Capitol Live: Crime bill gets rolling as special session begins

Live updates from inside the Capitol.

5:55 p.m.

There’s a pretty good breakdown here from Sen. Scott Kawasaki about what was passed on the regular session’s final day and what still needs to be done:

And here’s our coverage from today:

‘Beyond Senate Bill 91’: Crime bill would put more people in prison longer

Million dollar special session? Here’s how much it will cost the state

3:03 p.m.

We heard from Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon earlier, who said he foresees the House taking faster action on the crime bill. He says the House could vote on it as soon as 3 p.m. Monday, because they want to make it clear that they’re committed to taking initiative on cutting down on crime.

1:20 p.m.

Senate President Cathy Giessel says to expect the crime bill to pass the Legislature in a couple weeks. She says Legislative Legal Services will go over the bill this weekend to see if there are any drafting errors, and the bill should be on lawmakers’ desks around next Tuesday. She says they hope to give lawmakers a week to look at it closely, and then they’ll likely vote on it either the Tuesday or Wednesday after Memorial Day.

12:25 p.m.

Note: An earlier version of this update had a typo, putting “hours” instead of “powers.” That’s been changed.

The conference members signed a request “limited powers of free conference,” in other words asking permission to make changes. Both houses of the Legislature will now be able to vote on that, I believe.

Here’s a photo of the two co-chairs:

Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, serve as the co-chairs of the Conference Committee on House Bill 49 on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, serve as the co-chairs of the Conference Committee on House Bill 49 on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

12:15 p.m.

As expected, there are quite a few compromises here.

The main focus of discussion today has been the Pretrial Enforcement Division. The risk assessment tool — which judges consult to decide whether a person can be released under Pretrial supervision — apparently will no longer hold the weight it currently does. We’ll get more details on this soon, I imagine. Lots of information dropped all at once here.

Hughes thanks members of the public for being vocal on crime issues.

“They’ve put pressure on folks in this building,” Hughes says.

12:05 p.m.

The conference committee on HB 49 is under way, and they’re hitting the ground running.

Rep. Matt Claman, co-chair of the committee, is reading off a list of compromises that have been made to the bill. You can read those here.

11:50 a.m.

Believe it or not, the conference committee meeting has been delayed. We’re still very much in wait-and-see mode. Pretty quiet building today, which is apparently fairly normal for the beginning of a special session.

10:20 a.m.

Both the Senate and House floor sessions lasted just a matter of minutes. The conference committee on House Bill 49 is still scheduled to meet at 11 a.m., and both the House and Senate plan to reconvene after that.

That hearing, if it’s anything like the budget conference committee’s first meeting, could be very short and uneventful. The members of that committee appear to have been meeting behind closed doors in recent days, though, so maybe they’ve got something up their sleeves.

10 a.m.

The special session is under way. Both houses of the Legislature are doing brief floor sessions before the conference committee on crime meets at 11 a.m.

The Senate has gaveled in. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, gives the invocation including a couple Bible verses, including Isaiah 43:18-19, which says:

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Also, some more thoughts from legislators on Twitter as we get going:

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