Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson describes four new crimes bills at a press conference with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, left, and Alaska State Troopers at the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson describes four new crimes bills at a press conference with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, left, and Alaska State Troopers at the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Here’s a look at what Dunleavy’s four new crime bills would do

The bills address sex crimes, pretrial processes, parole and prison sentences.

After promising to crack down on crime in his State of the State address, Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday unveiled four bills that he hopes will reduce crime in Alaska.

The bills will address sex crimes, pretrial processes, parole and prison sentences.

“The No. 1 priority of this administration is public safety. And it’s really the No. 1 priority for all Alaskans,” Dunleavy said during a press conference. “It is the No. 1 job for any governor in any state to make sure the people of their state is safe.”

Alaska has seen a dramatic increase in crime during the last five years. According to the Department of Public Safety’s uniform crime report, which Dunleavy cited, the overall crime rate has increased 26 percent during the last five years. Violent crime is up 35 percent and property crime is up 23 percent during the same time period.

Dunleavy said the four bills are just the beginning of the total package of crime bills he intends to bring forward. He said these bills should “plug” some of the holes that Senate Bill 91 left in Alaska’s criminal justice system. SB 91 is a controversial criminal justice reform bill passed into law two years ago, aimed at reducing recidivism. It has been criticized for being too lenient on criminals.

Dunleavy said he will continue to address other aspects of public safety – such as drug treatment — through other bills.

Specifics of how much Dunleavy’s package of crime bills will cost in the end are unclear, since he is still working on his budget. The govenor’s budget is due for Feb. 13.

[Gov’s crime message resonates, but Juneau lawmakers hesitant about constitutional amendments]

The budget will have to address the costs associated with public safety reform. For example: Senate Bill 32 would increase the penalty for felons who violate the terms and conditions of their release or parole. The Department of Corrections estimated this would result in 97 more inmates in jail, each day in the next fiscal year, according to a fiscal note. If it costs $168.74 to house an immate in a corrections facility a day, that would amount to $5,711,071 for one year.

Dunleavy on Wednesday doubled down on jailing people in an effort to make Alaska safe.

“When people ask the question ‘Are these folks going to go to jail?’ Yes they’re going to jail. Will we need to increase the number of beds in jail? Probably, yes.” Dunleavy said. “Will we need to increase jails? Maybe, we’ll see. We’re not going to spare the resources that are necessary to turn this around. I’m serious about this. This is not just campaign rhetoric.”

Senate Bill 32

Certain crimes would carry a heavier sentence if this bill passes. That includes every crime that had its sentence reduced when SB 91 was passed.

A memo from Dunleavy states that people who sell and traffic drugs would “have significant incarceration periods.”

Removing or disabling an ankle monitor would be a felony, and that would go for people in the pre-trial phase or post-conviction.

Senate Bill 33

This bill focuses on pre-trial processes. First, it would allow judges to determine a person’s pre-trial status: whether a person is released, uses an ankle bracelet, given to a third-party custodian, or if the person will be taken care of by the Department of Corrections.

It would also require two-way video conferencing for all pre-trial hearings.

Senate Bill 34

This bill aims to improve the parole system. Proposed changes include:

• Incentivizes good behavior of parolees through giving them compliance credits toward an early end to their probation.

• It incentivizes good behavior from parolees by eliminating the cap on the time added for violating their probation.

• It would restrict which inmates are eligible for parole. For example, inmates with prior felonies, sex and offenders would be restricted.

Senate Bill 35

This would update the criminal code in an effort to crack down on sexual assault or other crimes of a sexual nature. SB 35 would include the following changes:

• It would classifying unwanted contact with semen as sexual contact and make it punishable as a sex offense.

• A person commits the crime of harassment if they repeatedly send unsolicited images of genitals to another person.

• Solicitation of a minor would be a felony in all circumstances.

• A person convicted of producing or viewing child pornography would be required to register as a sex offender.

• This bill would clarify sentencing ranges for sex offenders

• It would require out-of-state sex offenders to register in Alaska. In some cases, a sex offense conviction in another state does not have an equivalent crime in Alaska. As a result, a small number of sex offenders are not required to register here. Deputy Attorney General John Skidmore said this makes Alaska “attractive” to some sex offenders who would not have to register here. This bill would close that loophole and require all out of state sex offenders to register, regardless of congruency between state laws. “We don’t want to encourage people to move here because they do not have to register,” Skidmore said.

• A person would be prohibited from soliciting sexual favors enticing a minor using any form of communication. Current language prohibits a person from using a computer, but Dunleavy said in a memo that the means of communication cannot be limited to one device and “should be irrelevant.”


Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or kbaird@juneauempire.com.


More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 22

David Holmes digs through a pile of boardgames during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con over the weekend at Douglas Public Library and Sunday at Mendenhall Public Library. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Good times keep rolling with Platypus Gaming

Two-day mini-con held at Juneau Public Library.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau man indicted on child pornography charges

A Juneau man was indicted Thursday on charges of possessing or accessing… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Local leaders, lawmakers and lobbyists discuss political plans for coming year

Morning meeting looks at local impact of state, national political climates.

This photo shows pills police say were seized after a suspicious package was searched. (Juneau Police Department)
Police: 1,000 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of meth seized

Juneau man arrested on felony charges.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Captain Anne Wilcock recieves the Emery Valentine Leadership Award at the 2022 CCFR awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)
CCFR honors responders during annual banquet

Capital City Fire/Rescue hosted its 2022 awards banquet earlier this month as… Continue reading

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

Most Read