The Daily Gamecock

Student senate passes 1 piece of legislation, fails to pass another, confirms 2 new senators

USC's student senate passed one new piece of legislation, failed to pass another and confirmed two new senators at its meeting on Wednesday.

The legislation that passed, SBL11551, was a recommendation from the finance committee to permit $2,764.15 to student organizations. After a motion to pass by acclamation, the legislation was adopted.

Another piece of legislation, SBL11550, was voted on. It was a recommendation to honor the life of Carlton Thompson, also known as "Gamecock Jesus," at Colonial Life Arena. Thompson passed away to cancer in December. 

Senator Isabell Miller, who introduced the recommendation, said the university should honor him with a placard or some type of memorial inside Colonial Life Arena. Even though his seat will be reserved for the remainder of the season, it will be nice to have something more permanent in place, she said.

"I just think that he had a lot of impact on the culture of USC at events," Miller said. "I feel like he devoted a lot of his time here, and it would be just respectful of us as a university to honor that."

The legislation was referred to the student life committee.

The senate also voted on SBL11548, which is a bill to specify the enforcement of its absence policy. 

Senator Klaus Lin, who introduced the bill along with senator Izzy Whitehead, said that the bill is intended to address confusion with regard to what happens if a senator does not get voted off the first time.

Lin said that the bill is supposed to improve the decision-making process by making voting mandatory for senators until they are either voted off or the senate, through a supermajority vote, decides they no longer need to participate in mandatory voting, at which point it will be suspended.

Many senators have been getting warnings this semester from having multiple absences, but Lin said he does not see this needing to be enacted anytime soon.

"As far as I know, the precedent has been that every senator who has been called onto the floor for an absence violation has been voted off either the first time or the second time," Lin said. "This is simply to address just in case scenario of if we believe as a whole that they deserve to be ... given an exception for whatever reason they may provide, and that we aren't forced to vote on the matter despite us believing that we should have to vote on the matter."

Chairman Samuel Bryant said that the judiciary committee found the bill to be unfavorable 10-0.

"As a representative of the judiciary committee, we just felt that it overcomplicated already well-structured written codes," Bryant said. "We wanted to keep the process simple and unburdensome. And we think the current codes reflect that." 

Ultimately, by a vote of 25-13 against, the bill failed. This is uncommon, as in recent history, no bill has failed unanimously.

"I think that it's pretty clear that senate prefers to have the clause taken out but keep the mandatory voting part," Lin said. "There's no point in voting against yourself as a body and against senate as a body, so if senate wants the bill to be changed then I'm here to serve senate and the student body." 

Two new cabinet members were also confirmed at the meeting — second-year psychology student Isabella Brasch and first-year public health student Anitta John.

Brasch said that she wants to better understand how USC's Student Government works and how the senate works compared to the U.S. government. She is open to any of the committees but is best suited for inclusion and equity as well as student life, she said.

"I want to actually be a part of the stuff that's for the people, by the people," Brasch said. "I'm excited, and I'm ready to start passing some legislations and doing some research to draft."

John said that she is passionate about healthcare, so she is looking to join the health and safety committee.

"I have realized the student population has been struggling with mental wellbeing," John said. "As a senator, I would like to pass loads of legislation about more self awareness, how they can promote more healthcare."

Next Wednesday, the student senate's presentation on financial reform will take place.

"This has been a two and a half month project," said Cameron Eubanks, the speaker of the student senate. "This report deals with three things. It deals with our massive overhaul of chapter three of the financial codes and our organization, which effectively they will offer recommendations to make those codes more equitable and easier to read for student organizations. We will tackle a possible increase in the campus activity fee and what that number will look like and the data that supports that. We will also be talking about the new student union and talking about the students' appetite on paying for the new student union."

Before the senate session and presentation at 5:30 p.m., there will be a senate open house in Ballroom B of Russell House. This event is for senators to interact with administrators, faculty and staff members as they will come to watch the student senate's presentation.