Finally! All 2017 legislative activity comes to an end
State Director Denny DeWitt reports from the State Capitol in Juneau
Well, it appears that the 2017 legislative season is finally closed.
On November 26, Gov. Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 54 into law as Chapter 1 4SSLA17. The bill was a huge victory for NFIB members and all small businesses. It included penalties for 4th-degree theft, class A-misdemeanors, and class C-felonies.
Additionally, SB 54, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Lance Pruitt, the felony threshold was reduced from $1,000 to $750, the level NFIB advocated in 2016. In a letter to the governor thanking him for putting SB 54 on special session call, NFIB pointed out:
“SB 54 addresses the need to provide the criminal justice system the means to encourage violators to enter treatment to address the many issues driving them to violate our laws. Our members are experiencing substantially more theft by these same people as a result of the lack of tools our police have to deal with petty theft.
“Senate Bill 54 corrects unintentional problems caused by the passage and interpretation of Senate Bill 91 passed by the legislature in 2016. It addresses penalties for 4th-degree theft, class A misdemeanors, and class C-felonies. SB 54, for the most part, reflects recommended changes from the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission.
“While SB 54 may not resolve all concerns with SB 91, it is important to, at least, take this modest step now. We believe the changes in SB 54 will help deter misdemeanor crime and provide enforcement agencies the tools to help reduce criminal activity.”
Activities for the 2018 session will begin on December 15, the day the administration is required to provide its budget to the Legislature.
On January 8 and 12, pre-filed bills will be released. The 2018 session begins on January 16.
This report is the final legislative update for 2017. They will resume in January.
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[Tile photo courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]