Senate opposes three tobacco bills

SG doesn’t endorse proposed bans or suggested sanctions

Student senate rejected three bills Wednesday night that would have endorsed proposed Tobacco Free USC policies.

Senators failed to pass a resolution that would advocate for a tobacco-free campus between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The vote was 14-12 against the bill, with one abstaining vote.

A motion by Sen. William Crane failed to amend the bill so it would support only a smoke ban, not a total tobacco ban.

Sen. Courtland Thomas opposed the restricted-ban bill. He said allowing tobacco use during certain hours would negate the purpose of the proposed ban, which he said was to promote and protect the general health and wellness of the student body.

Sen. Ashley Farr supported the motion to advocate for the restricted ban, saying a total ban would pose a safety risk by encouraging students to go off campus to use tobacco.

“It’s not a requirement when you come [to the university] that you cannot smoke,” Farr said. “Some people come in who already smoke. It is a requirement as a freshman that you live on campus.”

Following that vote, senators then rejected a second bill that would support a 24-hour total ban on tobacco use on campus. The resolution failed by a vote of 16-10, with one abstaining vote. Sen. Morgan Smith, who was in favor of supporting a 24-hour ban, said before the vote that to reject this bill would be to effectively say that student senate is against a tobacco-free campus.

“We’re a step behind everybody else,” said Sen. Alex Drake, who was in favor the bill to support a 24-hour ban. “It’s going to happen eventually. Whether it’s this year or not, it’s going to happen.”

Senate also voted 17-12, with one abstaining vote, against a bill to support proposed sanctions for student violators were a tobacco ban to be implemented. The suggested penalties were introduced to senate last week for consideration. They include workshops, fines, essays and possible probation for students caught using tobacco under the considered ban.

The senate also voted Wednesday night in favor of a number of resolutions unrelated to the proposed tobacco ban including:

—A bill to create a USC neighborhood association, with the purpose of affecting change in the community and influencing future zoning decisions related to the campus.

—A bill to allow the student body president to appoint more than the currently allowed six assistants.

—A bill to create the opportunity for students and organizations to lobby student senate.

—A bill to support a uniform online advisement sign-up for the College of Arts and Sciences.

—A bill to create two legislative aid positions that would perform pagelike duties.


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