Senate delays bill talk

Following a lengthy debate at Monday night’s SGA Student Senate meeting, Senate President Michael Morton decided to postpone a vote on a senate bill that complies student government’s Student Body Statutes with Florida House Bill 353.

The senate will invite Florida Legislative Staff Director and Legislative Analyst Betty Tilton and other Florida legislators to a special meeting Saturday.  Hoping to answer all questions and clear up confusion many senators had with House Bill 353, the senate will vote on the bill Monday.

House Bill 353, which was passed in July 2002, prevents university administrators from ruling on the removal of student government officials.  The bill also limits law suits brought against universities by students officials who question the grounds on which they are removed.

Sen. Ramon Alexander, a sophomore from Tallahassee, attempted to clarify the confusion many senators had with House Bill 353. His report was met with questioning from senators uncertain as to whether the bill allows for alternatives for removing a student official. The bill states that removal of student officials must be done through petitioning.

“I understand the concern because when I first got the bill I asked the same questions,” Alexander said.

He said that his questions were answered once he met with Tilton. Tilton assured Alexander that the bill didn’t allow other options for the removal of a student government official.

Despite Alexander’s attempt to clarify the specific requirements for removing an official, several senators still had questions about the bill. While reviewing the bill during the meeting, senators called into question the specificity of the bill’s wording.

Florida Statute Title X, Chapter 9-10 was highlighted as an extraordinarily unclear passage. Senator Jo’Vion Greer, Elections & Appointments Chair, told the senate assumptions in House Bill 353 should not be accepted.

“If a law is not stated it is assumed,” Greer said.

Responding to claims that he had personally interpreted the bill, Alexander said,  “If this wasn’t law, the Florida legislature would have allowed for student governments to create their own internal procedures.”

Senator Keon Hardemon, Judicial and Rules Committee member, expressed to his colleagues the dedicated efforts that he and his committee have made to properly implement House Bill 353 into FAMU SGA statutes.

“None of this has been rushed,” Hardemon said. He also implored the senate at the meeting to review the bill before opposing it.

Later in the meeting, DeAndre Etherly, homecoming committee member, told the senate and gallery that the homecoming concert will be held Oct. 24 and will feature performances by rappers Ludacris, Chingy, Lil’ Jon and singer Glenn Lewis. The concert will be the first performance by Ludacris in the South since the release of his recent album “Chicken and Beer.” Etherly said MTV is scheduled to be at the concert.

Steven Jumper can be reached at