A Student Senate committee is suggesting how much the governing body should allot for each bill presented to them.
Student Senate’s appropriations committee has set soft caps for the semester to suggest how much Senate should spend on each bill.
The committee oversees the monetary side of Senate. It meets before each Senate meeting and reviews the bills proposed for the meeting.
Committee members then suggest the Senate passes the bill as it is written, or they can amend or fail a bill before it reaches the Senate floor.
The committee plans to use soft caps to help make these decisions.
Senate funds three different types of items: trips, events and special considerations. Each category has a different soft cap.
Committee members consulted data from Fall 2013 when deciding the amount of the soft caps. They found that 60 percent of Senate funds went to events and 40 percent went to special considerations. There were no trip bills last fall, which was uncommon for a fall semester, said Nicolas Rhodes, appropriations chairman.
Senate anticipates 25 bills for the semester: about three trip bills, 13 event bills and nine special consideration bills, Rhodes said.
Senate’s rolling appropriations budget for fall is $11,000. If the Senate spends more than $11,000, they will have to pull money from Student Government Association reserve funds. The soft caps help give senators an idea of how much they should be spending to stay within the rolling appropriations budget.
To set the soft caps, first, Rhodes set a cap for $700 per trip bill, which was based on historic data. He then divided the remaining money by 60 percent for events and 40 percent for special considerations. These funds then will be allotted to their specific bills.
“The soft cap just says ‘based on our budget, and based on the amount of bills we want, we should spend this much money,’ ” Rhodes said.
Senators still can amend a bill amount to be more or less than the cap. But Rhodes suggested that organization leaders keep soft caps in mind when writing bills.
“Anything that is below the soft cap and is reasonable, I would say ‘yes, 100 percent, we should pass that,’ ” Rhodes said.
The Honors Student Council presented a bill to Senate on Sept. 29. The bill requested $1,625 to send four honors students to the National Collegiate Honors Council to present research.
Because it was a trip, the soft cap was set at $700 for the bill, but senators amended the bill and passed it at $1,000.
To request funding from Student Senate, organizations can fill out a funding request template. The templates are specific to the funding category. All templates can be found on ocusga.org under the resources tab.
The request forms ask organizations to include information about the type of event, number of members attending, impact of the event, percentage of funding from other sources, legislation history, and event history.
The appropriations committee will consider only legislation that contributes to the organization’s success, according to the SGA funding guidelines. The guidelines suggest that an organization representative attend the appropriations committee meeting immediately preceding the Student Senate session in which their bill will be presented.
All bills must be submitted by email to Terrance Craft, Student Senate president, by 2 p.m. the Friday before the Senate meeting.
Student Senate meets on at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays in the Great Hall in Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center. The meetings will be moved to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the beginning of November.
Students who have questions about the soft caps, appropriations or Student Senate can email Craft at email@example.com.