PUBLIC TESTIMONY AT 5 PM
The House Democrat-led majority has decided to move ahead with Rep. Matt Claman’s watered-down crime package, HB 145, which removes the tougher provisions proposed by Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s original HB 49.
“HB 49 has morphed into HB 145 which was authored by Rep. Matt Claman who is an ardent proponent of SB 91,” said Rep. Cathy Tilton of Chugiak-Wasilla.
The watered down version that House Finances is considering, Must Read Alaska has learned, includes dramatically different language that includes much lighter presumptive sentencing ranges. Rather than 1-3 years for some felonies, for instance, the sentencing guideline would be rolled back to 90 days to two years.
Petty theft, a Class B misdemeanor, would go from 0-90 days to 0-30 days. It lowers penalty for escape or removal of ankle monitor. There are dozens of such changes made from the governor’s bill that remove penalties from those who commit crimes.
The replacement bill by Claman in Judiciary that the House is now considering:
- fails to return discretion to prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement.
- fails to address problems identified by Department of Corrections regarding probation and parole.
- fails to repeal the “catch and release” bail system that SB91 created.
- is silent on pretrial release.
- fails to adequately address Alaska’s drug epidemic and rising crime rates.
The 25-member House majority includes eight Republicans. After a blow-up in the caucus on Tuesday, it appears that Claman won his version of the bill over the objections of House Finance Co-chair Tammie Wilson, who had previously championed the governor’s crime bill. The tension between Wilson and Claman led to Wilson temporarily leaving the caucus.
Today, Wilson told her committee members that the current bill, with all of the Claman changes made to it, is so complicated that she feels lawmakers will not fully understand it, as they did not understand SB 91, when they voted to pass it. Claman sat in the back of the committee room to guard the changes he has made.
This evening the House Finance Committee will hold public hearings on the crime bills.
Call in Time: 5 pm, Wednesday, May 1
Call in Number: (907) 563-9085