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Sunday, July 12, 2020

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Senate votes against campaign expenditure bill


During Thursday's Student Government Association meeting, six senators voted against the Campaign Expenditure bill that would limit money candidates spend on their campaign. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

During Thursday’s Student Government Association meeting, six senators voted against the Campaign Expenditure Reform bill that would limit money candidates spend on their campaign. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

With the Student Government Association election coming up, the Senate failed a bill on Thursday that would limit expenditures on a campaign.

Campaign Expenditure Reform, a bill authored by College of Natural Science and Mathematics senator Jasmine Khademakbari, did not pass as six senators voted no on putting an election cap on running independents and parties.

“I have a problem with clause three, I think that for parties the $1,200 isn’t fair because they are running with more people,” senator Paulina Saybe said in regards to voting no for the bill.

A group of students were present in the meeting to address the Senate in regards to the Campaign Expenditure Reform bill.

“The perks of this bill ensures that we continue to have this election culture at UH, where students don’t have to pay to win their senate seats, they don’t have to pay to represent the students,” Khademakbari said. 

When voting on the bill, many senate members yielded their time to the students in the gallery, giving these non-SGA members a chance to voice their opinions for the upcoming election. 

Attorney general Cameron Barrett presented the chamber with the history of the election cap from previous SGA elections. Last year was the only year the cap for parties was at $2,500, but every year before was capped at $1,300. The failed bill proposed the cap should be $1,200.

Some discussion points among the senators came from the money going towards material election campaign items such as posters and “count me in” cards. 

“Marketing materials doesn’t necessarily equate to money,” senator Khademakbari said. “I don’t see how that can be a real issue here.” 

Senators Aneesha Krothapalli and Chirag Mistry said they themselves did not pay anything to win their seats in the senate.

After the bill was voted down, the group of students observing in the gallery left without hearing the voting process for the next bill on the agenda.

Another election-related bill on the docket was Barrett’s Donation Reform Act that would redefine what constitutes as a donation to a campaign. 

The bill passed under a senate vote.

“I really struggle with this bill because I don’t think UH is a highly competitive school,” senator Saybe said. “I don’t think there is high student involvement and I think whenever you put bills out like this I think it limits students.”

The chamber made three new appointments, one of them being the new associate justice Sakethram Desabhotla who was the former attorney general. 

The Center for Students with DisABILITIES Advancement bill was put up for first read by chief of staff Vi Pham to address how resources have expressed unsatisfactory experiences regarding the untimely manner between the date of request and date of accommodation provided in the CSD. 

A motion was passed to move to the student life committee.

“As a University, we strive to be an inclusive campus and to promote academic success,” Pham said. 

In closing remarks, the senate chamber made their thoughts on the student gallery’s presence known to wrap the meeting up.

“I think it’s so rude for people to show up to the senate meeting and leave when the bill failed, it’s beyond rude, it’s tasteless and it’s ugly,” senator Chiamaka Chukwu said.

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