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Saturday, November 28, 2020

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Senators seek clarity, liability


Student Government Association unanimously passed two bills that will provide more transparency to its actions during its Aug. 5 meeting.

SGAB46006 establishes an open forum for students at the end of SGA meetings.According to the bill, each person will have two minutes to speak, and any senator can cede time to an individual if needed.

CLASS Sen. Taylor Kilroy, who co-authored the bill with At-large Sen. Kyrie Ruiz, said this bill is important because it provides students with more than one chance to address senators – at the beginning of meetings before legislation is discussed and after it has been approved or denied.

Kilroy also expressed the need to encourage student involvement by offering them a good reason to stay until meetings adjourn.

‘That is the only time they got to talk and then they left,’ Kilroy said. ‘They rarely stay the whole time unless there was a really cool vote going on.’

The bill also allows students to ask questions to representatives and hold them liable for their decisions. Kilroy said it forces senators to refrain from refusing to take a stance on an issue.

‘It is a great idea for senators who always abstain ‘hellip; because they can be questioned by their constituents,’ he said. ‘I think that will make sure that every senator is prepared, and make sure he is voting the way his constituents want him to vote.’

Open Forum went into effect during SGA’s final summer meeting and will be added to the agenda at every meeting this fall.

More transparency was added with the passage of SGAB46005. This bill requires approval through a majority vote by the Senate for all donations made in the organization’s name.

Kilroy, who co-authored the bill with Ruiz, said the bill will prevent one person from making a donation on behalf of SGA without senators’ consent.

‘This is to assure that down the road some president doesn’t give $500 to some organization and say this from SGA,’ Kilroy said.

The bill also requires expenditures of more than $250 to be recorded in writing and presented to the Internal Affairs Committee. In addition, SGA’s director of finance must report purchases, and all requests must have at least two bids.

President Kenneth Fomunung, Vice President Prince Wilson and Director of Campus Activities Marcella Leung questioned the bill.

Leung said the part of the bill that stated ‘all requests must be reviewed by Internal Affairs Committee’ was problematic because it sounded as if the committee would have to approve expenses of more than $250.

After deliberation, the phrase was amended to ‘the committee shall not have the authority to approve or disapprove purchases.’

Speaker Alexander Obregon said the bill was not intended as an approval method for expenditures, but to increase SGA’s transparency.

Bills in Progress

An Ethics and Punitive code, which would hold senators accountable for immoral and corrupt behavior, is in the works for SGA
Kilroy, who is in the midst of writing the legislation, said the idea was ‘basic common sense,’ and long overdue.

‘I don’t know how we went 46 years without it. Right now there is really nothing saying a senator shouldn’t do this,’ Kilroy said. ‘Every other student government has one ‘hellip; I think the other SGAs have assumed that we are all good people.’

According to Kilroy’s current draft, senators would face three levels of punishment: sanction, suspension and expulsion.

If a senator was punished, the Internal Affairs Committee, committee chairs and vice chairs, president and speaker would determine appropriate action.


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