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Governor Welcomes Senate Passage of Domestic Violence Legislation

April 11, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today hailed Senate passage of SB 222, legislation that will strengthen Alaska's laws concerning domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, and child pornography. The bill, introduced by Governor Parnell, is part of his 10-year plan to end the scourge of domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska.

"Sexual assault and domestic violence are destroying individuals and families at an epidemic rate in Alaska," Governor Parnell said. "This bill would strengthen prosecutors' hands in dealing with these horrible offenses. I applaud the Senate for voting unanimously to deal more harshly with perpetrators and to support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence."

SB 222 creates a Class A misdemeanor for offensive touching that does not rise to the level of sexual assault in the first, second, or third degree. It also makes it a Class C felony to intentionally access child pornography on a computer.

The legislation provides that a person convicted of human trafficking or possession or distribution of child pornography may not be given a suspended imposition of sentence.

Courts would have more discretion in sentencing defendants. Specifically, a judge could increase a sentence above the usual range if the defendant knew that the victim was particularly vulnerable as a result of having consumed alcohol or drugs.

SB 222 now moves to the House.

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