Juneau, AK (KINY) - Governor Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 54 into law.
Walker said via a press release that SB54 "helps to build a Safer Alaska" and that this returns "important tools to the law enforcement community."
Highlights of the changes include:
Class C Felonies now have a probationary sentence to a term of 0-2 years of jail. Second felony offenses changed from 1-3 years to 1-4 years, while third class C felony offenses remain unchanged. Due to these changes, courts should be more willing to hold offenders on bail for a first C felony conviction, because that sentence can include active jail time.
SB 54 has also created a new graduated sentencing structure for theft of property valued less than $250. First time offenders can be sentenced to up to five days of jail time. On a second conviction, that sentence increases to up to 10 days, while a third conviction can be up to 15 days. On a fourth conviction, the offense is upgraded to a class A misdemeanor, which under most circumstances will be punishable by up to 30 days of jail time.
For sex offenses, SB54 returns the offense to a misdemeanor, punishable with up to five days of jail time. This also clarifies the offense as a misdemeanor so that judges and law enforcement may arrest a person and hold them until bail is set on the new offense. There is also a mandatory probation period for sex offenders. Unclassified felonies will get 15 years of probation, while class A or B felonies receive 10 years, and class C will get 5 years.
Lastly, SB 54 amended the statutes to ensure those who profit from other sex workers can be held accountable as sex traffickers.
Read Department of Law’s bill review here.