By Jocelyn Fowler
At their last meeting of the semester, student senators engaged in a heated debate about the limits of their own power.
Houston senior Daniel Lin started the debate when his controversial legislation Committee Voting Procedure went to committee. The legislation proposed a restriction on senators’ votes so that senators who had authored a bill would not be able to vote on it in committee. The bill lost in committee by a vote of three for, five against, but won on appeal to the entire senate, thus making it eligible for a pass or fail by senate but it ultimately failed to get the required two-thirds majority in a vote of 17 for, 17 against.
While several senators argued that Lin’s proposal was an attack against a right senators had been fairly given through their election, Lin countered with an argument that current procedures create a bias and allow poor quality bills to be put up for a vote in senate.
“One thing that this bill addresses is that it stops not well written or researched bills from getting recommended in committee,” Lin said.
Opposing senators, such as Rockwall senior Nick Pokorny, maintained that Lin’s legislation was a “disservice” to the men and women who had died and given senators the right to vote.
Supportive senators, such as Sugar Land senior Cody Orr, argued that the poor attendance at meetings determining fund distribution necessitated the bill.
When it comes to meetings for limited allocation funds (LAF- allocations of amounts less than $2,500), Orr argued that the required senators frequently missed the meetings and the decision to distribute money often rested on the wishes of a few people, including the person who wrote the bill.
While Lin’s bill failed to pass in the senate, he said he is confident issues with LAF can still be resolved within the finance committee.
“We will pass our own precedent restricting the author from voting in our committee,” Lin said. “I think the major reason why this bill failed is because people don’t think it should apply to all committees. This is mostly a finance issue.”
The bill, authored by Carlsbad, N.M. junior Sarah Staub, encourages campus officials to repair the steps outside of the Poage Legislative Library.
Staub said she once observed three students slip or fall down the stairs all within a 15-minute time frame.
Staub said the staff of the Poage Library has notified risk management of the issue, but she has seen no attempt to fix the problem. Staub hopes the additional voices of student senators will help.
“The bill is to fix the stairs so that the edges are no longer slippery,” Staub said.
“This is just safer for the students and faculty and it will save Baylor a lot of money from being sued.”