SGA Recap: Tabling legislation no longer allowed; judicial review processes updated 

Alex Gravlee, Staff Reporter

(Editor’s Note 1/24/23: This article was changed to correctly identify the author of the office hours bill.)

The Student Government Association Senate passed an act revising the duties of committees, a bill implementing legal standing and a statute of limitations for judicial review. Additionally, three pieces of legislation were sent to committees, while one failed.  


Bill reforming the responsibilities of Senate committees – Passed 

The SGA unanimously passed a bill that would revise the duties of Senate committees, most notably replacing the action of tabling an act with postponing it.  

Postponing allows legislation to be further reviewed until the next committee meeting. Legislation cannot be postponed more than once.  

If there aren’t enough committee chair members present to hold the committee, then legislation referred to that committee will be sent to the Senate floor at the next regular Senate session. 

Tyler Tannehill, the bill’s author, said tabling has been used as a “political dirty maneuver” in order to kill a bill out of the “public eye” in Senate committees.  

“I’m still very grateful that we eliminated tabling power from committees, and … we should hopefully see more thoughtful engagement of legislation and committees,” Tannehill said. 

This bill comes after proposed legislation was tabled last semester, including Sen. Xzarria Peterson’s office hours bill which has not been revisited since.  

Additionally, the bill would require the Speaker of the Senate to call upon a chair of the specific committee to explain the committee’s reasoning behind its recommendation for postponement of an act. Tannehill said this would hold the committee members accountable for their decisions. 

“People in power will use their resources and connections to committees to … kill something very quietly,” Tannehill said. “We should always see legislation come to a final vote for the public to see and see how every senator thinks about it.”  

The legislation also prohibits committees from meeting “within 48 hours of a regular Senate session.” The bill emphasizes holding meetings on weeks where the Senate does not convene.  


Bill that implements legal standing and statute of limitations for judicial review – Passed 

The SGA unanimously passed a bill that would allow the SGA Chief Justice to deny panels of inquiry into the constitutionality of an act. Additionally, the bill would implement a statute of limitations on judicial review for an act. 

Complainants must present an “injury of fact” within 60 days of the implementation of the act that caused the injury. The bill describes this as an injury that is “concrete and particularized” or “actual or imminent.”  

David Ware, an associate justice that endorsed the bill, said the definition for injuries was left vague to allow room for the Judicial Board to interpret the bill as students come forth with their grievances.  

This decision comes after this bill was sent to the Rules Committee last semester. 


Resolution encouraging the University to implement nap nooks – Failed 

The SGA failed a resolution encouraging the University to provide sleeping pods and nap-nooks for students after senators raised concerns about security and cleanliness. 

Sleeping pods are private capsules that students can reserve in order to take quick naps, while nap-nooks come with accommodated blankets and bean bags. Students would be able to reserve either for free.  

Tyler Tannehill, the author of the bill, said that short, 20-minute naps can reduce tiredness. He also said that a research study from the University of Georgia showed university students get only six hours of sleep on average.  

Additionally, according to a study by the National Library of Medicine in 2014, lack of sleep can contribute to an “increased risk of academic failure” and can “compromise learning.” 

The legislation also states that many universities like Washington State University and Wesleyan University have already implemented nap nooks and sleeping pods with praise from sleep and cognition experts. 

Many senators questioned whether there would be adequate security or sanitation for the nooks or sleeping pods. Tannehill said that it is up to the University to decide on how to implement them but agreed with the concerns. 

“We need to flesh it [the resolution] out and revive the issue again before the end of the academic year,” Tannehill said. “I will approach every … senator that pushed back … and invite them to work with me on that.” 


Constitutional amendment that moves the State of the School Address to January – Sent to committee 

The SGA sent a constitutional amendment moving the SGA president’s State of the School Address to January to the Rules Committee.  

SGA President Madeline Martin proposed the bill after noticing that the previous date for the State of the School Address, the second Tuesday of November, created difficulties with students traveling to participate in national midterm elections.  

U.S. national midterm elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. 

The amendment does not specify a date in January on which the address will be held.  


Bill requiring senators to participate in monthly senate tabling duties – Sent to committee 

The SGA sent a bill that would require senators to participate in Senate Tabling events to the Rules Committee. These events would mandate senators to set up tables in the front of academic buildings to answer questions students may have about the SGA.  

According to the legislation, three academic buildings will be chosen by the “Senate leadership along with the director of initiatives” to house tabling events. At least one of these buildings must house a specific college.  

The other two buildings can house any college, in order to compensate for colleges represented in the Senate that do not have a specific building.     

During these events, a senator representing a specific college must be present in the building chosen to represent that college. Senators would also be required to attend two of these events “during their respective term,” according to the bill.  

The legislation says tabling events would be held on a certain day determined by the event coordinators on the first full week of each of the “six full academic months.”  

Senators would set up a table in the front of the buildings and offer aid and snacks to students according to Sam Akins, one of the authors of the bill. Akins said he hopes the bill will help “bridge the gap between student body and the student government.”  

This bill comes after the tabling of legislation that required senators to post their office hours online. The act also required senators serve at least one office hour per week.  


Bill implementing Little Free Libraries – Sent to Committee

The SGA sent a bill that would install three Little Free Library boxes around campus to the Academic Affairs committee.  

The library boxes would be overseen and installed by the First Year Council. The boxes would allow students to donate and take out books free of charge with no time limit.  

The boxes will be available inside academic buildings according to First Year Councilor Cassidy Matwiyoff. The cabinet of Academic Affairs would appoint stewards to attend to the libraries.  

The three library boxes would come pre-built by Little Free Libraries, a non-profit organization that sells them. The cost of the three boxes would be $1,500 total, with the funds coming from the Executive SGA budget. 

“The mission of Little Free Libraries on their website is to be a free exchange of books,” Matwiyoff said. “You take a book; you leave a book.”