At Monday night's meeting, when asked her opinion on House Bill 137, a bill to require the State to fund DMVs in communities of 850 or more, Vance told the group that she would not be at Tuesday's legislative meetings. That turned out to be false. Vance did make it back in time for Tuesday's meeting of the House State Affairs Committee and spoke in opposition to the bill.
District 31 Representative Sarah Vance of Homer held a meeting with constituents Monday night at Captain's Coffee on Pioneer Avenue. KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson was there and filed this report.
About 50 people came to speak to Vance about issues ranging from travel and shipping restrictions, to the disaster declaration extension to the DMV, to the integrity of elections.
A few people asked about voter registration and if voting machines are safe.
Vance relayed the finding of the Alaska Division of Elections, which is that Alaska's paper ballot voting machines are safe to use.
She then spoke in support of the idea that automatic voter registration should be removed from Permanent Fund Dividend registration. One person asked if Vance will file a companion bill to Senator Mike Shower's bill in the Senate, SB 39.
"I have not submitted the companion bill yet because Senator Shower has been working out the kinks in his bill. So I've held off. I've signed on to Representative Rauscher's election bill that has some of the same merits. A lot of us are very aligned, " Vance said.
Vance also spoke of another bill she intends to file.
The Dunleavy administration shut down commercial salmon fishing in federal waters of Cook Inlet last year. The State declined to continue managing the fishery within an area of federal waters. The area is what is called an Exclusive Economic Zone, where the federal government has jurisdiction over natural resources.
A constituent asked Vance if there is anything she can do in the House that will encourage the Governor and the State to resume management of the fishery so it can open again.
" To answer your question on the EEZ in Cook Inlet, I am going to bring forth a resolution that supports opening that to commercial fishermen and having a management plan. So that, I hope to be rolling out soon," Vance said.
The Homer DMV was a popular topic. Vance told the group that although the Homer DMV had been closed recently due to illness of the staff, it is now open and she supports it staying open. But, she also supports a private DMV office. Here's Vance in her opening remarks.
"There is a private DMV that I've heard is supposed to be opening in May. I don't know a whole lot about it other than I wish them success. I believe we have room in the community for both," said Vance.
During the question and answer session, Vance was asked how she planned to vote on House Bill 137, Representative Fields' bill to require that the State maintain a DMV in communities of 85O or more. Vance said she believes that the bill restricts the free market and binds future legislatures.
"The way the DMV was proposed this year was a line item on the budget. And so we got to decide what's best for this next coming year. Unless that bill changes, I do not believe that is the best way for us to move forward," said Vance.
Vance expressed her reservations about the bill but will not be voting on it.
Today is a travel day for Representative Vance. She is excused from today's floor session.