Senate passes Gov. Parnell's omnibus crime bill

JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate on Monday unanimously passed Gov. Sean Parnell’s omnibus crime bill, which is part of the governor’s overall plan to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in the state

SB22 strengthens penalties for criminals convicted of certain sex crimes and gives the state tools to execute strong preventative measures.

Parnell, in a news release, called it “crucial legislation” that “better protects Alaskans from domestic violence and sex trafficking — something we desperately need here.”

The bill takes into consideration recommendations from the governor’s task force on human trafficking as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies.

It now goes to the House. That chamber’s version of the bill, HB73, is in the House Finance Committee.

“If we don’t all work together on this, you are not going to see the kind of systemic change that we believe is necessary,” said Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, who carried the bill on the floor.

McGuire lauded a compromise on one of the measure’s most debated sections, which would have subjected volunteers for sports teams to criminal penalties if they failed to report suspected child abuse. That provision was removed from the version of the bill the Senate passed.

“This is not going to solve the issue of sex abuse and human trafficking,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage. “There’s more work to do, but I think this is a good step forward and I’m happy to support it.”

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