Governor Signs Three Bills Modernizing and Increasing Alaska Public Safety Laws
July 30, 2022
• House Bill 106, sponsored by Governor Dunleavy, aligns Alaska law with federal requirements regarding reporting missing persons under the age of 21.
• House Bill 325, sponsored by Representative Sara Rasmussen, updates the state’s domestic violence statutes, the definition of consent, and better protects victims of crime.
• Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson, requires the Department of Public Safety to publish policies and procedures related to the conduct of peace officers.
Together, the three pieces of legislation embolden the state’s public safety laws and hold bad actors accountable for their actions.
“Public Safety has been my top priority since taking office. No matter who they are or where they live, no Alaskan should live in fear. By enacting these commonsense measures, we’re making Alaska safer. We’re closing loopholes in our assault laws, keeping offenders accountable if they change their names, improving response times for missing persons while increasing protections for college-aged Alaskans, and codifying transparency in our public safety policies,” said Governor Dunleavy.
Dunleavy said, “These bills represent progress achieved on a bipartisan basis. Public safety is not a political issue, and I’m thankful for all the legislators who’ve worked with my administration to make Alaska a safer place. Our work isn’t done – with the Legislature’s help, I will continue seeking ways to bring down our crime rates and protect our most vulnerable. This is some of the most important work Alaskans send us to Juneau to do on their behalf.”
Individuals under the age of 21 who go missing are at an increased risk of being harmed, and the enactment of HB 106 ensures these cases will be met with urgency. Recent changes in federal law require law enforcement agencies to transmit reports of missing persons under the age of 21 into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) no more than two hours after a person has been reported missing. Current law gives Alaska law enforcement up to 24 hours to report a missing person under the age of 18. House Bill 106 updates outdated requirements by bringing state law in line with the new federal law and aligning with the current practice of Alaska’s law enforcement agencies.
“For too long, Alaska has led the nation in the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. With the passage of HB 325, we are taking necessary steps in protecting Alaskans,” said Representative Sara Rasmussen. “Finally, no will mean no. I hope this sends a clear message that rape and sexual assault will no longer be tolerated in our state.”
House Bill 325 modernizes domestic violence statutes with clear language relating to revenge porn, and defines consent as “a freely given, reversible agreement specific to the conduct at issue by a competent person.” AS 11.41.470(10) further defines “freely given” as “agreement to cooperate in the act was positively expressed by word or action.” Additionally, the bill ensures timely testing of rape kits in six months as opposed to one year; requires individuals seeking a name change to notify the courts about criminal charges, and parole, probation, or sex offender status; and permanently revokes teaching certificates from individuals who possess or distribute child pornography. The legislation addresses a host of criminal updates that have long been a priority of the Dunleavy administration.
“Senate Bill 7 was developed in order to restore trust between the general public and public safety officers,” said Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson. “Although, policies are already being published, the passage of this bill means maintaining transparency and accountability, thus creating a better environment for all.”
With a heightened focus on police conduct in recent years, Senate Bill 7 ensures transparency between peace officers and the Alaskans they serve. SB 7 requires the Alaska Department of Public Safety to publish policies and procedures on the department’s website.
Edited By: Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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