Alaska Legislature

Alaska Legislature votes to criminalize abusive 911 calls

The Alaska Legislature has voted to criminalize the harassment of 911 dispatchers and threats against them.

The Alaska House voted 37-1 on Thursday to approve Senate Bill 38, a measure previously passed 19-0 by the state Senate on March 17.

Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage, and Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, were absent from the House vote.

The bill was written by Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, and advances to the desk of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after narrowly failing to pass through the state Capitol last year.

The measure was at least partially inspired by an instance when a caller repeatedly dialed 911 to protest Fourth of July fireworks.

If Dunleavy approves the bill, state law would be amended to allow misdemeanor charges against someone who repeatedly calls 911 when there isn’t an emergency and persists calling even when asked to stop.

Someone who threatens a 911 dispatcher could also be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.