News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Meyer
For Immediate Release: May 10, 2018

Senate Passes Crime Package, Votes to End 'Catch and Release'

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JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a wide-ranging crime package that provides judges and law enforcement with the tools they need to effectively fight crime. 

“Our communities are under siege,” said Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage). “Alaskans deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities. Today’s vote delivered our police and prosecutors the tools they need most to keep Alaskans safe.” 

“Today, we said ‘enough is enough,’” said Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna). “We took down the ‘Welcome to Alaska’ sign for those bad actors who come to Alaska hoping for a clean slate. We shut the revolving door by ending catch-and-release. This bill is bad for criminals and good for law abiding Alaska.” 

“Public safety is our number one priority,” said Sen. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage). “Business owners want to get back to doing business, not fending off criminals.” 

As amended and passed by the Senate, HB 312

  • Removes mandatory release requirements in favor of judicial discretion;
  • Makes it a crime to attack medical professionals who are trying to help people;
  • Grants judges more flexibility to hold offenders in jail while they await trial;
  • Empowers the Attorney General to ban dangerous new drugs by emergency regulation; and
  • Ensures judges can consider out-of-state criminal charges when making pre-trial release decisions.

These tougher crime rules compliment significant Senate investments in public safety. The Senate’s operating budget included up to $12 million to hire and retrain new troopers. The capital budget included $2 million each for crime prevention and response equipment for the Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department; $75,000 to bolster community watch programs; $100,000 for community patrols in Anchorage; and $2.5 million to process a backlog of sexual assault kits. 

HB 312 now goes to the Alaska House of Representatives for concurrence. 

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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