Anchorage may impose $500 ticket for texting while driving

  • Saturday, October 24, 2015 10:11pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Texting while driving in Anchorage may land drivers a $500 traffic ticket under a proposal that shifts the violation from criminal to traffic court.

Assembly members will discuss the texting and driving proposal Tuesday as a budget gap has the city reviewing fees and adjusting for inflation.

The $500 ticket would be the Anchorage Police Department’s largest fine. A state texting-while-driving law carries a potential maximum sentence of a year in jail and $10,000 fine.

City prosecutor Seneca Theno said in a memo Friday that there have been four convictions for texting while driving in the city since 2011. Switching the cases from criminal to traffic court avoids the necessity of a jury trial.

Approval would put the policy into effect by Jan. 1.

The Federal Railroad Administration has given the Alaska Railroad permission to carry liquefied natural gas.

The approval is a first in the United States and was sought as part of the Interior Energy Project, an effort to lower the cost of home heating and electricity in Fairbanks and other portions of Interior Alaska.

The approval was announced earlier this month by the FRA and is of limited utility at this point — it is unclear where the gas would come from in Cook Inlet, and Fairbanks’ natural gas infrastructure is limited.

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A judge will determine whether aggravating factors exist ahead of sentencing for a man arrested as he exited a vandalized Kodiak church.

22-year-old Arkimedes Garcia pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single criminal mischief charge related to the damage at Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Charges including burglary were dropped.

Garcia was arrested June 10 as he exited the church, where doors, windows and religious items were damaged, broken or disturbed.

A trial next week will determine whether aggravating factors exist. Garcia’s sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

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