Bills for 8-year driver’s licenses, limited vape ads back to committee | News

Lawmakers won’t move yet on bills to extend driver’s license terms up to eight years, or tighten up on vape and tobacco advertisements.

Both bills were sent back to committee during Thursday’s legislative session, along with a bill to change how candidates for public office report their campaign fundraising.

Sen. Roy Quinata’s Bill 174-37 would reduce the amount of time spent in line at the Division of Motor Vehicles by extending the license period up to eight years, the same validity period under the federal REAL ID Act.

It would simplify the renewal process for residents, and improve functionality at the Department of Revenue and Taxation, Quinata said Thursday.

But despite broad support from 10 senators, Quinata ultimately moved to send the bill back to committee to make amendments to it.

During discussion, Sen. Sabina Perez tried to amend the bill to increase the fees for driver’s licenses to $60, and to change technical aspects in the bill dealing with how fees would be laid out.

Renewal fees laid out in law are $25 for a three-year renewal, and $45 for a five-year renewal. There are also various associated processing and late fees.

Sen. Joe San Agustin said he supported the amendment.

“What you’re paying today for a three-year driver’s license is cheap. Because the cost to Revenue and Tax, if I’m correct, it’s like getting $40, $43,” he said.

But Perez ultimately withdrew her amendment, and Quinata opted to send the bill back to committee for corrections.

Rev and Tax made $3.4 million in driver’s license fees over the past five years, according to a fiscal note attached to Bill 174-37.

The only measure to advance Thursday was Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes’ Resolution 311-37, supporting Taiwan’s participation as an observer of the World Health Organization’s 77th World Health Assembly.

Vape advertisements

Likewise failing to move forward Thursday was Perez’ Bill 195-37, limiting tobacco and vape product advertisements.

The bill would prohibit the advertising or marketing of tobacco products or e-cigarettes on TV, radio and print and within 6 feet of any place within a retail establishment where a purchase is made.

Perez said the legislation was aimed at preventing youth exposure to advertisements that encouraged smoking and vaping. She pointed to a recent survey of over 30,000 students in Guam which found just over a third of both high school and middle school students smoked or vaped.

Her bill mirrors the Federal Smoking Prevention Control Act, signed into law in 2009.

But Perez tried to make several amendments to the bill, including one which would limit any outdoor tobacco and vape advertisements to black text on a white background.

Sen. Tom Fisher said there was a technical error in one amendment that might actually prevent people selling tobacco and vapes from limiting outdoor advertisements.

San Agustin motioned for the bill to be sent back to committee to be amended, and his motion passed, despite an objection.

Campaign filings

Also stalling out Thursday was Quinata’s Bill 233-37, which would require candidates in Guam elections to file campaign finance reports on a quarterly basis. Currently, reports are due only in the second half of the year, around election time.

Minority Republican Leader Sen. Frank Blas Jr. said he thought it was a good bill, but did not like the timing of it, just a few months ahead of this year’s August primary.

“While it may not drastically change things, it has … that perception that we’re meddling with the election process right before one,” Blas said.

Sen. Chris Barnett also noted that the bill could change what happens to funds a candidate’s campaign may have lying around from the last election.

Currently, Guam law requires candidates who have leftover money from a race for one office, senator for example, to donate that money to their party if they decide to run for another office, like the congressional seat, Barnett said.

The change would allow the candidate to carry that leftover money over to their new campaign, he said.

“I’m not sure if that’s the kind of election reform that we need to be making during the 11th hour of this election,” Barnett added.

Sen. Telo Taitague motioned for the bill to be sent back to committee. Her motion failed to overcome an objection.

Barnett motioned for a reconsideration, and it passed.

Lawmakers recessed until 3:30 p.m. Friday, and are expected to vote then.

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