Senate passes amendment to clarify the definition of an Act, refers bill to post dockets to committee  

Skyler Dunn, Contributing Writer

The Student Government Association passed an amendment to clarify the definition of an Act of the Senate and referred a bill requiring the posting of Senate dockets to the Rules Committee.  

Sen. Elizabeth Prophet and Speaker of the Senate CJ Pearson authored the legislation to clarify the definition of an act while Prophet and Senator Tyler Tannehill authored a bill requiring the posting of senate dockets. Both pieces were presented at the Aug. 22 senate session. 

The pieces of legislation follow an Aug. 25 appeal filed by seniors Sarah Shield and Garrett Burnett, who stated that the SGA had violated an act by failing to publicly post the docket for the Aug. 25 Senate session.  

The SGA committed to posting the senate dockets to the SGA website in an October 2021 act.  

“The Student Government Association will post the Senate docket onto the Student Government Association Website and other platforms deemed appropriate by the SGA Communications Director and Webmaster, prior to all Senate meetings, providing reasonable notice,” the act read. 

In his opinion, Chief Justice Caleb Thome declared that Secretary of the Senate Taryn Geiger and Pearson were not going to be held at fault for the failure to post the docket. Thome also nullified the October act that required dockets to be publicly posted, citing that per SGA guidelines, any act passed by the Senate needs to contain a monetary allocation, otherwise it is not an act.  

Prophet and Pearson recognized that an updated definition of an act was necessary following Thome’s opinion.  

“Historically, SGA has passed acts for more than just the financial allocation. And so, in order to make sure that, retroactively, acts don’t get ruled unconstitutional … We just thought adding on the clarification to what an act is, we think it better clarifies our role working with the executive board, so that we can do more to ensure that we’re passing projects and initiatives that serve students,” Prophet said.  

Prophet said another goal of the amendment is to inform students on what an act can do for them and how it can impact their time here at the University. 

“The change has is positive, because it clarifies to both the Senate, the Judicial Board, and just students in general, what an act can do for students on this campus. So, I think it’s going to have a positive impact. And of course, any other thing that would come up, we would be ready to act if we need to make another change,” Prophet said. 

Following Thome’s decision, Tannehill and Prophet presented legislation to reinstate the October 2021 act, which required the posting of Senate dockets online. Their proposed bill included some updates, such as mandating the posting of Senate dockets to all SGA social media accounts in a timely manner. 

The Director of Communications shall be responsible for working with the SGA Webmaster and/or Press Secretary to post the weekly Senate docket link on all SGA social media platforms at least 24 hours prior to Senate meetings (ex: Instagram, Facebook, etc.),” Prophet and Tannehill’s act read.  

Only two other senators sponsored the bill, despite a similar act already having been in place prior to Thome’s appeal.  

Prophet and Pearson’s amendment passed unanimously and will need to be ratified by a student vote. Prophet and Tannehill’s proposed bill was sent to the Rules Committee to be discussed further.  

The Senate will meet in a special session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 in the UA Student Center Forum, Room 3700.