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Legislative Update: Representative Sarah Vance

Rep. Sarah Vance

District 31 Representative Sarah Vance called from Juneau earlier this week. She spoke with KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson for this Legislative Update.

Vance’s amendment to the Operating Budget Bill to put $100k in the Abandoned Vehicle Fund, passed this week. Follow the link to House Bill 275.

House Bill 302 is now in the House Health and Social Services Committee. It is not yet scheduled for a hearing.  The bill spells out that a person may not knowingly perform an abortion after a health care provider detects a fetal heartbeat unless the abortion is medically necessary and stipulates that a person providing such an abortion would be guilty of a Class C felony. The bill now has 18 sponsors in the house, including, Representative Louise Stutes of Kodiak who represents Halibut Cove, Nanwalek, Port Graham, and Seldovia. 

KBBI:I want to ask you about House Bill 275, the penalty for abandoned vehicles.

Rep. Vance:
That one I feel like, you know, needs to be talked about because it's important to the district. So the borough has passed an ordinance to help deal with the abandoned vehicles, and I said, Hey, I'll do what I can in the state.

This finds funding  for the state right of way?

Rep. Vance:
Not this specifically, this bill reduces abandoned vehicles from being a criminal act down to a traffic violation. Because from the conversations that I gathered from the district is that most people feel like it shouldn't be criminal activity.
That, a good percentage of the time when a car is abandoned, it's because due to lack of money to be able to. Do something with it. So lowering that to a traffic violation reduces the paperwork and make it easier for them to process and deal with the vehicle. It also raises the fine from $500 to $1,000 because the cost of removing vehicles is very high.
When I asked department of transportation about what's the average was their bottom number was around $3,000. That cost is going to vary all of our state, like in our district, that number's a lot lower. Increasing the the fine, we'll give a little bit more funding to that. Now. That's what that bill does and I'm going to work with the chair of judiciary, Representative Clayman on exactly how will we need to have the bill worded.
On a separate thing, I had an amendment to the budget that House Finance Committee members will introduce, asking for $100,000 from the receipts from the division of motor vehicle to start seed money in the abandoned vehicle fund. In statute, the previous legislatures created the abandoned vehicle fund, but never put any money into it.
And when I asked the department of transportation how much money would be needed to help deal with the abandoned vehicle issue, they said $100,000 would be good seed money to get the program started. It's going to be offered in house finance where they can have the conversation. If they feel that $100,000
is money that could be put to that at this time.

So that's in committee right now?

Rep. Vance:

I definitely want to talk about House Bill 302 I've read two bills now that are pro-life bills. HB 302, you are the lead sponsor on - prohibiting the practice of abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the womb.
The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled against restrictions on practice and even funding of abortion. What do you think has changed or what would lead you to believe that this bill can get past a constitutional challenge? I've seen some bills in the past that representative Eastman put forward that didn't even make it out of committee for restricting abortion practice. Has the makeup of the house changed?

Rep. Vance:
This bill already has widespread support and. 17 other co-sponsors. We are almost to the 21 votes threshold for passing a bill.

You feel like you can get to 21 on this?

Rep. Vance:
Absolutely. I believe that this is representative of the will of Alaskans to protect the heartbeat of our children.
Are you going to be at the District 31 Republican convention in Ninilchik this Saturday?

Rep. Vance:
I can and cannot answer right now. I am in the state capitol on state time. I cannot use state property or state funds to attend the district convention. I will be flying home on my own dime this weekend.

Representative Vance, is there anything that you would like to update your constituents about?
I have several pieces of legislation that I feel are important to the district that they can take a look at what I've sponsored and co-sponsored on the Alaska leg website.
I'm working on my sponsor statements so that they can have an idea as to my intent and bringing forth the legislation.
We just finished our budget subcommittees, and I'm telling you, I've been on the run. The one thing that I'm asking different media outlets is on HB 302  of thanking all the members. I don't look at this as my bill, but our bill, because I was having such widespread support, I just went to members and I didn't even get to all of our members that I just said, Hey, here's this bill. You know, would you consider co-sponsoring with me?

Politics Alaska State HouseLegislative UpdateRepresentative Louise StutesRepresentative Sarah Vance
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003.