News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Costello
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. 

“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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