The 317th Senate of the College of William and Mary Student Assembly passed over 50 percent of its proposed bills during the 2009-2010 academic year.
Of the 87 bills that were introduced, 57 passed and were signed by President Sarah Rojas ’10, 18 failed or were vetoed and 12 have not yet seen final action.
The senator who sponsored the most bills during this session was Chairman Ben Brown ’11, with a total of 25 bills. Four of these bills were tabled in committee, and three will continue into the 318th senate session. None of Brown’s bills failed on the senate floor.
Among Brown’s 18 successful measures was the Necessary Airport Shuttle Funding Act, which provided students free transportation to and from airports during winter and spring breaks.
“Every experience I had when someone contacted me about a concern or idea which I was able to act on through the Student Assembly was extremely rewarding,” Brown said. “I’m glad we were able to get at least a few solid things accomplished.”
Brown will serve as the Secretary of the Executive Department of Finance for next year’s session.
Sen. Brittany Fallon ’11 was the next most active senator of the past year. Of the 13 bills she sponsored, seven passed and three await final decisions in committee.
One of Fallon’s early initiatives was the Tribal Fever Act, a bill that allocated $1,000 to the newly established Tribal Fever organization of which Fallon is the Director of Internal Affairs.
The Senate passed seven of the 11 bills sponsored by Sen. Erik Houser ’10, leaving two bills for the 318th session.
Houser said one of his most important contributions to the College was the Keep Swem Open During Finals Act. The bill sought to keep Earl Gregg Swem Library open 24 hours a day during final exams by providing $3,500 to pay for security guards and cleaning services.
“It was a necessary and sensible action by the Student Assembly to make William and Mary more competitive with our peer institutions,” Houser said.
Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 sponsored nine bills in the session, seven of which passed, and one of which is pending.
“This year, three important student rights issues were addressed by the Student Assembly,” he said. “The outright victimization of students by the Honor Council, the denial of access to Miller Hall to non-business students following 10 p.m. and addressing the enforcement of free speech restrictions [were] all issues [that] have seen progress.”
Sen. Stef Felitto ’12 sponsored seven bills last session. Four bills were passed by the Senate, and two will continue into the next session.
One of Felitto’s successful bills was the Seasonal Influenza Prevention Act, which she co-sponsored with Sen. Imad Matini ’11. The bill paid for 300 free flu shots in the fall of last year.
“I think it was important to sponsor a bill that promotes student health and safety on campus,” Felitto said.
Sen. Curt Mills ’13 sponsored three bills, two of which passed, and one that awaits final action.
Mills co-sponsored the Financial Transparency Act with Brown, a bill that created two student auditor positions to monitor the College’s use of the student activities fee.
“I think this bill had arguably the quickest payoff,” Mills said.
Senators are looking forward to next year’s senate to continue this year’s progress.
“I think the 317th session of the SA was another great step forward in its struggle to better represent students,” Brown said. “I do hope that progress continues next year.”