Rep. Scott Kawasaki

Share on Facebook   November 9, 2017

Criminal Justice Reform & Veterans' Day in Fairbanks

Dear Neighbors,

Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Passes House

Rep. Kawasaki discussing amendments to SB 54 during House Finance Committee this week
Rep. Kawasaki discussing amendments to SB 54 during House Finance Committee this week

Late last night, my colleagues and I in the Alaska State House passed SB 54 after 3 days of amendments, 13 hours of public testimony and six days of work in Finance Committee. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Coghill, now returns to the Alaska State Senate to agree on the changes.

SB 54 addresses many of my concerns I wrote aboutregarding SB 91, which was signed into law last July. SB 54 increases sentencing and monitoring of sex offenders, lowers the felony theft threshold to $750, fixes flaws in C-felony sentencing, and ensures offenders serve their fair time by eliminating Administrative Parole. I also added an amendment in Finance Committee to cap caseloads for probation and parole officers so there is adequate oversight of criminals during their reentry period. You can read more details about the version the House passed here. You can watch my 3-minute floor speech here.

SB 54 is not a perfect fix to our crime problem, but it is a good start. There are good parts of SB91 that must be fully implemented, like rehabilitation and treatment for substance abuse, a major contributor to crime and recidivism. For proven crime fighting tools like pretrial monitoring and opioid abuse treatment to work, the state needs to provide the resources necessary.

Years of Continued Budget Cuts Hurt Our Ability to Fight Crime

Previous legislatures cut troopers and prosecutors, including the closure of 8 trooper stations and the elimination of 37 state trooper positions in since 2015. Last year, nearly 7,000 cases were denied largely due to nearly $4 million in cuts to the Department of Law since 2015. The Department of Law reports their capacity to prosecute misdemeanors is down 33 percent and their capacity to prosecute felonies is down 3 percent. There has also been a 55 percent increase in child protection cases, but with the hiring of no additional staff, this has resulted in a 43 percent decrease in time spent on investigations. Cutting the budget has come at the expense of compromising our public safety.

The Nov 6 Dedication Ceremony of the Sobering Center. My Staff attended while I was in Juneau.
The Nov 6 Dedication Ceremony of the Sobering Center. My Staff attended while I was in Juneau.

Combating addiction takes a community effort and I applaud the work of the Tanana Chiefs Conference on the newly dedicated Sobering Center. This will provide a safe, warm place for our community members to seek treatment. It’s an opportunity that wouldn’t be possible without a state grant and coordination with the  Fairbanks Native Association, the City of Fairbanks, Fairbanks Police Department, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, plus many more. I’m proud of our community for coming together to make this possible.

Solving the state budget deficit will go a long way in addressing crime, opioid abuse and improving the  economy. Steady, reliable employment is another crucial piece to reduce crime rates and recidivism. We must have a strong, stable government that helps fuel a strong private economy.

New revenue is still on the agenda for this special session and I welcome your input on HB 4001, the  capped payroll tax proposed by Governor Walker. Hearings will continue this week in the House Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. You can find the schedule online here.

Happy Veterans’ Day!

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Rep. Kawasaki meeting with Alaska’s commanders last spring

On Saturday, November 11, we honor and thank those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. I encourage you to take time to thank one of the Veterans in your life.

Thursday night, there is a Woman Veterans’ Reception at The Venue (514 2nd Avenue) in Fairbanks from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm. It will feature a special look at the Woman in Military Service Memorial, an Art Show in honor of WWII Woman Veterans, keynote speakers, refreshments, chair massages and free gifts.

There is also a community Veterans’ Day event on Saturday from 11:00am to 12:30pm at the Westmark Gold Room in Fairbanks, featuring keynote speeches from military leaders based in the community.

As always, you can reach out to me directly anytime by phone, email, Facebook or Twitter at the links below.

Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,

[SIGNED]

Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks

P.S. Follow me on TwitterFacebook Or Instagram.

As your Representative,
I am here to listen and help. Contact me anytime.

Rep.Scott.Kawasaki@akleg.gov
 
www.RepScottKawasaki.com
 
IN JUNEAU:
Phone: (907) 465-3466
FAX: (907) 465-2937
State Capitol Building
Juneau, AK 99801

IN FAIRBANKS:
Phone: (907) 456-7423
1292 Sadler Way
(AlaskaUSA Credit Building)
Fairbanks, AK 99701
 
Toll Free: (866) 465-3466

Voice your opinions!
Here are some ways to let your voice be heard regarding issues important to you.

Write a Letter to the Editor - submit up to a 350 word letter to the Fairbanks News Miner via their website:
http://newsminer.com

Contact the Governor
Governor Walker's Fairbanks office may be reached at 451-2920, or e-mail him. You can also visit the state website at alaska.gov

Contact your
Congressional Delegation

Senator Dan Sullivan
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 328
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(907) 456-0261 or Email

Congressman Don Young
100 Cushman St., #307
Key Bank Building
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
(907) 456-0210 or Email

Senator Lisa Murkowski
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 329
Fairbanks, AK 99701
907-456-0233 or Email