Senate Bill Raises Questions

A bill passed unanimously by the SGA Student Senate in Monday’s meeting gives power to a committee within the group to say who can and cannot be appointed to a position within the association.

It came shortly before SGA president Larry O. Rivers was impeached for making an appointment to his cabinet without going through the procedures of the senate.

The bill contradicts two sections of the student body constitution and other documents that were enacted in 1999.

Section 5, Letter A of Article IV of the student body Constitution says the SGA president shall appoint administrative, cabinet and executive officers with the concurrence of a two-thirds vote of the Student Senate. Section 6 Letter E of Article III says the senate shall confirm all presidential appointments and appointments recommended by the E& A Committee with two-thirds vote.

Rivers called the bill unconstitutional.

“The law states that the E&A Committee can not block anyone from coming before the Senate,” said Rivers, 22, a senior public relations student from Tallahassee “This defiantly contradicts the rules we abide by.”

The bill, SB03F-002, was sponsored by the Elections & Appointments committee. It aims to create a systematic approach to appointing candidates for executive and legislative positions.

“I felt that we needed to amend the wrongs of the procedures for appointing candidates,” said Sen. Tara Crawford, who wrote the bill with Sen. Chelsea Hall. ” There needs to be more of a process. …E&A needs to gain more power and authority and serve their purpose.”

The purpose of the E&A committee is to debate, amend, revise, pass and/or reject measures pertaining to the Election Code section on the Statutes in conjunction with the electoral commissioner. They also serve to recommend favorable candidates of presidential and Senate appointments.

“There needs to be some accountability on the Senate’s part,” said Hall, 20, a junior international agricultural and business student from Miami. “This bill was created to better improve how candidates fulfill the positions on SGA.”

The Bill will be added to section 900.1 of TITLE IX in the student body constitution. Part F of the bill states that persons that receive an unfavorable score from the Elections & Appointments committee are prohibited from coming before the Senate to continue the confirmation process.

Rivers said he “completely disapproves” of the bill and believes that it is unconstitutional.

“The bill is null & void,” Rivers said.

A case law written in 1999 by FAMU’s Student Supreme Court concerning procedures of presidential appointments says Article III, Section 6, Letter E cannot be changed. It also stated that although the E&A Committee would like to serve as a requirement for Student Senate confirmations, this practice can’t be allowed.

Sen. Ramon Alexander, chair of the Judicial & Rules committee, said after the bill was voted on he stressed to the Senate at Monday’s meeting that Sen. Crawford should write a constitutional amendment.

“A constitutional amendment is a written proposal for a rule to be changed or eliminated from the constitution.” Alexander said.

Realizing the bill wouldn’t hold its weight in a court of law, he said the problems will be fixed.

“We will make sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s,” he said.

Crawford said she thought she did a good job on the bill and does not see a problem.

“I am unfamiliar with the case law,” she said. “But if there is a problem, Senator Hall and myself do plan to make changes.”