Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Senate passes 100 bills, leaves out most real reform

The SGA Senate convened a special session Tuesday night in order to hold voting on major reforms to the SGA Code of Laws.

The Senate passed all but eight of the measures, unanimously voting to pass most clerical corrections to the document, but voting down several major reforms.

“I counted five bills that were a part of our review process that substantially changed some things that were shot down tonight,” said Senator Ian Sams, who took a leadership role on the review committee and defended all reforms during the several debates. “I’m still not entirely sure why they were shot down tonight.”

In addition to Sams’ count, a reform proposed by Miriam Fry to establish secret balloting for elections within the Senate itself was defeated.

However, Sams, along with Senator John Anselmo, held their win-loss record for the night at 2-5, saying that two of the initiatives they proposed that significantly change processes in the SGA passed with ample support.

The first of the two major reforms passed was a bill that revokes the SGA president’s power of line-item veto, effectively ending the president’s practice of removing certain clauses from SGA Senate-passed bills before signing the measure into SGA law.

“I think it’s fantastic that the whole senate backed this up,” Sams said.

The second major reform opened up committee meetings to the “general public,” loosening the previously restrictive language regarding who can view committee processes in the Senate.

The five defeated bills considered major reforms by the review committee, consisting of Senators Sams, Peyton Falkenburg, John Anselmo, Emily McLaughlin, CadeAnn Smith, and Jimmy Screven mostly dealt with restructuring the roles of members of the senate and executive council.

For example, a measure that would give senators the ability to choose their committee assignments was defeated in a close vote. The bill would have given the senators with the most votes in their respective colleges a type of seniority, allowing them to pick committee assignments before senators who received less votes. Instead, with the bill defeated, senators will continue to be appointed to committee seats with little input.

“I feel like a lame duck,” said Senator CadeAnn Smith, pointing out her dissatisfaction with her assignment to the environmental affairs committee. “I feel like I’m leading something that’s going nowhere.”

Another measure, one that will provide consequences for the executive branch if it fails to routinely update SGA governing documents, passed as well. Sams and members of the review committee dissented, citing their disagreement with an amendment to the bill. Originally, the bill established “immediate removal from office,”—impeachment—as the appropriate consequence, while the amendment changed that consequence to a “senate hearing.”

“You can’t call for a senate hearing without a procedure for a senate hearing,” said Senator Grant Cochran, pointing out that the Senate currently has no protocol outlining hearings.

Cochran went on to propose his own amendment, establishing the consequences as “grounds for impeachment.” Under his amendment, he said, any student may file for impeachment if they feel the executive branch isn’t updating SGA governing documents.

Fry’s secret ballot bill was defeated after lengthy debate. The goal, she said, was to decrease the amount of pressure on senators to vote a certain way.

“We all know who’s doing the pressuring in this situation,” Fry said after a divided senate defeated the measure. “And it’s time for things to change.”

Like a majority of the “real reform” votes Thursday night, a few senators noted, Fry’s bill was defeated along what appeared to be greek-independent lines.

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