Senate sends criminal justice bill to Dunleavy’s desk

Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, speaks during a House floor session on March 11. Wool was one of two representatives who voted against a revised bill dealing with criminal justice, House Bill 49. The House passed it on May 20, and the Senate passed it Tuesday. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The Alaska Senate agreed Tuesday to changes to a major crime bill worked out by Senate and House negotiators. The House had agreed to the changes on May 20, so the Senate action sends the bill to Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy said he’ll sign House Bill 49.

“This was a significant move on their part,” Dunleavy said. “This is great for Alaska. This is great for Alaskans. This is something that we’ve been talking about for some time, and this goes a long way in making Alaska safer.”

The bill repeals much of the controversial three-year-old law known as Senate Bill 91. While that law reduced criminal sentencing, the new measure increases sentencing.

The only legislators who voted against the changes were Fairbanks Democratic Reps. Adam Wool and Grier Hopkins. They both said giving more jail time will increase the risk of offenders committing new crimes when they’re released.

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

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