Last night, Associated Students Legislative Council lifted a four-year moratorium against placing new A.S. lock-in fee initiatives on the campus-wide election ballot without a student-backed petition.

The council voted to remove Article XXV of the A.S. Legal Code, which prohibited Leg Council from placing new lock-in fees for internal A.S. groups on the ballot without a signed petition. The council also passed a resolution praising UCSB Disabled Students Program (DSP) Acting Director Gary White, a resolution supporting locally grown organic food in the dining commons and a resolution supporting the new A.S. Student Advocate’s Office.

The council also discussed potential changes to the A.S. Constitution.

Enacted in 2002, the Article XXV moratorium prohibited council members from directly placing new lock-in fees for internal A.S. groups on the spring elections ballot without a petition signed by a certain number of undergraduate students equaling 50 percent of the total number of voters in the previous year’s A.S. presidential election. Last year, 4,744 voted, meaning about 2,372 students would have to sign a petition.

The moratorium only applied to new fees; the council still retained the power to put fee increases on the ballot during the moratorium for A.S. groups already in existence.

Although Leg Council members did not cite it as a reason, the A.S. Bike Shop will now have a chance to place a $6-per-undergraduate-per-quarter lock-in fee initiative on the spring ballot, if the council approves it. The bike shop failed to obtain enough signatures by the Feb. 7 deadline set by the Campus Elections Committee.

Last year, Leg Council approved the placement of A.S. Student Lobby’s $0.69-per-undergraduate-per-quarter lock-in initiative on the spring ballot without the group obtaining a petition. The lock-in fee did not pass.

Executive Director Don Daves-Rougeaux said he supported the motion to remove the moratorium.

“In some respects, it’s discriminatory against those boards and committees without lock-ins,” Daves-Rougeaux said. “I recommend that you strike the moratorium and provide equal access to all boards and committees.”

The motion to lift the moratorium passed with 16 votes in favor and three abstentions.

The council also passed three resolutions with unanimous consent from its members.

One resolution, authored by Student Action Coalition On-Campus Rep Sam Marks, commended UCSB DSP Acting Director Gary White for his participation in the A.S. Commission on Disability Access (CODA) group.

“We have asked previous DSP directors to come to CODA and nobody every did,” Marks said. “Gary has come every week and not only listened to us, but also suggested things that CODA could do.”

Another resolution, authored by Off-Campus Rep Gina Fischer, urged the University to support local and organic food throughout the state and at UCSB Dining Services.

The council also passed a resolution supporting the new Office of the Student Advocate – an A.S. organization charged with representing students in conflicts with the University. University-Owned Housing Rep Felix Hu said the office is essential in assisting students confronted by the University’s judicial council.

“The Office of the Student Advocate is incredibly important for students who have conflicts with the University, since the A.S. Legal Resource Center cannot provide advice,” Hu said.

The A.S. Legal Resource Center can only provide advice for non-university legal matters.

Lastly, the council discussed upcoming changes to the A.S. Constitution. Hu presented a draft copy of a new constitution for the council to review. He said he would like input from the council before proceeding to the constitutional convention scheduled for March 7 at 6 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.

Hu said the council must approve the constitution by the first week of Spring Quarter in order to place it onto the spring ballot.