UCF's Student Government Association holds public, weekly senate meetings in the Student Union's Key West ballroom every Thursday at 7 p.m. during the spring and fall semesters. For the summer 2016 semester, SGA's Senate will convene at 7 p.m. on May 26, June 9 and 23, every Thursday in July and August 4.
You can keep up to date on today's proceedings with the live blog below.
SGA Senate meeting is called to order at 7:00 pm.
Roll call confirms 26 out of 29 senators are present.
Senator Jacob Milich asks Christopher Clemente if the Florida Sunshine State laws apply to all SGA business. Christopher Clemente responds that he does not have any comment for that and he already answered the same question after a previous SGA senate meeting. Clemente said he assumed his earlier response would satisfy Milich, and said he does not have anything further to add.
Senator Jacob Milich asks SGA vice president Rachel Altfield the same question. Altfield responds, "I also have no comment on that."
Chief of Staff Nick Larkins announces that the UCF police department is unveiling a memorial statue for the pulse victims during a ceremony at 10 a.m. in front of the Student Union.
President Pro Tempore Garwood announces that he will discuss what SGA funds for clarification to RSOs interested in requesting SGA funding at 4 p.m. July 13 and 26 in The Hub.
FAO committee chair announces that four allocations were passed: 48-25 for $927.50, 48-26 for $998.54, $995.03 and 48-130 for $960.96.
CRT committee chair Salehi announces they have spent about $17,000 on 13 allocations. Five were for RSOs. CRT committee chair announces all these allocations were passed in an hour and a half, citing efficiency.
Bill 48-73 is in its second reading. Bill 48-73 concerns funding for 15 out of the current 45 members of the International Relations club to travel to Washington, D.C for the Arab-U.S Policymakers Conference from October 24-28. They are requesting $4,911.80 in SGA funding. They have not chosen the students who will attend, but they are offering applications tho those students who are interested, the IRC treasurer informed the Senate. Registration costs are $100 per member, amounting to $1,500. Lodging for four rooms during four nights amounts to a total of $3,073.60. and airfare amounts to $350 per member; a total of $5,250.
Senators debate on whether they should fund the first night. A vote to amend the bill to only 3 nights and 3 rooms, as opposed to 4 nights and 4 rooms passes with a vote count of 23-0-2. Instead of funding, the original requested amount of $4911.80, it will fund $4,527.60.
SGA Senate meeting calls for a caucus break and will readjourn at a later time.
SGA Senate meeting is readjourned.
Stephanie Alfonso, an incoming senior, is up for confirmation for the position of graphic designer. She presents her pitch to the SGA Senate. After questioning, Stephanie Alfonso is voted in as a graphic designer.
Bill 48-74, introduced by Senator Jacob Milich, seeks to modify chapter 607.2 from Title IV of the election statutes: Filing and Posting an Appeal. The specific changes Milich requests:
- Any appeals to election violations may be filed by the candidate/ticket who is found guilty of the election violation by the Election Commission.
- Appeals must be submitted in memorandum form.
- "If a candidate/ticket has appealed a disqualification, the disqualification will not go into effect until the result of the appeal has been decided by the Judicial Council."
- Milich also requests to completely eliminate Lines E and F.
President Pro Tempore Garwood expresses his discomfort in passing this bill at the present time, due to contradictory language. "At this point, they're a little incomplete, and I would feel uncomfortable passing this." Garwood hopes the bill is sent back to the originating committee to fix the inconsistencies before it sees a second reading.
Bill 48-75, introduced by Senator Milich, also seeks to make changes to chapter 605.11 of Title VI from the election statutes: Rights of the Accused. The specific changes Milich requests:
- Line A: To be considered innocent until proven guilty.
- Line I: To have at least two full days prior to the violation hearing to review the evidence for the violation hearing.
- Line J: To receive hard copies of all evidence submitted by the accuser.
After an amendment to Line J, this bill passes its second reading.
Bill 48-76, introduced by Senator Milich, seeks to make changes to chapter 605.17 of Title VI from the election statutes. The specific changes Milich requests:
- If the Election Commission, by a two-thirds vote of all the election commissioners, determines that a violation of election rules and regulations occurred the Election commission shall issue a sanction to the candidate/ticket that is found in violation.
- New Line A: Upon issuing a sanction to a candidate/ticket, the supervisor elections hall issue a statement on the committee's decision and will keep a record of the candidate/ticket's sanction.
- New Line B: The Election Commission may not disqualify a candidate/ticket.
- New Line C: If a candidate is found in violation of the rules and regulations more than eight times during an election, the senate shall determine whether to disqualify the candidate during the next regularly scheduled Senate meeting. (Milich hopes this will create more transparency in the trial because of the presence of a camera in the room
- New Line D: The Senate, by a two-thirds vote, shall determine whether to disqualify the candidate from the election.
- New Line E: Should the Senate vote not to disqualify the candidate from the election, the Election Commission shall determine a sanction.
Senator Milich on why he wants violation hearings that might potentially disqualify a candidate/ticket from an election to be conducted in Senate meetings: "60 people is better than six people ... six appointed people should not have the power to disqualify a candidate."
Senator Eric Patz on his thoughts of Bill 48-76: "I like the idea of reducing some power of the Election commission ... moving the (power to decide on candidate disqualifications) to a more public arena may reduce bias." However, Patz disapproved of increasing the amount of violations that makes a candidate eligible for disqualification from two to eight times, because "it does not look good."
President Pro Tempore Garwood felt caution would be best with this bill, and emphasized that title V in the election statutes provides strict guidelines and a system of checks and balances that effectively reduces bias in both the Senate and the Election Commission procedures.
Senators vote to amend the bill by reducing the amount of violations allowed from the stated eight times, back to two, on line 23 of the bill. The amendment is passed unanimously.
After more debate, the controversial Bill 48-76 passes its second reading with a tie: a vote count of 12-12. It will see it's third reading in the following SGA Senate meeting.
Bill 48-77, introduced by Senator Milich, seeks to make revisions to chapter 604.83 of Title VI from the election statutes: Ballot Tabulation, for what he says are "transparency purposes." The specific changes Milich requests:
- Line B: During the presidential election, each candidate/ticket may be present at the tabulation of results.
Bill 48-77 passes unanimously.
Bill 48-78, introduced by Pro Tempore Garwood, seeks to make minor revisions of the language of Chapter 302.2 of Title III from the Legislative Branch: Apportionment of the Student Senate.
Bill 48-78 passes with a vote count of 23-0-0.
Gabby Baquero is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Gabby_Baquero or email her at MariaB@centralfloridafuture.com