Legislature(2017 - 2018)
2018-01-19 House JournalFull Journal
2018-01-19 House Journal Page 2209 HB 292 HOUSE BILL NO. 292 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Administration 2. Zero, Dept. of Health & Social Services 3. Zero, Dept. of Law 4. Zero, Dept. of Public Safety 5. Indeterminate, Dept. of Administration 6. Fiscal, Dept. of Corrections 2018-01-19 House Journal Page 2210 The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 17 follows: "Dear Speaker Edgmon: Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill making large quantity distribution of drugs a class A felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In Alaska, heroin and methamphetamine are the most heavily imported controlled substances. National surveys have shown that methamphetamine contributes to violent crime, and heroin is a contributor of property crime. Additionally, according to Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services, between 2009 and 2015 Alaska's heroin deaths have more than quadrupled. Alaska's geographical makeup and strained law enforcement resources have made Alaska a profitable location for drug traffickers. These traffickers are importing large amounts of controlled substances into our state and poisoning Alaskans. For example, in 2016 the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit seized 92.5 pounds (approximately 41,968.1 grams) of methamphetamine, and 252.9 pounds (approximately 114,584 grams) of heroin in Alaska. Those trafficking large amounts of drugs are not intermediary users distributing to support their habit. These individuals are typically connected to traffickers from outside of the state, and contribute significantly to Alaska's drug epidemic. Under current law, a person who distributes 2.5 grams or more of a drug such as methamphetamine, or 1 gram or more of a drug such as heroin, is guilty of a class B felony. If it is the person's first felony offense, they are subject to a presumptive sentencing range of zero to two years, with a maximum possible sentence of 10 years. This has little deterrent effect for those importing large amounts of drugs into the state. Classifying the distribution of large amounts of drugs as a class A felony will allow judges additional discretion to appropriately handle these cases and deter those thinking of importing drugs into the state. 2018-01-19 House Journal Page 2211 Without a supply we can reduce the demand, and in order to prevent addiction and relapse we must remove the temptation. To create a Safer Alaska, I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely, /s/ Bill Walker Governor"