Alaska House committee nixes amendment raising age of consent from 16 to 18

House Rules Committee chair Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, speaks to Capitol reporters alongside Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

House lawmakers on Monday removed an amendment from a bill that would have raised the age of consent from 16 to 18 in some situations.

The main bill requires the state to screen children for signs of sex trafficking when they interact with state agencies like the Office of Children’s Services. Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, sponsored the bill. She said Tuesday she’d like to keep the bill focused squarely on that goal.

“From my perspective, raising the age of consent is a very deep issue, and there is a bill, a 23-page bill, that addresses that that I think deserves its own attention,” Vance said.

The House Rules Committee greenlit the removal Monday evening.

Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, proposed raising the age of consent with a handwritten amendment during a floor debate last month. More than three quarters of the House supported it at the time. That’s despite the fact that as written, it would have only changed the age of consent in a few specific situations.

But Gray said he isn’t giving up. He plans to introduce another amendment to raise the age of consent to 18 more broadly when the child trafficking bill comes up again.

“If you actually talk to the stakeholders, if you talk to the organizations that work with folks who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child sex trafficking, they would say the biggest bang for our buck is to raise the age of consent,” Gray said.

It’s not clear when the bill will come up for another round of debate in the House, but Gray said he’s confident the chamber will support adding the amendment back in.

Eric Stone covers state government, tracking the Alaska Legislature, state policy and its impact on all Alaskans. Reach him at

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