Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2001-04-23 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2001-04-23                     Senate Journal                      Page 1217
SB 200                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 200 BY THE SENATE 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; 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 and Social                            
Services, Judiciary and Finance Committees.                                                         

2001-04-23                     Senate Journal                      Page 1218
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, indeterminate, Department of Corrections                                        
 Fiscal Note No. 2, zero, Department of Law                                                         
Governor's transmittal letter dated April 20:                                                       
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                         
      · Imposes mandatory minimum sentences for hate crime                                          
      · 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.                                                 

2001-04-23                     Senate Journal                      Page 1219
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.                                                                                    
       Tony Knowles