09/23/10: Council Clippings

SGA camera

The Undergraduate House voted to purchase a new DSLR camera for SGA’s use during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Although the bill itself was only slight over $1000, relatively small compared to other items funded by the Capital Outlay account, debate on the measure took up the majority of the meeting. GSS had passed the bill with little discussion earlier in the day.

Brooke McDaniel, Vice President of Communications and Junior Representative, authored the bill and defended it on the floor. Representatives questioned her on a wide variety of issues including the quality of the camera, its cost, alternative options McDaniel had explored and the lack of a warranty. The questioning was the longest of the night.

UHR initially voted to postpone the bill one week to allow representatives time to do further research, but the body reversed its decision at the end of the meeting. After discussing the camera further, the representatives eventually voted to instruct McDaniel to purchase the camera with a warranty.

McDaniel was unfazed by the extensive question, but did express concern over the suggested postponement. “[The bill] was in New Business last week, so all representatives had the chance and the responsibility to do that research ahead of the time that the bill was scheduled to be voted on.”

Despite the House’s eventual decision, not all representatives were happy. Dan Manning, MGT Representative, expressed concern over the fact that the undergraduates were paying for the majority of the camera, but both undergraduates and graduates would have equal access. He also took issue with the cost. “I believe that buying such a costly camera does not at all suit the needs of the undergraduate body,” Manning said. “I believe that the willingness to pass this bill so easily is a testament to our lack of fiscal restraint, inability to research bill topics effectively and forgotten commitment to supporting the student body as a whole.”

JFC Policy

Both GSS and UHR will consider amendments to the Joint Finance Committee Policy that will significantly alter the incentives for inter-organizational collaboration on events. The same policy will provide extra travel funding to community service organizations.

The new collaboration policy will allow events planned by three or more student organizations to request funding for advertising, food, t-shirts and speakers fees beyond what is normally permitted. Previously, JFC policy did not permit funding for any food at events nor did it allow the purchase of t-shirts.

The idea for the collaboration policy first appeared in the campaign of now Chief of Staff Jimmy Williams. “I’m glad to see [the policy] come to fruition. I hope it allows organizations to achieve their goals more easily,” Williams said.

Travel funding policy

Both UHR and GSS passed a bill that will provide free student transportation to the upcoming Georgia Tech Night at the High Museum. After a lengthy discussion on the utility and legality of the bill, it passed GSS with a wide margin of 26-3-1. According to JFC policy, SGA is not allowed to fund student travel to events within 150 miles of Tech’s campus. However, as they have in the past, GSS decided to waive the standing policy and support the bill that provides transportation to what was termed an ‘impact’ event. Previous exemptions have been made for transportation to other ‘impact’ events such as Georgia Tech Night at Six Flags.

The bill, which requests funds of $450, will provide four Stinger buses that will transport students to and from the High Museum throughout the evening of the event.