Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2018-01-19 House Journal

Full 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                                                               
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                                                         

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.                                                          
Bill Walker