State senators approved a bill Sunday that would waive juveniles to adult court if they're charged with committing certain hate crimes. Senators, however, refused to add sexual orientation to the list of factors that could trigger the provision.
Senate Bill 169, sponsored by Anchorage Republican Sen. Dave Donley, would waive to adult status minors at least 16 years old who are charged with violent felonies committed because of the victim's race, sex, color, creed, physical or mental disability, ancestry or national origin.
The bill is a reaction to a drive-by paintball shootings that targeted Alaska Natives in January. Three white youths were taken into custody in the incident. Two 17-year-old boys faced possible proceedings in juvenile court.
Democrats said Donley's bill would had no effect on the juveniles in that incident since not even an adult named in the case faces a felony charge.
Democrats also tried to amend Donley's bill to include people who could be targeted for their sexual orientation. That amendment failed 12-7.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.