Student Senate resolutions shot down by vetoes, prohibition

Editor's Note: A printed version of this article from Feb. 12, 2015 incorrectly indicated that resolution 101-01 was vetoed. This version also features clarified information on proposed pay changes for senate officers.

Student Government President Desmond Miller sent an email to the student senators Wednesday listing his decision to veto Resolutions 101-10 and 101-09 and prohibiting 101-01. The vetoed and prohibited resolutions were passed by the Student Senate at its regular meeting Tuesday.

These resolutions include set pay of senate officers, the addition of an oversight committee and a set of term limits on the position of president and vice president.

“Its not a secret that our government has been having several internal issues this year. Tuesday night we made a fair attempt to resolve those once and for all by passing 3 resolutions that would create better oversight over the executive committee,” Student Senator Josh Starr said.

Senator Pernicano presented a resolution to apply term limits for the offices of the student body president and vice president. S. Res. 101-10 limits the president and vice president to a one-year term. It would have been effective April 1, 2015.

Resolution 101-10 was passed 14-4, however Miller vetoed this resolution.

“I believe it is the job of the student body, not the Senate, to decide who is or is not qualified to represent them as Student Body President and Student Body Vice President,” Miller said in an emailed statement.

Senator William McDonald presented S. Con. Res. 101-01 as a resolution to allow for officers of the senate to bill time spent at Senate and committee meetings in addition to their existing pay for office hours.

The resolution was amended to take effect in the fall of 2015; it was passed with a 17-0 vote, but was prohibited due to state and federal laws, according to Miller.

The resolution states that the Internal Affairs committee reserves the right to withhold compensation due to a failure to complete duties, which violates University Policy and state and federal law.

“Upon consultation from Ms. Hage and Ms. London, this too violates University policy, and state and federal law as the Internal Affairs Committee cannot withhold anyone's pay. Additionally, granting the Internal Affairs Committee more powers/responsibilities would require an amendment to the Bylaws,” Miller said.

S. Res. 101-09 amended the bylaws to create a new oversight committee. The committee would oversee the spending of the executive office by the Senate to ensure the budgeted money is spent responsibly and to prevent waste.

The resolution was amended to become effective as of fall 2015. This resolution passed with a 16-2 vote, but was also vetoed by Miller.

“Upon consultation from University General Counsel, Gloria Hage, and University Associate General Counsel, Lauren London, Section 4.7F of the proposed amendment to the Bylaws would violate University policy, as well as state and federal law. Since it is against the law to withhold an employees pay, the resolution must be vetoed,” Miller said.

Some Senators were upset by these vetoes from Miller. Tuesday, Feb. 24, the Student Senate will have the opportunity to overturn President Miller’s decision to veto resolutions 101-1 and 101-09. In order to overturn the vetoes the senate will need to have a two thirds vote against the veto.

“Desmond brought up good points with his objection, however with the past and current in house conflicts several senators can’t help but feel this was more of a personal choice/shot by our president,” a senator who chose to remain anonymous said.

Senators recommitted S. Res. 101-11. The resolution would amend the bylaws to compensate senators for their time serving the student body. It will be submitted to the Business and Finance Committee for further evaluation before coming back to the Senate.

S. Res. 101-008 amends Chapter 3.3 of the bylaws to say, “All office hours shall be completed during the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the weekdays when the University is open for business.” The resolution was passed 17-0, and was not vetoed.

Student Senate will have regular committee meetings Tuesday, Feb. 17. The next full senate meeting will be held on Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m.

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