The Senate Finance Committee was expected to take up amendments to the $9. 9 billion state operating budget on Monday afternoon, but the hearing was cancelled.
The committee took public testimony over the weekend, with First Lady Sandy Parnell asking members to restore $ 827,200 to the Department of Public Safety for a sex-trafficking investigative unit. A subcommittee recommends denying the governor’s request for new troopers because there hadn’t been a single investigation in the last year.
“The reason given for cutting the funding, however, is exactly why the funding is needed,” Sandy Parnell told the Finance Committee. “Because sex trafficking is a hidden crime that must be unearthed by investigators. Its victims do not self-report. We have lots of sexual assault case investigations initiated after a report is made, but in commercial sex industry cases, this doesn’t happen. These girls are under extreme control of their captors, both physically and mentally.”
In her testimony, Parnell said troopers’ lack of experience and training in that area results in a failure to recognize signs of trafficking.
- About 100 people attended a re-election campaign kick off event in Juneau for Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Mallott. Walker set aside a few minutes to take our questions.
- Gov. Bill Walker says he wouldn't go through the hassle of calling another special session this year if he didn't expect Alaska legislators to pass the bills on his agenda. But Walker faces an uphill battle in selling skeptical senators on his new tax bill.
- The bow of an abandoned boat could be seen this weekend drifting up and down the Gastineau Channel between Lemon Creek and the Douglas Bridge. A broadcast warning to mariners was issued Saturday, but no further action was being taken as of Sunday afternoon.
- With a surge in vehicle thefts in Anchorage, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. One group mobilizing through Facebook is reuniting stolen vehicles with their owners. Members of the A Team, as they call themselves, say they are filling a void left by overworked police.