The Daily Gamecock

Student senate has active session, passes 4 bills, refers 2 others to committee

Student senate had one of its busier sessions of the semester during its meeting on Wednesday.

The senate passed four bills to create an ad hoc committee to discuss financial code reform, allocate more funds to various student organizations, increase awareness about transportation services among freshmen and reform the current senate attendance policy. 

The senate also referred two new pieces of legislation — one to recommend a Gamecock logo to be added to the soccer field at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium and another asking for the addition of a Garnet Gate link on Blackboard — for debate in committee.

The first bill the senate took up was about the formation of a special committee to discuss finance reform.

Some senators initially objected to the vote due to concerns that the finance committee would not be able to review the bill before it was voted on by the whole senate.

“By immediately just passing this kind of piece of legislation without sending it to committee, you are undermining the authority of your committee chair and your committee itself. And that sets a very dangerous precedent that whatever comes directly out of the speaker's office can just be passed without it going towards committees. The point of committees are to vote on legislation,” senator Sreshta Ravi said. 

The purpose of the bill, SBL11528, is to establish an ad hoc committee to discuss reforms that are needed to be made to the current Student Government financial codes. The bill was proposed by senator Camden Kaye and Speaker Pro Tempore Ian Herd.

Some senators, including senator Ava Baber, said the bill's content was strong but the methods were not.

“I absolutely support the entire piece of legislation. I honestly could see myself being on the ad hoc committee,” Baber said. “I personally do not support the way that it was passed today. It did not support any of the procedures, any of the precedents that we have ever held in the past."

There was a motion to suspend the rules in order to discuss the legislation, but the motion was struck down and countered by a motion to adopt the legislation immediately, which passed. 

“I’m very excited to see that it’s passed. I’m sure we’ll do a lot with that bill,” Kaye said. “We’re really hoping to kick it into fifth gear and kind of push a lot of things through with that."

Herd said he wants the committee be able to conduct thorough research and make strong proposals to the finance committee for code reform.

“I’m very excited for the committee to start researching finance issues and to ensure that our students are getting the best bang for their buck,” Herd said.

Two new pieces of legislation were also introduced on the floor Wednesday night. 

The first piece of legislation, proposed by senator Chandler Caulder, is a recommendation to paint the Gamecock logo in the middle of the soccer field at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium.

The second piece of legislation, proposed by the entirety of the student life committee, is a recommendation to display Garnet Gate through a hyperlink on Blackboard.

Both bills were referred to the student life committee for discussion.

A bill proposed by senator Jacob Vaught to permit the finance committee to allocate $17,541.71 worth of funding to 11 student organizations was found favorable and passed by acclamation.

The organizations that received funding include the South Carolina Student Legislature, Gamecock Consulting Club, International Soccer Club, National Art Education Association Student Chapter, Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, Academic Team, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Charcuties Club, Association of Pre-Physician Assistant Students, Student Nutrition Group and Peace and Plants.

Legislation proposed by senator Nick Harvey in a previous session to increase student awareness of transportation services on campus was unanimously adopted through a voice vote. 

This bill encourages the university to add a comprehensive overview of transportation services offered to the University 101 curriculum and to host more transportation-centered events that boost students' awareness.

Herd, Ravi and senators Maura Hamilton, Patrick Koon, Mia LaPinta, Eva Montalto and Izzy Whitehead also presented a bill to reform the senate's attendance policy, which was also unanimously adopted by a voice vote. 

This bill would ensure that senators receive a warning after they exceed the maximum number of three committee or full senate meeting absences before their removal would be voted on. It would also lower the number of senators needed to vote to remove a senator from the body for attendance violations from two-thirds to a simple majority.


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