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Iowa State Daily

StuGov reminded on decorum and keeping elections out of chamber

Katarina Kotek
Student Government Gavel on Jan. 23

Editor’s note: The following article was edited to correct and clarify the outcome of bills and the conversations during closing comments.

Speaker of the Senate Alex Cecil, a senior in agronomy, expressed concerns about a decline in decorum and highlighted the importance of focusing on the substance of discussions, setting the stage for debates on a bill addressing attendance issues and the swearing-in of a new senator.

Cecil began the meeting with a reminder about decorum.

“We’ve lost a little bit of decorum that we typically have,” Cecil said. “We’ve been more concerned with when the meetings are ending than what’s in the meeting.”

Restating the importance of the meetings, he said that as a senator he “represented a little under 3,000 people.” 

After discussing decorum, the body moved on to a bill entitled “Senate Attendance and Update Policy.” Cecil reintroduced the bill after it was tabled two weeks in a row and said the bill was “not going to change much for anyone.” The goal of the bill was proposed to target unnecessary absences that complicated communication between the Student Government.

Sen. Trey Wellman, a junior in agriculture and rural policy, said that the bill would add to the existing responsibility of the chief of staff. After Cecil pointed out that this was already one of the responsibilities of the chief of staff, and that the bill was to enforce its completion, Wellman yielded his time.

As Wellman urged the bill to be discussed when Student Government President Jennifer Holliday, a senior in agricultural studies, would be in attendance later in the meeting, Sen. Muhammad Azhan, a graduate student in chemistry, said, “Jennifer already knows about this. It’s nothing crazy in expectation. It’s a straightforward bill and I’m in favor of presenting this bill today.”

The Senate ultimately voted to vote on the bill during the Wednesday meeting, and it passed 10-6-3.

Upon closing statements for the meeting, Azhan responded pertaining to a previously discussed bill and Wellman called out “germane” to signal his question should be disregarded as it was after the discussion window. Azhan asked Chief Election Commissioner Shane Clayton if a background check would be conducted for students running for election when Wellman again said, “germane, germane, germane, germane.”

The sequence came after Sen. Evan Martinez discussed the same bill during closing comments. Martinez began discussions and referenced a question from Azhan about student interest in Bloomberg News being used in classes to keep students updated on current events.

Azhan attempted to clarify whether there has been something such as a survey to see how many students are interested has been done before germane was called.

Other Senators sided with Azhan as he said “so other senators can ask questions but I cannot? That’s weird.” Vice President Quinn Margrett, a sophomore in business economics, decided that the question would be allowed. 

Additional measures 

Sen. Leeann Hlas, a sophomore in cyber security engineering, was sworn in as a senator representing the College of Engineering with a unanimous vote.

Sen. Erik Rolwes, a sophomore in industrial design, was appointed to the rules committee by a vote of 16-2-1.

As the other nominee was absent from the meeting, the body discussed whether his appointment should be tabled until the next week or not. Wellman supported voting during Wednesday’s meeting, despite the nominee’s absence. The decision was ultimately tabled until the next meeting by a vote of 15-2-2.

Thanking everyone for their attendance, adviser Brad Hill gave a couple of “housekeeping reminders” to Student Government to keep in mind as election season drew on.

“Election things should not come into this chamber. That should not be a part of what’s considered right now,” Hill said. 

As a representative from the sustainability committee, Sen. Josie Pursley, a junior in political science, said that bike stations were being installed Thursday morning and that there would be a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week. There is not yet a decided time for the event.

Senate tabled the funding of Malaysian Culture Night, an event from the Malaysian Student Association.

There was an issue with a line item transfer from the organization and confusion in who to communicate with, causing some delays according to Sen. Jian Janes.

Finance Director Martin Hursh said money gets withheld by Student Government if there is an error with budget misallocation and the passing would authorize the funding.

The bill was tabled in order to clarify whether the bill will fund an amount to help forgive the organization’s debt entirely or authorizing the original event venue payment to go through.

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