SGA vote on requiring the posting of Senate docket online fails

Alex Gravlee, Contributing Writer

The Student Government Association voted down a bill on Oct. 20 that would require the posting of the Senate session docket on the SGA website 24 hours before a Senate meeting. 

The bill additionally would have required the docket to be posted to the SGA’s social media pages.  

 The Senate initially tabled and sent the bill to the Rules Committee for further review earlier in the semester before voting it down. The decision comes after the Judicial Board nullified an act that required the posting of Senate dockets on the SGA website. 

Elizabeth Prophet, one of the bill’s authors, said she was frustrated and confused by the bill’s failure. The bill received no speeches of disapproval from senators prior to the vote. Prophet added that, in a Rules Committee meeting the week of the vote, there was only one speech given about the bill and that it was in favor of the bill. 

“This is a practice that SGA does, but all it did was codify it into our Code of Laws,” said Prophet. “As of now, no future Senate is legally … bound to follow this practice of posting the public docket every week.”  

Prophet said she was also confused by how the previous act passed and this one did not.  

The previous act was authored by CJ Pearson, the current Speaker of the Senate, and was passed on Oct. 14, 2021. The Judicial Board ruled that the act was unconstitutional since it did not require funding to implement. 

Tyler Tannehill, the bill’s other author, said that he wants to introduce a rewritten version of the bill that will clarify it and make it more thorough. Additionally, he said he wanted to collaborate with student organizations and have them endorse the bill.  

“There’s always room for improvement … so it can be the best transparency Senate docket bill that it can be,” said Tannehill. He added that he was still frustrated with the failure and that the bill was “already thorough.” 

“These are just saddening refusals to entertain, which are necessary functions for a democratic government,” said Tannehill. 

Both Prophet and Tannehill said the failure of the docket bill was the Machine’s doing.  

“What happened tonight is the Machine,” said Prophet. “For whatever reason, they decided to vote against the bill that had already been precedent.” 

“I would like to call out the Machine right now,” said Tannehill. “Why was there no discussion of ideas or expression of concerns? It was … similar to the standard that … had passed … and then was ruled unconstitutional by the Jury Board.” 

The Machine is a supposed underground Greek secret society encompassing multiple Greek organizations. It has been accused of influencing votes and elections in the SGA by telling members how to vote. To date, only one member of the SGA — former SGA president Jared Hunter — has publicly claimed to be a member of the Machine.  

The two senators said that the lack of speeches against the bill was part of a pattern that indicated the Machine voted down the bill. 

“This cannot be allowed to stand. … We need to let students in the body know that the student Senate is not acting democratically,” said Tannehill.  

Senator Prophet said the bill’s lack of debate should warn students that senators are not “doing the task they were elected to do.” 

“That silence is deafening, and I think students should take note and be angry about it,” said Prophet.