Last Tuesday, November 1, Senate heard four items from GOC, or Government Operations Committee. GOC is tasked in part with writing new rules for SA. Of the four items, only three passed.
The first bill establishes public financing of SA elections. Specifically, it allows a candidate to be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of his or her campaign expenditures. Total expenditures (including donations) are already capped at $50 for senators and $200 for executive officers.
The bill was proposed by Michael Mancini, who represents the Graduate School. He proposed the bill in order to increase “the equity of the SA electoral system.” He believes that the bill “will incentivize more active campaigning, enlighten voters about their choices and empower more students to consider running.”
The bill, taking about an hour to get passed after being introduced, was the most debated of the night. Joey Zitzman of the College of Business was one of the senators who opposed the measure. He says he supports the intent of getting more people to participate in SA, but he thought that the money could be better utilized elsewhere. He also worries that “the bill was focused a little too inwards and not enough outwards” because some of the beneficiaries would be the current members of SA.
During the debate of the bill, there was a proposal to allow candidates to use SA property such as its printer. However, this amendment failed. Some senators thought that such a change would give too much of an advantage to incumbents (who know what resources SA has). Another reason for that amendment’s failure was that it had not been considered by GOC, and some people wanted the amendment to be given more consideration before being adopted. Senate passed the bill as a whole, though, with just a handful of nays.
The second bill allows organizations to receive advertisement funding for open travel, which is when attendance is not based on membership in an organization. It was proposed by Maddie Pickett of the College of Health Sciences. The bill caps that funding at $30, which is the same cap that organizations have for on-campus events. It passed without objection.
The third bill changes when SA officers have speaking privileges. It requires that SA officials who have a conflict of interest regarding something before Senate refrain from speaking while Senate is debating. An example of having a conflict of interest would be membership in an organization with business before the Senate. The bill was proposed by Kelly Scrivner who represents Greek Housing. She said that the bill “ensures that Senators are putting the interests of the student body before their own” and that it “allows the body to have a fair discussion… free from impartiality.” It passed without objection.
There was also a fourth item item from GOC, but it was a resolution rather than a bill. That means that it would have essentially been a very formal suggestion rather than a mandate. The resolution would have Senate sing the alma mater without an instrumental track, which has been the normal practice. The resolution was proposed by Michael Mancini, Kelly Scrivner and Joanna George, who represents commuters. The resolution ultimately failed, but Whitney Cipolla, SA’s Vice President and therefore President of the Senate, decided that Senate would alternate between using the instrumental track and not using it.
For this week, Senate will be moved to Wednesday because of the election on Tuesday.