In one hour, Associated Students Legislative Council talked money and tabled four bills Wednesday night.
Council members proposed new ways of doling out money for next year. Proposed changes included restructuring lock-in funding and honoraria for student groups, such as the Women’s Commission. Honoraria – a flat monetary sum paid quarterly to A.S. officers – makes up approximately 90 percent of the Women’s Commission’s budget and is automatically deducted from the lock-in fee, regardless of whether all positions receiving honoraria are filled.
The proposed bill would allow both Women’s Commission and Student Lobby to budget their own honoraria for the fiscal year 2002, giving them a more flexible budget.
Off-Campus Representative Matt McMillan said the honoraria issue is only part of a larger problem in the way funds are distributed. “These groups do an enormous amount of good,” he said. “They just need more money to do it.”
Leg Council needs to talk to more boards and committees to ensure these funding problems do not come up again, Executive Vice President for Statewide Affairs Edith Sargon said.
Opponents of the bill wanted to reevaluate how many people were receiving honoraria. The bill was referred to Finance Board for further discussion.
Another proposal would have stricken two sections from the A.S. By-Laws that require allocations to programs. The bill would eliminate A.S. funding for financial and legal aid but would not affect students who currently receive Financial Aid.
These sections of the By-Laws were written before grants became available to students in need, Off-Campus Rep Vanessa Blau said.
“[Now] they have plenty of money over there [in the Financial Aid office],” she said. “So this money can go back into unallocated [to be used by student groups].”
Money for legal services would come from a new lock-in fee that may be proposed on the spring ballot.
The authors of the bill said A.S. funding is outdated and unnecessary, but most of the debate was not about the bill’s content, but rather the author who referred to himself in it as “Premier.”
“Premier” was McMillan, and his second, “Secretary Green,” was Off-Campus Rep Hagen Green. The council passed amendments to change the authors’ titles back to their proper names.
“I think it’s ridiculous to put nicknames on a permanent bill,” Rep-at-Large Eneri Rodriguez said.
Both Green and McMillan acted amused and promised not to do it again.
A position paper supporting expansion of the Chumash Indian Casino was again tabled, pending further research. The council also tabled an election-code reform bill.