The Associated Students Legislative Council kicked off its first meeting of Winter Quarter yesterday by discussing an upcoming bill to reorganize one of its central committees.
The bill, authored by University-owned Housing Rep. Felix Hu, would increase the size of the A.S. Committee on Committees and would give it better direction. The bill was tabled until next week, as required by A.S. legal code. The council also discussed the possibility of restoring its quarterly honoraria and viewed a presentation from A.S. Student Advocate Neil Dipaola, who shared his first Executive Plan for the A.S. Office of the Student Advocate.
The Committee on Committees is responsible for filling positions on various other committees. A.S. Internal Vice President Adam Graff said the bill would bring about significant changes to the membership and charge of the committee, including increasing its size from four to six people and giving the group a more efficient structure.
“I’ve seen the Committee on Committees get crippled and taken out of commission year after year for the same reasons,” Graff said.
Graff said there might also be significant changes this year for the A.S. Constitution. He said he wants to hold meetings to rewrite the constitution, beginning with a constitutional convention, and would like to make the issue available for public comment and place the item in the Spring Quarter ballot.
Executive Director Don Daves-Rougeaux suggested at the meeting that the council restore the honoraria for its members this year. The A.S. Legal Code allows Executive Officers and Leg Council members to receive a maximum honorarium of $400 per quarter. However, the council has not received payment in the past few years because of fiscal problems in the organization.
“The entire time I’ve been involved with A.S., the Leg Council has not had honoraria,” Graff said.
Daves-Rougeaux said previous budgets did not accommodate honoraria, but that recently increased revenue from A.S. Business Services could allow the honoraria to resume its function.
Graff said that if the money from Business Services were used, only a small portion of the revenues would go toward paying the council members. He said the majority of the funds would go into other programs.
As for Dipaola’s tentative Executive Plan for the Office of the Student Advocate, which assists students within the university’s judicial process, Dipaola said he would ask for a Leg Council resolution in support of the plan as soon as the draft was finalized. The plan details processes for helping students confused with or having difficulty with their disciplinary hearings.
Dipaola said his office recently has had several students ask for help, and has become increasingly successful in handling cases and providing practical experience for pre-law students.