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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Student Government

SGA smoking ban bill not ready for vote

The Student Government Association decided to send the smoking bill back for another two weeks with the Student Life committee after a debate during the Wednesday night senate meeting.

The bill’s author, Natural Science and Mathematics Senator Josie Ceasar, said after the debate that the bill is definitely not ready to be passed.

“I think (the debate) gave me a lot of good pointers that I need to address,” she said.

Administration & Finance Committee Chair Cameron McHugh asked the senate to send the bill to his committee, so he could look into several financial aspects of the bill that “need to be more coherent, transparent and clarified,” but the senate voted to return the bill to the Student Life Committee instead.

“I think (the Student Life Committee) is more appropriate because… it is affecting students primarily,” Ceasar said after the meeting. “In terms of administration and finance, there is no financial aspect to it because we can get grants from the American Cancer Society and other organizations that want to contribute.”

One of the worries expressed by senate members was the safety of areas 25 feet away from building entries, which is the minimum distance the bill would allow between ashtrays and doors.

“In front of the library, 25 feet is practically in the dark,” said Honors College Senator Maggie McCartney. “I just picture a young 18-year-old girl standing in the dark and that seems very scary to me.”

Michael McHugh, a former SGA senator, called the bill a “very hollow policy,” saying it would be impossible to enforce.

Ceasar, however, said enforcement would not be a problem, and the system would rely mostly on other students asking smokers to stop or move out of the smoke-free areas.

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator Lee Arnold stood in as Speaker of the Senate for Reyes Ramirez, who was absent for the majority of the meeting for a class.

“I think (the debate) was very productive; it gave everybody an opportunity to ask questions and clear up some issues that they had with the legislation,” Arnold said. “Now that we’ve had the dialogue, we can move forward and hopefully come to a consensus that’s beneficial for the legislation and for the students of the University.”

The legislation will spend the next two weeks in committee and will be reviewed again by the senate on Nov 30.


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