22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from the House Majority

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State Capitol, Room 413
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
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House Passes
Hate Crimes Resolution
HJR 22 Condemns Paintball Shooting
and Supports Diversity

For Immediate Release:

March 22, 2001


Representative Brian Porter at (907) 465-4930
Representative Pete Kott at (907) 465-3777

(JUNEAU) - The Alaska House of Representatives spoke with one voice today to denounce racism, unanimously passing a resolution condemning a recent paintball attack on Alaska Natives, encouraging federal investigation of racism in Alaska and calling for sensitivity training for those convicted of racially motivated crimes.

House Joint Resolution 22, sponsored by the entire membership of the House, came in reaction to a well-publicized videotape showing three young Eagle River men in a car using a paintball gun to shoot inebriated Alaska Natives on downtown Anchorage streets in January.

"This measure expresses the House's unequivocal outrage at such manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in our state," said Speaker of the House Brian Porter. "Most Alaskans are proud to live in a state with such diversity of social and cultural backgrounds. It should be a source of our strength, instead of a pretext for bigotry."

The resolution encourages the criminal justice system to investigate the paintball incident thoroughly and, if warranted, vigorously prosecute those responsible. It also supports requiring cultural sensitivity training of those convicted of racially motivated crimes, and calls on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to investigate this incident and any other manifestations of racism in the state.

"Our goal is not simply to punish those who commit crimes out of prejudice," said Porter, noting that state law already allows stiffer criminal penalties for crimes committed out of hatred for the victim's race, sex, color, creed, disability or other personal characteristics. "We should also seek to eradicate the ignorance that leads to prejudice in the first place."

Many legislators said they had viewed the videotape, and expressed their revulsion at its implications for race relations in Alaska, and at the unfavorable impression of Alaska it conveys to the rest of the nation.

"In my mind this was a calculated attack on innocent, unsuspecting Alaskans," said Rep. Pete Kott (R-Eagle River). "The youths involved here made a horrible mistake and they will suffer the consequences for a long time. We have to recognize, however, that this is only one incident of many that probably occur around the state."

The resolution moves next to the Senate.

# # #


Broadcasters Note: Audio comments are available on the Majority Actuality line:
1-800-478-6540 or below.

= Pete Kott, 77 K

| Rep. Porter's Page | Rep. Kott's Page |

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