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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Crime Bill Passes the Legislature

By Rep. Dan Ortiz

June 01, 2019
Saturday AM

Earlier this month, the House passed House Bill 49, which is a collaborative bill between the House, the Senate, and the Governor's administration to improve public safety. After the Conference Committee process last week, the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, May 28th. The bill now heads to the Governor’s Office to be signed. The bill has most generally been referred to as the “SB91 Repeal” and contains the following provisions:

• Keeps in place the pretrial services program and the pretrial risk assessment tool, while making them subject to judges' discretion.

• Gives offenders up to one year of credit for time spent in treatment, which is part of a larger effort to promote treatment and rehabilitation for offenders.

• Reduces credits for "good behavior" that a person on parole or probation can receive. The bill also removes caps on the amount of time a person can serve for probation or parole violations and gives discretion back to judges.

• For simple drug possession, the first conviction for possession of a controlled substance will result in a class A misdemeanor. The second conviction within ten years will result in a class C felony. The Department of Law testified that this change will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to address substance abuse-related crime. The bill also adds a 10-year look back requirement for drug offenses. 

• Creates a new crime of possession of motor vehicle theft tools. The bill also includes provisions to allow prosecutors to aggregate misdemeanor theft offenses within a six-month period in a single felony charge.

• Increases penalties for a variety of sex crimes and makes important updates to existing law. This bill also requires law enforcement agencies to ensure that all sexual assault examination kits are sent to a crime lab within 30 days of collection and advise the victim within 2 weeks that testing is complete. 

• Repeals the Marriage as a Defense in cases of sexual assault and rape allegations.

• Increases the presumptive sentencing ranges for people charged with felonies.

With 36 yeas and two nays (two members were excused) on the House Floor, and 18 yeas and zero nays (two members were excused) on the Senate Floor, HB 49 had broad support. It now goes to the Governor’s Office to be signed into law. Feel free to email me at or call at 907-247-4672 if you have any questions or comments.


Rep. Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received May 28, 2019 - Published June 01, 2019

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