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Governor Walker Signs Senate Bill 54 into Law

Governor Bill Walker /Flickr

Governor Bill Walker /Flickr

On Monday, Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 54, a bill that provides law enforcement with more tools to aid with enforcement.

In a statement, Governor Walker said, “The passage of SB 54 helps to build a Safer Alaska,” Governor Walker said. “While some portions of the legislation may need to be addressed by the court system, this law is an important first step in returning some important tools to the law enforcement community.”

The bill included sentencing revisions to a number of crimes, including:

  • Class C Felonies-First offense changed from probation to 0-2 years in jail. Second offense changed from 1-3 years to 1-4 years
  • Theft IV-Less than $250. First offense-Up to five days in jail. Second offense-Up to 10 days in jail. Third offense-Up to 15 days in jail
  • Violating Conditions of Release- Returned offense to misdemeanor
  • Mandatory Probation for Sex Offenders. Unclassified felonies receive 15 years of probation, class A or B felonies receive 10 years of probation and class C felonies receive 5 years of probation.
  • Sex Trafficking-SB 54 amended the statutes to ensure those who profit from other sex workers can be held accountable as sex traffickers.

Alaska’s Speaker of the House released a statement following the governor’s signing of the bill:

“Senate Bill 54 does many good things, including toughening up penalties for theft and other crimes that are making Alaskans feels less safe in their homes and businesses. The bill gives law enforcement many of the tools they asked for to respond to the current crime-wave, and it sends a clear message that criminal behavior in Alaska will not go unpunished,” said Rep. Edgmon. “I, like many of my colleagues, am troubled by the bill’s Constitutional issue, which the Legislature could have remedied had the Senate been willing to convene a conference committee. We now hope that the court system will be able to address the issue as quickly as possible without the need for another crime bill in the next legislative session.”

Many of the provisions went into effect immediately upon signing.

The Department of Law’s review of the bill can be read here.