Knowles signs DWI bill, 20 others

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles signed 21 bills, including one that raises the fines for drunken driving.

House Bill 4, which was sponsored by Rep. Norm Rokeberg, R-Anchorage, and among those signed Wednesday, bumps the fine for a first drunken driving offense from $250 to $1,500. Fines for subsequent offenses also go up.

The bill also requires authorities to seize vehicles used in felony drunken driving cases. It increases the required sentence for killing someone in a drunken-driving crash from five to seven years.

The bill originally would have increased sentences for most other drunken-driving offenses and would have required treatment in prison. Legislators removed those provisions to try to keep the bill's cost down.

Knowles also signed House Bill 344, which raises the fee for drivers' licenses and state identification cards to $20 dollars. That's an increase of $5.

Some of the extra money will pay for a more secure digital photo identification system.

Other bills signed include:

-- Senate Bill 235, which makes Alaska part of an emergency assistance compact with 42 other states. The mutual aid agreement is intended to set up an efficient process for states to help each other during disasters. The bill was part of Knowles' homeland security package of legislation.

-- House Bill 52, which allows Alaska to participate in an Interstate Compact for Offender Supervision. The agreement is designed to coordinate the transfer and supervision of people on probation or parole who cross state lines.

-- Senate Bill 4, which lets municipalities grant a property tax exemption of up to $10,000 of assessed value on volunteer firefighters' and emergency medical workers' homes.

-- Senate Bill 326, which requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate potential costs and benefits of taking over a federal wastewater permitting program from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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