Rep. Sam Kito will visit Skagway a week before a special legislative session focused on revenue and crime.
Kito will be in Skagway Oct. 16 and 17.
On Oct. 16, he’ll give a legislative update and answer questions at a town hall. The town hall is from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Klondike Gold Rush Visitor Center.
On Oct. 17, Kito will hold individual meetings in city hall. To schedule an appointment, call 465-4766.
Kito will be in Haines this weekend to attend a mining forum. He was in town in September for Southeast Conference.
“It’s been one of the longer years for me working for the legislature,” Kito said a town hall meeting in Haines. “It’s one of those things where I signed up for a part-time job and it’s very easily become a full-time job.”
Kito is heading into the fourth special legislative session of the year. Gov. Walker is calling on lawmakers to roll back some of the changes brought about by criminal justice reform bill SB 91.
Kito said one issue is that the bill went into effect before a new pretrial services division was implemented. He said offenders can’t be accountable to a nonexistent deterrence program.
“We have a lot of individuals that are committing crimes repeatedly, getting released on their own recognizance, and having no accountability, so going back out and committing the same crime,” Kito said.
He said the new law and cuts to court system funding have contributed to a “perfect storm” where low-priority crimes are not prosecuted.
The other focus of the October special session is revenue. Kito explained that the state needs to find a way to make up an about $3 billion deficit in the upcoming year.
“This is a fundamental change in the way we deal with how we pay for state services,” Kito said. “And because of that, we have to expect it’s going to take some time, it’s going to take some effort, it’s going to be a challenging process.”
The special session begins Oct. 23.
Kito is a Democrat representing the Upper Lynn Canal, Gustavus and downtown Juneau in the Alaska House.