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The Latest: Alaska House refuses to accept Senate crime bill

May 14, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

The Alaska House has refused to accept sweeping legislation aimed at cracking down on crime passed by the Senate, with members saying more time is needed to understand the bill.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 19-0 to pass the bill. It was then sent back to the House, which had to decide whether to accept the Senate version.

Some House members cast the Senate version as a response to public outcry over crime and a further step toward rolling back a 2016 criminal justice overhaul. Others said they wanted to understand what was in the bill and not rush through a package.

Crime has been a major issue this legislative session. The House’s decision sets the stage for a conference committee with an adjournment deadline looming.


11:10 a.m.

The Alaska Senate has approved sprawling legislation in response to public outcry over crime that would strengthen penalties and could force reopening of a shuttered jail to house a projected rise in inmates.

Some of the bill’s supporters say its cost, estimated in the tens of millions of dollars, is worth it.

Some lawmakers questioned if the bill would bring about change and cited challenges with recruiting law enforcement personnel and prosecutors. Still, the final vote was 19-0.

The measure goes back to the House, which will have to decide whether to accept the Senate’s version with an adjournment deadline looming.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has sought to take a hard line on crime and left open working on issues such as addressing recidivism and substance abuse later.

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