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All assaults involving strangulation or suffocation will be prosecuted as felonies under a bill that passed the Legislature Thursday.
The state Senate passed the bill by Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, that defines as a "dangerous instrument" hands or objects used to strangle or suffocate a person.
The bill passed the Senate 19-0. The House approved the measure 33-0 earlier this month.
Under the current law, strangulation is prosecuted as a felony if serious physical injury is proven. Many cases are tried as misdemeanors if there are no bruises or other physical evidence, especially in domestic violence cases, Hawker said.