Update: Kopp/Claman Efforts to Prevent Abandonment of SB91 Have Failed (Crime Bill will be voted on today)

Last Tuesday, the bill to repeal SB91 was rejected by 22 House Legislators (contact information below).

The vote against repeal on Tuesday followed the votes of 21 of these same legislators not once, but twice, to send a watered down version of the Governor’s same Crime Bill to the senate.*

The 22 votes against SB91 repeal on Tuesday served one purpose. They served to buy time for SB91’s remaining advocates to try to dissuade the senate from pursuing repeal efforts.

Immediately upon rejecting the repeal bill, SB91’s two most loyal defenders in the State House (Democrat Rep. Matt Claman and Republican Rep. Chuck Kopp) were assigned to meet with senators to try to again water down the repeal bill as much as possible.

Over the course of more than four hours of meetings, these two legislators attempted to do just that. Fortunately, backed by a unanimous vote in the senate, the senators who attended the meetings were in no mood to water down the crime bill.

I am told that a final version of the bill, reflecting minor changes, will be before House legislators for a vote during this evening’s floor session. (The session was scheduled to begin at 3pm this afternoon but has been postponed on account of a delayed flight out of Anchorage with legislators aboard.)

Because of Tuesday’s vote against the repeal bill, the bill was not passed by the legislature during the regular legislative session, which obliged Governor Dunleavy to call a special session so that the bill could be passed by legislators.

Unfortunately, as special sessions called by the governor can last for thirty days, legislators have been in no hurry to pass the bill out. Even though the final version of the bill has been drafted, even if it passes the House tonight, it may be another week or more before the senate passes the bill and it goes to the governor for signature.

As soon as the bill passes, legislators will then be forced to focus their full attention on the state budget and the PFD.

Legislators who voted against the SB91 Repeal Bill passed unanimously by the senate:

*Rep. Hopkins voted with House Republicans against sending the watered down version of the crime bill to the senate.