SA passes election reform

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April 16, 2010

6:06 AM

The 317th Senate of the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly held its final meeting Tuesday.

The SA passed the Election Reform Act by unanimous consent.

The Act states that members of the Elections Commission must be nominated by the SA president and approved by the Senate at least 14 days before an election.

“It really is important that these people are appointed more than 14 days before elections,” Sen. Betty Jeanne Manning ’12 said. “They have to have time to publicize and learn how to use voting software.”

The bill also confirms the SA president’s right to remove a member of the Commission, provided that the dismissal takes place at least 10 days before an election.

“The president has removed members, I believe, twice before, but they didn’t have the express power to do so,” co-sponsor Sen. Ross Gillingham ’10 said. “This amendment allows the president to remove a commissioner before campaigning starts.”

The SA also passed the Publications Council Contract Approval Act in a 13-2 vote.

The SA Executive negotiates a new contract every two to three years with the Publications Council, which funds many student publications at the College.

Together, the two groups determine the total amount of funding that funded campus publications receive, which is then distributed by the Council.

“[The SA and the Publications Council] reached a middle ground that we both can be pretty happy with,” SA Vice President Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 said. “I’m certainly very pleased with the way it worked out.”

According to the new contract, the SA will provide a base budget of $148,472 to the Council for the 2010-2011 academic year.

The funds will increase by one percent each subsequent year in expectation of inflation.

Significant changes to this year’s contract include reducing the cap of the Publications Council consolidated reserve, from $100,000 to $75,000, and allowing contract negotiations if deemed necessary before the end of the three-year period.

In the past, there had been no incentive for campus publications to generate their own revenue.

Any additional revenue brought in from fundraising efforts would be deducted from the budget they received the following year. Publications could receive up to 50 percent of the additional revenue in addition to their base appropriation for the year.

The bill limits this additional revenue to $3,000, and it must be used to fund only new programs.

The Blue Book Extension Act was also passed by unanimous consent.

Since the purchase of exam booklets for the 2009-2010 academic year has exceeded the $4,700 originally allocated, this bill sets aside $5,000 for the purchase of the books for students for the remainder of the spring 2010 semester and for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Sen. Stef Felitto ’12 said the Finance Committee is in the process of looking for more sustainable options to replace the blue books.

“Although we’re moving toward sustainability, we wanted to add funds this year because, otherwise, students would be paying for the blue books themselves,” Felitto said.

The newly elected 318th Student Assembly Senate will hold its first meeting next week.

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