AK House of Representatives says yes to extending disaster declaration, Vance votes no
On Friday, March 26, 2021, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 76, which provides for an extension of the State of Alaska and Governor Mike Duleavy's public health disaster emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson has this report on District 31 Representative Sarah Vance of Homer's votes on the declaration and it's amendments.
The disaster declaration makes temporary changes to some State laws, makes it possible for the State and its citizens to access federal disaster relief funds and gives immunity from liability to businesses and employers who expose their customers to COVID.
At Thursday's floor session at the capitol in Juneau, the bill was subject to a list of proposed amendments.
Among them, Amendment 2 would have prohibited the governor from issuing stay -at-home orders and business and church closures. District 31 Representative Sarah Vance of Homer voted yes on the amendment. It failed, 17 to 22.
Representatives Kurka and Eastman then offered Amendment 3, an attempt to extend civil rights "protected group" status to people who decline COVID vaccinations. Representative Vance voted yes in support of granting civil rights protections to people who refuse vaccinations. The amendment failed, 18 to 21.
Representative Eastman offered amendment 4, giving the legislature the authority to end a disaster declaration by majority of members in a joint session. Representative Vance voted in favor or the amendment. It failed 17 to 21.
Eastman then attempted to amend the declaration to prohibit employees of the State from asking if a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, or from keeping a list of vaccinated people. Representative Vance voted for amendment 5, though it failed, 17 to 22.
Eastman proposed a raft of failed amendments, one attempted to establish liability for adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines or treatment to any employer who encourages an employee to receive a medical procedure. Another prohibited business from restricting entry by people who have not been vaccinated and another stated that the disaster declaration should not authorize or encourage martial law.
Vance voted for all these amendments. They all failed.
One of Eastman's amendments did pass 21 to 18, prohibiting relief funds from being used in elective abortions. Vance voted in favor of the amendment.
In Friday's session, the disaster declaration got its third and final reading in the House. When it came time to vote, Representative Sarah Vance of Homer voted against passing the disaster declaration.
The declaration passed, 22 to 15.
Representative Vance has scheduled a meet-up with constituents in Homer today, Monday, March 29 at 5 p.m. at Captain's Coffee on Pioneer Avenue.
Be advised: Representative Vance does not personally believe in masking and vaccinations. Expect a room full of unmasked people if you go. Captain's Coffee does not require masks.