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Bill sent to Procedures Committee

Published (Volume 75, No. 20)

SGA referred a bill to procedures committee that pertained to the allocation of student government’s money to other organizations.

Senators Jason Balestrini and Rachel Toy sponsored a bill that would forbid the direct giving of moneys to specific organizations outside of student government.

This bill would relieve Senate of the responsibility of making a decision in deciding how much and to whom money would be allotted.

According to Section two on the bill, any money to help an organization would be given to the office of Student Life.

Then, according to Section three, the office of Student Life would take the money granted to them by SGA and follow their guidelines for organization loans and imbursements to decide if the organization that petitioned Senate would get any money.

Balestrini was the representative who presented the bill. Senator Balestrini was asked several questions by Senate ranging from why this bill was needed to what would become of the money given to Student Life if the petitioning organization was found to not be deserving of the money.

“How often does a situation like this occur that it necessitates this bill?” Chief Justice Beau Pemberton asked.

“This is a hypothetical bill,” said Belestrini. In explaining how this bill was hypothetical Balestrini used examples of the difficulty that may be experienced for Senate to determine when one organization should receive money and when another should not.

If the bill were enacted, it would prevent Senate from having to be the ones to make the decision.

Procedures chair Liz Craig questioned what would be done if SGA were cosponsor an activity with another organization.

“If we (SGA) cosponsor an organization, will we be allowed to give out money?” Craig asked.

Balestrini said that if SGA’s name were on the project then Senate could sponsor it.

President of SGA, Eric Tolbert, reminded the body that if this bill were passed it would have to follow the exact wording.

The exact wording of the bill did not cover loopholes that may occur such as a co-sponsorship and what would happen to the money given to the office of Student Life if they denied the organization money.

Some senators felt like transferring the responsibility of decision making from SGA to the office of Student Life was the equivalent to a loss of power.

“It seems like SGA doesn’t have a whole lot of power any ways, and if we passed this bill that it would further restrict the power that we have now,” said Senator John Hanson.

Brian Davis made a successful motion to have the bill go before the Procedures Committee for review.

Other items on the agenda included discussion of the upcoming events for UTM such as the High School Leadership Conference, Civil Rights Forum and Heritage Day.

The High School Leadership Conference will run from Feb. 20-22. The Civil Rights Forum will be held March 25.

Heritage Day is scheduled from 4:30-7 p.m. March 26. 
Senators were also encouraged to take on a community service activity.

Participation with Habitat for Humanity and helping with the All-Niter were among the options presented.