By Amanda Alfanos, Editor-in-Chief
Four student senators failed to meet a Student Government Association requirement during the fall semester.
Sens. Neil Cooley (sophomore at-large), Cindy Pacheco (senior at-large), Jacilyn Kennedy (freshman at-large), and Sheray Franklin (dance/arts management), did not meet the legislative branch’s law-authoring duties, according to records confirmed with Justin DaMetz, president of Student Senate.
All senators are required to author no less than two pieces of legislation per semester, according to the SGA constitution.
Senators are required to “write and enact legislation that is necessary and proper for the general welfare of the Student Senate and the student population,” the document reads.
Cooley and Pacheco, who resigned this semester, authored no legislation in Fall 2010. Kennedy, who also resigned effective Spring 2011, and Franklin each authored one. Sen. Franklin was privately reprimanded for not fulfilling her legislative requirements, but will remain on Senate this semester.
“It was a great concern,” she said. “The president pro-tempore sent me an e-mail addressing the issue.
Franklin said she sent a bill to be on the floor Dec. 7, but was advised to wait by the vice president.
“There wasn’t enough money to pass the bill in its full amount,” she said.
The requirement of writing legislation exists so senators remain active, said Sen. Sarah Cook (Greek/president pro-tempore).
“We need ways to make sure they show their commitment to the student body,” she said. “If we don’t have those stipulations, we will have senators that aren’t active and just come to meetings, and we want active senators willing to help students on campus.”
Sens. Andrew Long (senior at-large), John Davis (law/graduate at-large) and Ciera Terry (theater) proposed legislation at the last Senate meeting of the semester in an attempt to meet the requirement.
All pieces of legislation were not approved to be heard during Dec. 7 meeting by steering committee members. The legislative pieces were not deemed appropriate in addressing issues necessary and proper for the student population, President DaMetz said.
Davis’s failed legislation specifically targeted the minimum number of laws senators are obligated to propose.
“While the idea in itself serves as reasonable logic for such a requirement to be passed, the requirement as a number of issues that should be addressed by the current Senate in session,” Davis said.
The requirement often results in senators submitting legislation that he or she has no true interests in, legislation that is trivial and without purpose so they can meet the requirement, he said.
Sen. Cook said coauthoring legislation isn’t necessarily a problem.
“The main use of coauthoring is a learning tool,” she said. “It can help new senators shadow older senators and help them learn that process.
“Many senators prefer to work together,” she said. “It’s a good way to bounce ideas and questions off of each other.”
About one-third of all proposed legislation last semester was coauthored. All but one piece of legislation was authored by a seasoned senator and a first-time senator, according to Student Publications archives.
Contributing: Cari Griggs, Senior Staff Writer
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of The Campus newspaper.