Legislature(2001 - 2002)
2001-04-23 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2001-04-23 House Journal Page 1134 HB 251 HOUSE BILL NO. 251 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to the commission of an offense or a juvenile delinquency act involving the victim's race, sex, color, religion, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, economic disadvantage, ancestry, or national origin; relating to sentencing, informal adjustment, and adjudication for those offenses and acts; 2001-04-23 House Journal Page 1135 relating to a diversity tolerance program for certain juvenile delinquency acts; relating to a civil cause of action for certain acts involving discriminatory harassment; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education & Social Services, Judiciary, and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Law 2. Indeterminate, Dept. of Corrections The Governor's transmittal letter dated April 20, 2001, appears below: "Dear Speaker Porter: I am transmitting to you today a piece of legislation that I wish were not needed with hopes that some day it will become an unnecessary law on the books. This bill may be called Alaska's Hate Crime Act. It is intended to adequately punish those ignorant offenders who commit crimes based on hatred of another because of who that person is. It is intended to send the clear message that Alaskans condemn this intolerance of diversity. This bill expands the legal protection given to those in our society most vulnerable to attack because of prejudice. Our current law allows for an aggravated sentence in felony cases if the offender was consciously attacking the victim because of that person's race, sex, color, creed, physical or mental disability, ancestry or national origin. This bill: · Includes in the list of aggravators a victim's sexual orientation or economic disadvantage; · Clarifies that the aggravators may apply even if the offender mistakenly perceived the victim to fall into one of the listed attributes; · Imposes mandatory minimum sentences for hate crime misdemeanors; 2001-04-23 House Journal Page 1136 · Prohibits the suspension of imposition of sentences in hate crime cases; · Requires sanctions for juveniles who commit hate crimes including community work service and referral to a diversity tolerance program; · Creates a civil right of action allowing victims to sue their attacker or the parents of a juvenile attacker. This bill cannot solve the problem on its own. Punishing hate crimes will not curb bigotry. We can end the scourge of prejudice only through teaching and sharing with our children the value of cultural diversity and the respect all human beings deserve. So with this legislation my administration will be taking further steps to teach tolerance. We will encourage school districts to create standards and guidelines for protecting students from hate crimes. We will train our public safety officers to recognize and adequately address these crimes. And I will create a statewide commission on tolerance that will recommend further actions we Alaskans may take together to build a just society. I encourage the Legislature to stand with me in sending this message of tolerance and respect. I look forward to working together on passage of this legislation and our other efforts to make this Hate Crime Act one that will some day be a forgotten legacy of an intolerant past. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"