House to debate criminal justice bill over weekend

The Alaska House is scheduled to spend the weekend debating Senate Bill 54, legislation that aims to increase some criminal penalties that were reduced under legislation passed last year.

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The House Finance Committee sent the bill to the entire House Thursday. The committee voted 9-2 to advance the bill.

Wasilla Republican Representative Cathy Tilton and North Pole Republican Representative Tammie Wilson voted no.

The Department of Corrections estimated the bill would cost $2.9 million per year, after committee members asked for a precise estimate.

The cost could reduce the savings from Senate Bill 91 by roughly 7 percent. That’s the law the Legislature passed last year that changed criminal penalties.

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.