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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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SGA announces student minimum wage is now $8 per hour


Most of the members of the executive branch attended Wednesday's meeting, but none count towards quorum and the meeting almost did not go on. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The Senate’s second meeting of the summer had no bills passed and one student appointed to two committees. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Student Government Association President Allison Lawrence announced at a Wednesday Senate meeting that the student worker minimum wage has been officially raised to $8 an hour.

“We’re discussing moving the minimum wage going forward (with the University),” Lawrence said. “Right now the conversation is really focused on the overall student worker experience”

The second Senate meeting of the summer did not have any bills passed, but four were read and one person was added to two committees.

The Student Center North Senate Chamber was practically empty.  Only five senators were present when the meeting began, just enough to meet quorum — the amount of people needed to have a meeting.

The Chartwells Food Recovery Policy was read for the first time during the hour-long meeting. The policy will make it so that Chartwells, the University’s dining provider, will be required to report their food recovery efforts to Food Service Advisory Committee and Administration and Finance.

The policy still had parts to iron out. Lawrence said they were going to change the wording in the policy from “Chartwells” to “University of Houston dining services” in case UH changes providers in the future, therefore the policy would be able to remain in place.

Currently, there is no mention in the policy of punishment if the food service provider were not to report their food recovery efforts.

In the end, the provider will report to UH Auxiliary Services and not SGA, therefore they would decide the punishment if the policy were to pass.

Many of the items brought up at the meeting involved internal changes. One will update over ten clauses of the constitutional bylaws if passed.

The updates include general grammatical and wording changes along with bigger changes like specifying the GPA needed to be a senator, which is a 2.5 or higher.

Another update is taking away the assured $1,000 set aside for International Mother Language Day. There are plans still in place to financially support the day, but the 56th administration wanted to make sure that new administrations did not feel like they had to support it and other events student government has held in the past.

“Our Bylaws are governing documents which are meant to define the fundamental structure of our organization, an event should not be defined in them,” said the document sent out by SGA that detailed the changes. “SGA can continue to support IMLD financially, but this change also gives more flexibility and control to future administrations over their budget.”

The Second Electoral Justice and Fairness Bill was up for its first read during the meeting. The bill would add six updates to clauses of the Student Government Election Code.

One of the updates would make it so someone accused of violating parts of the election code would have more time to submit a Statement of Defense.

The hope is to allow the accused a chance to reasonably answer if the accusation was submitted at a time when they would, most likely, be asleep.

“If the Attorney General solicits a Statement of Defense after 8:00 PM, then the accused will have until 10:00 AM the following day to provide the Statement of Defense,” the bill said.

The Senate took time during Wednesday’s meeting to talk about their new standing rules, which, if passed, will be in place for this administration only.

The rules are similar to those of past administrations, including seven minutes to speak for those proposing legislation, SGA members who raise their placards to speak will be given precedence and a 25 minute time limit for caucuses.

Bryan Medrano was appointed Wednesday to both the Counseling and Psychological Services Advisory Committee and the Hearing Board. Medrano is currently the director of outreach for SGA.

“One thing I’d like to improve on in the committee is encouraging more student input when
reviewing cases,” Medrano said in his application to the Hearing Board.

“Not just staying quiet and agreeing with the person that always speaks. Rather I would speak my mind and encourage my fellow students to do the same, wrong or right.”

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