Anchorage Assembly sends message to lawmakers
The Anchorage Assembly is sending a message to lawmakers as they head back to Juneau this month to tackle Senate Bill 54, which would make changes to the controversial Senate Bill 91 crime reform law.
After several public meetings about crime, the Assembly drafted two non-binding resolutions to send to lawmakers. One supported a full repeal of SB 91, the other, supported the changes laid out in SB 54, and then some.
The resolution supporting a strengthened version of SB 54 calls for immediate state funding for drug and alcohol treatment -- something they say is a key component to making the law work.
That resolution was approved, 10 to one.
"SB 54 is coming out fairly quickly," Assemblyman John Weddleton said. "SB 91 was just implemented and very quickly. We have a special session in the legislature to go look at fixes. The mistakes are evident and they're going to fix it, so I think I'm glad to see there will be changes and I think our input is valuable."
Assemblymember Amy Demboski had the only vote against that resolution -- pushing for the version that urges a full repeal.
She called SB 54, "taking a pile of mud and trying to turn it into an apple pie," and said SB 91 is fundamentally flawed, and lawmakers need to start over.
"This is a fundamental decision, and I'm sorry to tell you, it breaks my heart to say this, but I feel the Alaska Legislature has failed you," she said. "They failed me, they failed my children. I feel that tonight, the Anchorage Assembly is gonna do the same thing, and for that, I am sorry."
The resolution calling for repeal failed, with only Demboski, Assemblyman Eric Croft and Assembly chairman Dick Traini voting yes.
This is non-binding, only the legislature can change state law.
They head into session number four, on October 23.