Though I was not in the Legislature when SB91 was passed into law, I was critic of SB91. One of the reasons was that it prevented judges from sending anyone convicted of a Class C felony to prison. But like many other concerns, SB54 fixes that and stiffens consequences for shoplifting and other “petty” theft. Additionally, SB 54 increases sentencing and monitoring of sex offenders, lowers the felony theft threshold to $750, and adds caseload caps for probation and parole officers. It increases jail time for class A & B misdemeanor theft and other offenses and significantly increases arrest authority, and penalties for all class C felony theft offenses (now all first-time felony offenders will now serve up to two years in jail.)
Not all of Alaska’s recent uptick in crime can be attributed to SB91. Our weak economy and opioid epidemic share some blame, but toughening our response to crime should help stem the tide. I voted YES on SB54 because it is a meaningful and critical next step towards building a safer Alaska for you and your family.
For more information about the process this bill went through, I encourage you to read the recent ADN article: