Students encouraged to lobby for FAMU

Florida Representative Dwight Bullard, D-Miami made a special visit to the 38th Student Senate’s first session, Monday.

“As an elective official, I want to make sure FAMU has a visible presence at state capital,” Bullard said.

He encouraged Florida A&M University students and members of the student government association to lobby the state legislature.

Bullard said an opportunity to voice concerns to those who make bills, help the university to have the same financial support as Florida State University and the University of Florida.

The newly elected legislator from Miami, said FAMU would not receive adequate representation with only three alumni in the state Legislature “fighting” for the university.

The other two FAMU graduates are Reps. Mia L. Jones, District 4 of Jacksonville and Alan Williams, District 8 of Tallahassee.

“I am making an individual plea for students to come to the capital,” Bullard said. “There are issues confronting the state that need a different face.”

Bullard also said one of the issues confronting the state that will affect FAMU students directly is the debate over changing the criteria for Florida Bright Futures scholarships and grants, which will make Bright Futures less of a need-based for students.

Bright Futures is a Florida lottery funded program that financially rewards students for academic achievements done in high school.

Bullard said FAMU’s close location to the capital is an advantage over other “money-making” schools like University of Florida that are not as close. “The top two money givers are University of Florida and Florida State University,” Bullard said. Bullard encouraged students to attend the open legislative board meetings and voice their concerns.

As the meeting continued, the moving date of the Declaration of Candidacy for the spring stirred debate among the senators. The voting dates have been moved from Feb. 2-6 to Feb. 9-13.

“The electoral commission has spent no money relating to the election,” said Mario Henderson, attorney general. “Spending money is not an issue.”

Henderson also mentioned if the election date was changed tonight it would only impact thisw election and not future elections.

Electoral commissioner, Corean Shelton said the date change was due to a new law passed in early December which had to be enforced by the electoral commission.

The electoral commission representative also stressed the need for additional funds as well as complications concerning adjustments for the presidential debate.

The representative is unsure where to house the debate, Lee Hall, Gaither Gym or any other facility must be available at reasonable cost with space for guests. “The senate always operated very professionally,” Bullard remarked on the meeting, who was the Director of Student Lobby in his 1998-1999 school year at FAMU. “They are run by Robert’s rules of order, making the meetings run smoothly without much chaos.”

At the session’s close, Bullard said he noticed improvements within the senate meeting that could be made- specifically, a change in community forum.

“The senate should allow the students to ask more questions,” Bullard said. “Students should voice their opinions more than they are allowed.”