Praise and tears met the changing of the Associated Students Legislative Council guards Wednesday night.
Outgoing council members spoke about their experience this year, and praised each other for their efforts. Some members of the old A.S. government cried because their time was over, but before the reins of A.S. were handed to new blood, the council approved five bills left over from previous meetings. After a short reception, the 2004-05 Leg Council members and A.S. executive officers stepped into their new roles.
Of the agenda items from old business, President Miguel Lopez’s budget proposal for the 2004-05 school year received the most debate. Members proposed changes to the money allocated to the Media Relations Committee and the A.S. Women’s Commission Women’s Journal.
Rep-at-large Kristen Ditlevsen proposed a $300 increase to the funding given to the Media Relations Committee. She said the committee will be expanding next year, and it could help students know more about what A.S. does.
“Media relations can help get our name out,” Ditlevsen said.
Fernando Ramirez, A.S. Finance Board chair and proxy for Off-campus Representative Lance Tackett, spoke against Ditlevsen’s line item change.
“I feel that we had an open process in making this budget and to make changes to it now would be undermining to that process,” Ramirez said.
Rep-at-large Jesse Uman inquired about the Women’s Journal’s budget allocation and production process, saying the magazine could request funding from A.S. Finance Board next year. Yumi Saiki, A.S. Women’s Commission chair, was present at the meeting and said that while the commission does not budget for the journal, whatever money is left unallocated from its annual budget is used for producing the journal.
“To produce [this] kind of quality magazine … it costs well over $5,000,” Saiki said.
The council approved a $300 increase to the Media Relations Committee’s budget, giving it a total of $700 next year. The council also granted a $500 increase to the Women’s Journal, bringing next year’s budget for the publication to $1,500.
Instead of taking money allocated to other groups, the council used the $3,000 in the unallocated fund to pay for the increases. The fund, which totaled $50,790.45 at the beginning of this year, is the remainder of money not budgeted to A.S. entities. Traditionally, Finance Board is charged with allocating that money to student groups for events and activities. Budget cuts and the lack of an increase to the A.S. base fee contributed to the disparity, Lopez said prior to the meeting.
A bill authored by Rep-at-large and External Vice President for Statewide Affairs-elect Felicia Cruz seeking to clarify election rules regarding campaign signs was also passed by Leg Council. The bill restricts two signs per grass plot, regardless of if they are parties’ signs or a signs with the name of a candidate that is affiliated with a party.
“Signs are ugly to me,” Off-campus Rep Courtney Weaver said. “The fewer, the better.”
Other bills approved by the council included a measure to increase the amount of money students can take out in short term loans from A.S., from $100 to $200. A different bill allowed A.S. accounts that did not spend all of their funds to roll over the money to next year’s budget.
A bill updating the language of A.S. Student Lobby was also approved, as well as a bill that updates the procedure used to disburse honoraria.
Following A.S. tradition, the council approved a joke resolution, which would abolish the A.S. Program Board and replace it with the A.S. Petting Zoo.
“I’d like to remind the council that a vote against this resolution is a vote against warm fuzzy animals,” said Jared Renfro, a council member and next year’s external vice president for local affairs.
President-elect Cervin Morris raised concerns about students inappropriately touching the wildlife and whether or not they liked being petted.
“Do you like being petted?” Morris said. “Maybe we should have a student petting zoo.”
The resolution passed but will not have any effect as resolutions are only positions that the council would like to see happen and no action is required by its approval.
A brief recess was held for outgoing council members to pass on their seats to a new set of Leggies – as well as grab some food – before the meeting continued. Next year’s internal vice president, Andrea Wells, convened the new council, which approved President-elect Cervin Morris’ committee appointments as well as appointments to other A.S. entities. The incoming council then tabled a bill until next year that would change Leg Council’s meeting time.