After Associated Students Legislative Council failed to make quorum for the second time in three weeks, A.S. was handed next year’s budget by default at the council’s meeting on Wednesday.
The A.S. legal code states that the current president’s proposed budget for the following year must be approved in the sixth week of Spring Quarter. Because the council failed to reach quorum, President Miguel Lopez’s budget passed by default. Ten members attended the meeting, while 13 were needed to reach quorum. Internal Vice President Denise Aceves said all of the missing members’ absences were excused.
Because the budget was automatically passed, no opposition or line-item changes could be made. Rep-at-Large Cervin Morris, next year’s president, said several members of the council, including Off-Campus Rep Andrea Wells and Rep-at-Large Kristen Ditlevsen, had line items they wanted changed. Morris said he was personally concerned with the reduction of Leg Council executive board operating costs in the budget.
Morris said he thought the absent members had chosen to miss the meeting so Lopez’s budget would pass untouched.
Several Students’ Party members said they agreed with Morris and that they were skeptical of the missing council members’ motives.
“It’s quite possible the breakdown of the people not there was a little suspicious,” Ditlevsen said.
On-Campus Rep Komal Mehta said she didn’t think there was any kind of plot to pass Lopez’s budget unopposed.
“I personally don’t think it’s a conspiracy, because everyone has proxies and everyone way ahead of time informed Denise that they wouldn’t be making this meeting or would be coming late,” Mehta said. “In addition, the budget has been such an open process that to say it was a conspiracy is kind of contradictory to the entire process, because all these office hours were being held and people were talking about it in the office.”
Lopez also said Morris’ accusations were unfounded.
“I’ve been talking to him for the last three weeks and never did he raise any concern or issue with the budget,” Lopez said. “If he was even interested in any possible line-item changes or just anything to the budget he could have brought it up to anyone.”
Because the council failed to make quorum, it could not vote on the two bills on the meeting’s agenda. The first of the two bills, written by Rep-at-Large Katie Joaquin, was to amend Leg Council meeting procedures. Joaquin was unable to attend the meeting because of a previous commitment.
External Vice President of Local Affairs Logan Green was present to discuss the second bill, which he has been working on with Off-Campus Rep Lance Tackett. The bill would require all A.S. committees, boards, and A.S.-funded groups to buy only T-shirts that are made with organic cotton and not produced in sweatshops.
“I really can’t believe how out-of-date our policy is,” Green said.
In January 2000 a UC systemwide rule was passed to restrict UC bookstores to buying University logo apparel from companies that provide workers with a living wage and produce clothing made of organic cotton. Green said the purchase of T-shirts that encourage sweatshop labor is unacceptable.
“It is an unsustainable labor process that exploits the labor resources and environment resources of third-world countries and sends the profit back to U.S. companies,” Green said.
Green said the use of pesticides should be an especially important issue to Americans.
“In the U.S., every year 300,000 farm workers have pesticide-related sickness,” Green said. “Of those, 10,000 die.”