Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
January 29, 2016
In this issue:
• National Guard Reform
• Remembering Wilson Condon
• Smart Justice and Corrections Reform
• Earthquake Preparedness
• Community Events and Opportunities

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The conversation around the budget continues to be the most important issue facing the Legislature. Look for constituent surveys in your mailbox in the next week: I appreciate your feedback, especially when dealing with such a critical issue. Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee has been working hard on critical reform legislation dealing with the Alaska National Guard and criminal justice and corrections. I hope everyone in South Central went unharmed by the recent earthquake, and that you can join me this Saturday at Tastee Freez (4pm to 5pm) to chat and get updates about the legislative session or other issues in our community.

National Guard Reform

Last Friday, the House Judiciary committee passed comprehensive reform (HB 126) to the National Guard’s military code of justice. This piece of legislation part of the response to mishandlings of sexual assault cases through the summer and fall of 2014. The committee worked hard throughout last session and through the interim to ensure that this piece of legislation will provide adequate processes and consequences for criminal actions of members of the Alaska National Guard. I was proud to work with my colleagues and the National Guard on this critical piece of legislation.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee and members of the National Guard after passing HB 126 out of the committee.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee and members of the National Guard after passing HB 126 out of the committee.

Remembering Wilson Condon, former Commissioner of Revenue and Attorney General

Listen to Rep. Claman’s remarks on Mr. Condon by clicking here (minute 26:30).
Listen to Rep. Claman’s remarks on Mr. Condon by clicking here (minute 26:30).

Wilson Condon served in the administration of three governors and was actively involved in the creation and management of the Permanent Fund. He also worked to secure the State’s share of oil and gas taxes and royalties. Wilson died in December, survived by his wife, Susan. In both his personal and professional life, Wilson was a model for effective public service. I sponsored a Memoriam that recognized his many contributions to Alaska. And as we address our budget challenge today, Wilson Condon’s reflections on Alaska’s fiscal situation in 2002—as he was announcing the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend—are valuable to consider.

Smart Justice and Corrections Reform

Another piece of legislation that I am working on is criminal justice reform. Throughout the summer and fall, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, composed of members of all branches of government, the mental health community, law enforcement, and victims’ groups, met to review the state’s sentencing and corrections systems.

Graphic detailing the projected Department of Corrections population growth from the Criminal Justice Commission’s reinvestment report.
Graphic detailing the projected Department of Corrections population growth from the Criminal Justice Commission’s 
reinvestment report.

Alaska’s prison population grew 27 percent in the last decade, nearly three times faster than the resident population. The operating costs to sustain that growth are astronomical: nearly $327 million in 2014. The Criminal Justice Commission developed a package of policy recommendations designed to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control prison spending. On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee heard from the Commission about the twenty-one recommendations they made to the Legislature. These recommendations include:

  • Alaska’s pretrial population has grown by 81 percent over the past decade, driven primarily by longer lengths of pretrial stay.
     
  • Lengths of stay also rose for sentenced felony offenders – up 31 percent over the past decade.
     
  • Three-quarters of sentenced offenders entering prison in 2014 were convicted of a nonviolent offense.
     
  • On July 1, 2014, 22 percent were in prison for technical violations of probation or parole conditions.

Several of these recommendations will be incorporated into Senate Bill 91 and a similar House bill, which we will be reviewing in the Judiciary Committee. I look forward to working on this visionary legislation

Earthquake Preparedness

The recent earthquake in Southcentral is a reminder to freshen up our knowledge about earthquake preparedness. There are many great resources online for earthquake readiness and safety. The American Red Cross offers an earthquake ready app that you can download. Additionally, the federal government has a website with fact sheets and information regarding earthquake readiness.  

Be Quake Smart

Community Events and Opportunities

Join Rep. Claman this Saturday at Tastee Freez from 4pm to 5pm for ice cream or a snack to discuss the first two weeks of the legislative session and any other issues and suggestions.
Join Rep. Claman this Saturday at Tastee Freez from 4pm to 5pm for ice cream or a snack to discuss the first two weeks of the legislative session and any other issues and suggestions.
 
Join Sand Lake Elementary School students for a “stud run” next weekend!
Join Sand Lake Elementary School students for a “stud run” next weekend!

As always, please let us know if you have other suggestions or concerns.

Sincerely,

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

www.repmattclaman.com

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/

State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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