The Associated Students 2004-05 Legislative Council members cried and congratulated one another Wednesday night for what they called a successful year before handing their positions over to the 2005-06 Leg Council.
Leggies rapidly moved through and approved the nine bills and one resolution on their agenda to leave ample time for remarks about the year. After completing their final duties as elected representatives, council members watched as their replacements were sworn in by next year’s internal vice president, Adam Graff. The 2005-06 council tabled two bills, but unanimously consented to a position paper supporting the Santa Barbara County oak tree protection ordinance, which is currently up for review by the county supervisors.
Most of the bills on the 2004-05 council’s agenda added responsibilities to current A.S. positions, created new A.S. positions or altered or added to the duties of certain boards and committees. Council members, however, spent the majority of their deliberations discussing a bill to better track A.S. entities’ spending of student money.
Graff, author of the bill, said it would require A.S. organizations that receive money through the A.S. budget process to submit their meeting minutes to Leg Council. Failure to do so would automatically freeze that entity’s financial accounts. Keeping track of how boards and committees are using students’ money is in the best interest of the organization and of the campus, Graff said.
Current Internal VP Andrea Wells said the bill is necessary because the administrative staff often ignores A.S. executive officers’ requests to freeze the accounts of boards or committees who do not submit minutes.
Leggies commemorated the “hard work and service” of A.S. accountant Mary K. Hunt by passing a bill that named the A.S. copy machine after her. On-Campus Rep Raymond Meza wrote in his bill that Hunt is retiring after 16 years of working as a clerk, payroll administrator, manager of the A.S. cashier ticket office and most recently as an accountant in the A.S. administration,.
“She’s been very forthcoming about everything [financially], as you all know,” Meza said, referring to Hunt’s recent discovery of a $32,000 oversight in next year’s A.S. budget. “She’s one of those advisers I go to [for help]. … I’m pretty sure she’s like that to just about anyone.”
Council members laughed while reading Meza’s bill, but thought it would be a fun way to remember their mentor. Meza said he chose to name the copy machine in her honor because A.S. members must fill out a form for each use of the machine, currently called EDNA. Members will now have to ask for Hunt’s help in printing any document, he said.
As part of a leg council tradition, members passed a mock resolution to hold a “hostile take over of the Daily Nexus,” alleging it was not transparent with its use of money from its undergraduate students’ lock-in fee. The bill also claimed the Nexus printed offensive material and had cannibalistic editors.
“The Nexus admits to eating babies,” said Jesse Howie Baker, a proxy for On-Campus Rep Justin Pabian.
Because resolutions are only in affect during the year of the council who passed them, the mock position paper became invalid as soon as the new council was sworn in, which was about an hour later.
Before being sworn in by President Cervin Morris, President-elect Chaz Whatley handed flowers and gifts to current executive officers, complimenting them on the work they had accomplished during the year. Several council members joined Whatley in her praise by telling Wells, Morris, External VP of Statewide Affairs Felicia Cruz and External VP of Local Affairs Jared Renfro how inspiring they had been.
Morris said his term had been filled with many challenges, but he was stronger for it. He said various insults about his presidency from people inside and outside of A.S. only strengthened his resolve to perform beyond what was expected of his duties. Morris said he is unsure if he will remain working in A.S.
“It’s made me happy, it’s made me sad [being in A.S.],” Morris said. “Thanks for the year – the good, the bad, the ugly – the beautiful year. Thanks to all the people who [supported] me and thanks to all the haters… if it weren’t for the haters I wouldn’t be doing my job as well. So keep hating.”
Meza said he looked forward to another year on the council. Meza, a 2005-06 rep-at-large, said – like Morris – that committing to A.S. was a great service to students.
“It was a hard decision for me to run again, but I’m glad I did,” Meza said. “[There’s] nothing better than fighting for students. We have [had] so many victories… We [also] have a lot of issues still. [The lack of cultural] diversity is horrible here… We have the power, we can work on these things right now.”
The 2004-05 council adjourned their meeting for the last time, allowing their successors to open their first meeting. After about 10 minutes of photographs and hugs, the new council moved through the motions, tabling a bill to establish the A.S. Composting Board, or as it is more popularly known, the Dept. of Public Worms.
The board will oversee recent compost projects on campus and in Isla Vista that use red worms in dirt-filled bins to create a marketable product out of old food, said Aaron Gilliam, A.S. Environmental Affairs Board co-chair.
“A lot of [thrown-away food] can be turned into really valuable fertilizer and we can sell it,” Gilliam said.
Council members also tabled a bill to update the responsibilities of A.S. Student Lobby. Members will vote on the two bills at the last Leg Council meeting of the year next Wednesday.