SGA moves to biweekly senate meetings, introduces public committee meetings 


CW / David Gray

SGA senators confer at the Aug. 25 Senate meeting.

Kayla Solino, Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association unanimously approved changes to the Senate rules and regulations on the Aug. 25 Senate session, including a change to the bodies meeting schedule.  

The bill, written by Speaker of the Senate CJ Pearson and Secretary of the Senate Taryn Geiger, includes updates to the Senate rules and regulations, such as introducing a new meeting system where senators will not participate in regular voting sessions weekly.  

In previous years the SGA has met weekly to host Senate sessions where legislation was typically presented and voted upon at the same time.

Pearson said that starting the week of Aug. 29, the senate will meet biweekly, with committee meetings to commence in place of Senate session on the alternating week. Pearson said the change reflects the organization’s desire to offer more opportunity for students to be involved within the legislative process.  

“One thing that we want to be really intentional about this year is maximizing student voices throughout the legislative process and increasing the amount of opportunities they have to come and voice their opinions about the legislation that was introduced to the body,” Pearson said.  

Pearson said the SGA hopes to demonstrate to students that senators are looking to serve by providing more chances for students to express their concerns.  

“We want people to see that we’re visible, that we’re working extremely hard to be a representative body of the Senate, of those folks that we are looking to really serve every single day. And that starts with making the legislative process accessible, making [students] aware of when we’re meeting, and how often, and increasing the frequency of the times in which we do meet, which this legislation will do,” he said.  

Pearson said that the new process will include regular Senate sessions which will meet biweekly coupled with committee meetings, which will allow for legislation to be introduced and discussed multiple times before being voted upon by the body. He said students will now have three opportunities to voice their thoughts and opinions before their senators.  

Instead of legislation being introduced and voted upon on the same day, where students have one opportunity to voice their thoughts, legislation will now be summarized at a session and referred to committee. After it is reviewed during a committee meeting that students will be able to attend, it will return to the floor again in another Senate session, where it will be discussed and then voted on as normal for final consideration. 

“What that’s going to look like is not only are we going to have regular Senate meetings, biweekly, but we’re also going to have committee meetings. And so, when the legislation is first introduced, that’s not going to be the last time it’s seen and heard and be able to be weighed upon by the student body, it’s also going to go through the committee process,” Pearson said. “So, students are able to come and voice their opinion on legislation and senators as well during the first reading, and they’re able to voice their opinion again, at the committee. And then they’re able to voice it again, at the second reading, which will proceed, which will follow the passage of it after it goes through the committee process, giving students three opportunities to come out and really make vocal about the way in which they feel about the legislation that’s been introduced to the body.” 

Pearson said he hopes the change will help students who felt unheard know that the SGA is listening to their concerns and working to improve.  

“I don’t take the criticisms of SGA personally, I take them as lessons that [SGA] should really take to heart and … should figure out what can we do to actually make this a better experience for the students that we serve. And this is just a small way for us to do that by increasing the frequency of the times in which we meet by going through [a] slower and [more] deliberate legislative process,” Pearson said. 

SGA Press Secretary Trinity Hunter said that the legislation will offer chances for students to share their thoughts and encourage senators to be more purposeful with their drafted legislations.  

“The purpose of this legislation is to promote intentionality of legislation drafted and passed by senators, while also encouraging ample opportunities for students to speak with their representatives,” Hunter said.  

The DEI Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 in the UA Student Center Forum (Room 3700). The next regular Senate session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the same location.  

Hunter said committee meeting information will be sent periodically and that the SGA is working on creating a schedule for Senate sessions throughout the year.