JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill expanding judges' power to issue alternative sentences has been signed into law by Gov. Tony Knowles.
House Bill 372 permits judges to let crime victims and offenders work out sentences designed to make the victim ''as whole as possible,'' according to sponsor Rep. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River. Judges must determine that victims were not coerced or intimidated.
''Most traditional societies worldwide, including all Alaska Native groups, have focused their justice systems on compelling the perpetrator to restore the victim to a pre-offense condition, to the degree possible,'' Dyson said.
''It is high time that our justice system focused on restoring the victim instead of paying fines to the government,'' Dyson said.
The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Dyson said the law would save money by keeping offenders out of jail and putting them to work to reimburse victims. Violent offenders would not be eligible for restorative justice sentencing.
The bill was one of 21 signed by Knowles since Wednesday. Others include:
--Senate Bill 270, establishing a program for payment of an annual dividend to the state by the Alaska Student Loan Corp. The bill authorizes the corporation board to pay the state a dividend each fiscal year its net income is at least $2 million, after meeting debt service requirements. The dividend will range between 10 and 35 percent of the corporation's net annual income, projected at $1.8 million to $6.3 million over the next four years.
--SB 177, sponsored by Sen. Dave Donley, R-Anchorage, allowing the Division of Insurance to regulate individual acts of unfair or deceptive trade practices.
--SB 261, by Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, establishing new regulations to help protect health care workers who use needles and sharp instruments, from contracting blood-borne diseases.
--HB 339, sponsored by Rep. Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage, allowing the Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank to offer loans to residents in the tourism and natural resource industries.
--HB 418, allowing fees paid for various state services to be applied to the costs of operating those services without being counted in the general fund portion of the budget.
--HB 291, sponsored by Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, increasing the use of electronic information to notify legislators and other agency offices of regulatory changes.
--House Bill 320, sponsored by Rep. John Harris, R-Valdez, providing for the transfer of the Whittier DeLong Dock and surrounding land from the U.S. Army to the Alaska Railroad Corp. and the city of Whittier.
--HB 344, sponsored by the governor, approving a land exchange between the state Department of Natural Resources and Alaska Hard Rock, Inc. The bill allows the state to acquire private land within and adjacent to Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Hatcher Pass.
--SB 34, sponsored by Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, establishing health and public safety standards for body piercing, tattooing, and permanent cosmetic coloring.
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