House passes bill raising corporate fines

Posted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

JUNEAU - The Alaska House has passed a bill to raise the maximum criminal fines against corporations.

Rep. Max Gruenberg, an Anchorage Democrat and the bill's sponsor, says some companies may knowingly break the law because the potential gains outweigh the penalties. He says raising the maximum fines would discourage that.

The bill also closes what Gruenberg considers a loophole. Under current law, corporations' maximum fines are limited to three times their gain or the damages inflicted. The bill would expand that, to apply to gains or damages "sought."

Rep. Wes Keller said the bill may be too broad. He and four other Republicans voted no.

The bill is up for a reconsideration vote before heading to the Senate.

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