Crime concerns dominate town hall discussion on 4th special session

Published: Oct. 16, 2017 at 8:16 PM AKDT
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With one week before lawmakers meet in Juneau for a 4th special session, midtown Democratic lawmakers hosted a town hall discussion on the proposals they’re being asked to consider.

The governor has put both a

and another look at crime reform on the agenda.

Senator Berta Gardner joined Representatives Harriet Drummond and Andy Josephson, all Anchorage Democrats, in saying the two topic are related.

“Part of the problem we’re seeing with crime is a results of not having the revenue that we need on the income side,” said Gardner.

Close to 40 people attended the meeting, which was held at Stellar Secondary School. The vast majority of comments centered on concerns over crime in Anchorage or how Senate Bill 91, passed last year, has affected how criminals are sentenced.

“Why are the majority of all sentences suspended? Every time I watch the news and somebody’s being sentenced a huge majority of the time is suspended,” said Anchorage resident Eric Hughes.

“You’re right that there’s always been suspended sentences by 91, but SB91 gave us even more suspended sentences and I thank that [SB]54 goes a fairly long way particularly with the C felonies in giving judges a little more discretion,” said Rep Josephson.

One question alluded to the governor’s tax proposal but the Democratic lawmakers agreed there would be little chance of it becoming law.

“The richest of the rich. The millionaires, we don’t have many, would pay $2,200 under the governor’s bill. The governor’s bill by the way I’m eager to hear but without senate participation there’s no purpose in me voting on it,” said Rep. Josephson.

The first day of the 4th special session is set for October 23rd.