The Daily Gamecock

Student senate passes 2 pieces of legislation, confirms 4 new cabinet members

USC's student senate passed two pieces of legislation and confirmed four new elected officials at its meeting on Wednesday.

The two pieces of legislation passed were a recommendation to permit the senate finance committee to allocate funds to student organizations and a bill to hold committees accountable to nominees.

The first bill, SBL11547, allowed the finance committee to allocate a total of $2,104.00 to two organizations. Alpha Kappa Psi requested $125.00, and Theta Tau requested $1,979.00.The bill passed by acclamation after a voice vote. 

Senator Jacob Vaught, who introduced the bill, said that it is important  to provide organizations with the funding they requested.

"A lot of these requests are the requests that we had last semester, in the fall. They weren't able to allocate due to running out of funds," Vaught said. "Now we have reimbursements, allowing us to be able to fund some of the requests that will come spring semester."

Sean Deuty, the chief of staff in the student body treasurer's office, said that Student Government collected the money from previous allocations that were not fully spent, such as organizations that requested money and did not use all of it. The money is now being reallocated, and this happens on a rolling basis.

"As organizations don't use all the money that they're given, we're just going to push it back through into the requests that are currently sitting in the queue," Deuty said.

The other bill, SBL11546, ensures that once a nomination is introduced to the senate, the committee chair has a 48-hour window to interview or hold a hearing with the nominee. The legislation was adopted after a voice vote.

Chairman Samuel Bryant, who introduced the bill at the request of Student Body President Emmie Thompson, said that the legislation helps committee leaders hold themselves accountable to the rest of Student Government, processes and constituents.

"I'm certainly happy it passed. I think it will allow us a way to police ourselves and to hold ourselves accountable," Bryant said. "There were apparently some instances were people weren't being reached out to, and I think it's important that people are reached out to. And the president agrees."

Another piece of legislation, SBL11548, was introduced at the meeting, and it aims to clear up confusion surrounding the removal of senators with violations of the absence policy. Senators Klaus Lin and Izzy Whitehead, who introduced the bill, said that there is a way to qualify absences so that senators are excused in certain circumstances, such as if they have work, classes or tests.

"I remember my first time being involved as a senator," Lin said. "Someone asked the speaker what happens if we don't get voted off the first time, and the answer was, essentially, we don't have anything for that. That was the first time I realized we needed to do something."

The legislation was referred to the judiciary committee.

Four new cabinet members were also confirmed at the meeting. Talia Porzio was confirmed to the position of secretary of campus wellbeing, Brianna Smalls was confirmed to the position of director of the national lobbying agency, Macy Gault was confirmed to the position of associate justice and Alex Blumenthal was confirmed to the position of elections commission member.

The 115th student senate goes until mid-March, and senators will continue to work through the campaign season.