A bill seeking to rename portions of the Alaska Safe Children's Act on Friday received a long-awaited Senate hearing Friday.

Two months ago, the House unanimously approved renaming sections covering education on dating violence prevention as Bree’s Law after Bree Moore, who was killed by her boyfriend in Anchorage four years ago.

The renaming measure, HB 214, had stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chair John Coghill (R-North Pole) said renaming the education efforts would mean "one individual’s life becomes the theme of that whole program."

A rarely used legislative rule forced Coghill to give the bill a hearing or send it to the next committee.

The bill ultimately got re-assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. After stalling for nearly a month, the Senate Finance Committee held a one-hour hearing.

Most of the hour was spent getting feedback from Alaskans supporting the bill. Meanwhile Senate Finance co-chair Anna McKinnon (R-Eagle River) made certain those testifying looked forward and did not reprise longstanding battles over the bill.

Bill sponsor Rep. Harriett Drummond (D-Anchorage) said linking the education to Moore’s recent murder is essential to raising awareness.

“Alaska ranks in the top 10 states with the worst record of dating violence and sexual abuse with more than 1,000 high-school students reporting dating violence one or more times in 2017 alone,” Drummond said. “Not only is this a horrifying statistic, but it’s a scary glimpse of a future generation of Alaskans who think it’s normal to experience abuse in a relationship.”

More than 20 people testified on behalf of the bill, with no one testifying against it. Among those backing the bill was Juneau resident Lauree Morton, former executive director for the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

“I think officially naming the law after Bree Moore is more than just a symbolic gesture,” she said. “It focuses attention on the necessity of institutionalizing this curricula and propels us forward.”

The bill remains in the Senate Finance Committee, but no one on the panel offered any dissenting thought or questions.

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