Press Release: 17-026
JUNEAU – In advancing his plan to build a safer Alaska, Governor Bill Walker introduced three bills today to increase protection for vulnerable residents and allow for greater trooper presence throughout the state. This action is part of the governor’s larger plan to increase public safety, and reduce the high rates of violence and substance abuse plaguing the state.
“Alaskans deserve to live in safe communities not scourged by violence and substance abuse,” said Governor Walker. “The bills I have introduced provide safeguards for vulnerable adults and children, and allow for greater collaboration between local communities and the Alaska State Troopers to increase their presence throughout the state. We must do better at promoting public safety, and these bills will bring peace of mind to vulnerable Alaskans and their families.
HB 163/ SB 82 – As a result of the state’s $3 billion deficit, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has had to close trooper posts across the state. This bill would allow DPS to enter contracts and collect fees to pay for troopers services in certain communities. This program would be limited to communities that currently lack an organized police force.
HB 164/ SB 83 – This bill addresses potential conflicts with federal law, clarifying that Alaska’s long-term care ombudsman may only report abuse of vulnerable adults to the Department of Health and Social Services when appropriate consent has been given. This bill also clarifies DHSS responsibilities to investigate all reports of harm to vulnerable adults, and request further assistance from the ombudsman when needed.
HB 162/ SB 81 – There are hundreds of individuals and entities that provide medical assistance to vulnerable Alaskans. This bill clarifies and amends existing statutes related to background checks of those individuals to alleviate confusion and inconsistencies in current law. The bill improves the background check process to better protect vulnerable citizens, while ensuring due process and confidentiality protections to individuals subject to these checks.