ASCSU Senate has passed seven bills this semester. However, none of these directly impact students.
“None of these seven affect the student body in a positive way,” said Lexi Evans, ASCSU senator.
The seven bills passed by Senate have involved funding for student organizations, a Senate retention officer and job descriptions.
“We haven’t had any legislation thus far that attacks a certain issue facing all students,” said Andrew Olson, vice president of ASCSU. “Right now, how we’ve been helping students is mostly through student organizations on this campus.”
Olson believes providing student organizations with funding will help them better market organizations and raise attendance at events and through these events, students are being helped.
Not everyone in Senate thinks this is the best way to help all students. Some members of Senate believe that there hasn’t been much done this semester in terms of bills being passed to affect students in a positive way.
“We really haven’t had any real important bills. We’ve had some trump bills for funding and we’ve passed one other bill this year and we’re half way through the semester,” said Kwon Yearby, ASCSU senator.
Some members of Senate disagree.
“A good amount of (bills) have been for pretty big things,” Olson said. “We’ve had a decent amount of legislation.”
Senate is divided. Some members of Senate feel the amount of legislation passed isn’t enough and some feel the amount of legislation passed is on par to meet expectations of previous years.
The confusion stems from the lack of attendance in committees.
“I think part of the reason is Senators aren’t going to committees, historically committees are the place where bills and ideas are actually thought out and actually drafted,” Yearby said. “The senators we have aren’t going to committees, they’re not thinking of new ideas that can make changes — new legislation they can put out.”
Another source of division is the atmosphere surrounding Senate meetings.
“Personally, maybe there aren’t bills being brought forward because maybe there’s just such a negative overtone, in general,” Evans said. “Maybe, people are too nervous to speak out and do what they want to do.”
The nerves of new Senators are especially affected because of their lack of experience. Senate is having problems with retention, in the sense that not every Senate position is filled.
“We’re having massive retention issues, where senate is not as full as it needs to be or as full as its ever been in the past,” Evans said.
With new Senators coming in, it’s been difficult to indicate exactly what their job entails.
“I don’t think anyone realizes it’s in their job description that they need to write one bill a semester,” Evans said.
Steps are being taken to acquire more senators.
According to Yearby, he’s proposing a bill to add up to 14 new members from different diversity groups on campus. He hopes this will increase the minority population within Senate.
Due to the low number of Senators and a lack of bills being passed, Senate is behind where they should be at this point in the semester.
“I’d say we’re probably two pieces of legislation behind what normally happens,” Olson said. “I will say that legislation this year has had a lot more behind it than in previous years. There’s a lot more work behind it.”
Still, many don’t believe that the seven bills passed are benefiting students directly.
“Those (bills) are all internal things that don’t affect students,” Evans said. “If you could tier bills, I wouldn’t consider those top tier bills.”
Senior Reporter Lawrence Lam can be reached at email@example.com.