Bi-partisan Bill to Crack Down on Arson Passes House

March 6, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bi-partisan Bill to Crack Down on Arson Passes House

Bill would allow state to prosecute those who plan fires, not just those who set them

JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed bi-partisan legislation to protect Alaskans from arsonists and those who support them. The legislation (HB 56) by Representative Carl Gatto (R-Palmer), Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) and Representative Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) adds arson to the list of serious crimes under Alaska’s conspiracy laws. This will allow the state to prosecute people who plan arson in addition to those who actually set the fires.

“Having served as a firefighter for twenty-five years, I can tell you that this fix to statute will assist in investigations of arson, and put in place a deterrent that can prevent the needless destruction to property,” Rep. Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, said. “I’m pleased to have played a role in this bipartisan effort – one that included the support of the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association and the Parnell Administration.”

“Most big arson cases, including bombing and other explosions, involve more than one person. Often, the mastermind isn’t the one lighting the match,” said Rep. Gruenberg, a co-prime sponsor of the legislation. “This bill will help us prosecute everyone involved in the crime, from terrorists, to anyone else who conspires to set fires in Alaska.”

“This bill allows law enforcement to go after the crime before the crime, to stop the match from being lit that can burn down the building and hurt innocent people,” Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, said.

HB 56 passed the House 27-4 and now goes to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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Mark Gnadt
Press Secretary, House Democratic Caucus
W: (907) 465-3842; C: (907) 209-7006

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