Joint Finance Committee Chair and Undergraduate Vice President of Finance Brad Bauerkemper admonished the Graduate Student Senate and the Undergraduate House of Representatives during their meetings on Tuesday for not taking enough responsibility when authoring bills.
Citing a three-hour JFC meeting that week, Bauerkemper said that JFC had to spend an inordinate amount of time scrutinzing bills. He asked that Representatives and Senators work with organizations to ensure that their bills met JFC policy. “There’s got to be a little more work on Senators’ and Represenatives’ part,” Bauerkemper said.
When speaking to the Undergraduate House, he said that he was surprised that organizational representatives did not know more about JFC policy in light of last week’s resolution reaffirming UHR’s commitment to the student body. The resolution stated that each representative acknowledge that authoring a bill makes him or her an “advocate” for the group, and that he or she takes on the duty of teaching the organization about JFC policy.
Undergraduate Executive Vice President Brenda Morales echoed Bauerkemper’s remarks, saying that representatives should only author bills they are “proud to support.” She advised representatives to work with organizations to find other sources of funding.
However, Morales placed responsibility on the organizations, too. “I believe that many problems arise because organizations tend to submit their bills just before the deadline without first reading the instructions carefully, familiarizing themselves with our policy or seeking advice from their authors…In my view, it is completely reasonable to expect organizations to put time and effort into the process. The authors are really there to answer organizations’ questions, ensure that bills are submitted correctly and on time and remind the organizations of meeting times,” Morales said in a written statement.
Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech submitted a bill discussed this week asking for funds to purchase new equipment and finance first aid training for instructors. The bill passed the House with little debate, 47-1-3.
However, the bill generated a some discussion in the Senate. JFC Chair Bauerkemper noted that the training courses may not meet policy, although JFC could not come to consensus on this issue. The question at hand was whether the courses constituted “Professional Development,” which is banned under JFC policy.
AE Sen. Will Runge introduced an amendment to remove the training courses from the bill. Senators discussed the purpose of the courses, eventually concluding that they should not be classified as “Professional Development” and failed the amendment.The bill passed the Senate 24-3-2.
During an Open Forum discussion in the UHR meeting, At-Large Rep. Victoria Lee suggested that SGA look into allowing dorms to keep communal pets to improve the mental health of residents. This idea elicited support from representatives, although they acknowledged several potential obstacles. CS Rep. and Vice President of the Residence Hall Association said that a resolution supporting a similar idea was working its way through Legislative Council, the legislative branch of RHA. He offered to coordinate putting UHR reps in touch with RHA to work on this issue.