Legislature(1999 - 2000)

2000-07-14 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2000-07-14                     Senate Journal                      Page 3827
SB 4                                                                         
Message dated and received June 8, stating:                                    
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15 of the Alaska Constitution, I          
have vetoed the following bill:                                                
CONFERENCE CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 4                                           
An Act relating to victims rights; relating to                                 
establishing an office of victims rights; relating to                          
compensation of victims of violent crimes; relating                            
to eligibility for a permanent fund dividend for                               
persons convicted of and incarcerated for certain                              
offenses; relating to notice of appropriations                                 
concerning victims rights; amending Rule 16,                                   
Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 9, Alaska                             
Delinquency Rules, and Rule 501, Alaska Rules of                               
Evidence; and providing for an effective date.                                 
Although described as an offer to assist crime victims, the approach           
taken in this bill is inefficient and will only serve to create more           
bureaucracy rather than put money and resources into direct aid to             
crime victims.                                                                 
Crime victim advocacy groups, including Victims for Justice, MADD,             
and the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                 
also oppose this legislation for the reasons I stated above. In its            
letter requesting I veto this bill, Victims for Justice wrote,  . . . the      
funding necessary to establish and maintain a rather large, expensive          
state bureaucracy would be better spent on direct victims services.            
In its letter of opposition to the bill, the Network wrote, We do not          
support establishing an office that attempts to address these issues           
only  after  someone's rights have been violated. The Network goes             

2000-07-14                     Senate Journal                      Page 3828
SB 4                                                                         
on to explain that the money and efforts to support crime victims              
needs to be spent at the front end of the system, and not as an                
after-the-fact investigation of problems in the system, as this bill           
Several state and private programs already address victim concerns.            
We need to explore how to improve those existing services and                  
provide them at a local level, where the victims are. One centralized          
office with minimal staff as called for in this bill cannot possibly           
offer victims statewide the support and assistance they need.                  
Victims have long been overlooked in our criminal justice system.              
But Alaska has made great strides in repairing this injustice. Central         
to the increasing sensitivity we have toward crime victims are the             
tireless efforts of the victim advocacy groups. The public service             
they do for people in times of great trauma and grief is priceless. I          
look forward to working with these groups, state agencies, and the             
Legislature on forging improved grass-roots efforts to aid victims of          
					Tony Knowles