties in HB 49. The Fairbanks representatives voted no on the tough-on-crime bill when the question came before the House of Representatives today.

All others present voted yes on the 93-page criminal justice reform bill that goes a long way toward patching the tears to Alaska’s social fabric caused by Senate Bill 91 back in 2016.

Wool said that putting people in jail would create hardships on families and cost the State a lot, and Hopkins also spoke to the expense of locking up criminals, and said the war on drugs has failed for his entire lifetime.

Rep. Tammie Wilson of Fairbanks also spoke to the costs involved, but voted for the bill anyway. But not before warning that the Palmer prison would reopen, and some prisoners would probably be shipped out of state, and that the need for addiction treatment was going to drive costs up as well.

Reps. Mark Neuman and Sara Rasmussen were not on the floor for the vote, and Rep. Lance Pruitt, House Republican Minority leader, had a hoarse voice when he spoke in favor of the bill, reminding his colleagues that HB 49 is not quite a full repeal of SB 91 because the of the pretrial assessment tool, which calculates an offender’s risk profile before trial, and which has let too many criminals cycle in and out of jail. He expressed the hope that the Department of Corrections can improve that tool.

The Senate still needs to vote on the bill and it must be signed by the governor before it can be implemented. Until then, SB 91 is still in effect.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The war on murder has failed since Cain slayed Abel. We therefore should let low level killers go to keep our prisons empty and save money.

  • Why did they need to be dragged kicking and screaming into a special session for this?

    Ohhh right, we owe it all to Gary Knopp…just ask him he will tell you so himself!

    • Not so libertarian as to provide for your own protection?

      • Guess I must have missed the part of HB 49 that take away my right to protect myself, where’s that at?

  • Why did Tammie Wilson suddenly go blonde? More fun? Or, more jokes?

  • Nothing mentioned about the victims of crime. And isn’t their decision (Criminals) if they decide to break the law!!!!! So it’s also their decision to break up their family(s)!!!