Alaska House votes down SB 91 near-repeal
To repeal or not to repeal the state's new crime law, Senate Bill 91? It's a question many have raised, including some in the Alaska state Legislature.
The Alaska State House has been working through amendments on a measure to fix SB 91 since Saturday morning.
Senate Bill 54 would increase sentencing for lower level crimes and create harsher punishment for violating conditions of release, among other things. As part of proposed changes to the bill Saturday, several House Republicans introduced an 86-page amendment to repeal much of SB 91. It failed by a margin of 27 to 13.
Opponents argued it would have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
"The reason I can't support this amendment is because it gets rid of some of the really good things that were in SB 91, let me tell you about a couple, one of these. One of the first things in my mind is preventing offenders that are low risk from becoming hardened criminals," said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee.
Those in favor of the near-repeal amendment pointed to an increase in crime statewide and said Senate Bill 91 lacks public confidence.
"I went to several town hall meetings, I went to the assembly chambers in my city, I had my own town hall meeting, and I will tell you, I'm not chasing the will of the people. The will of the people is repeal SB 91," said the House Minority Leader, Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage).
Debate on the measure is scheduled to continue Sunday afternoon -- with a vote on SB 54 likely Sunday or Monday.
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