In the absence of the bill’s creator, Vice President Joe Eden, and with no discussion on the floor, the Associated Students of CSU passed proposed student fee reforms on Wednesday with a vote of 20-0-4 to streamline the process by which fees are changed.
Bill 4202, which required two separate votes of a two-thirds majority, changed the way the Student Fee Review Board communicates with senate throughout the academic school year on fee proposals and will also affect the power that senate has to veto the bill at the end of the year.
Previously, the SFRB spent the entire academic year meeting with heads of various fee-funded areas on their monetary needs for the next fiscal year. After meeting with each of the areas, the SFRB then compiled the “Long Bill,” which included all the fees, whether they have been increased, decreased or stayed the same and presented it to the senate. The senate could then amend, approve or deny the bill.
According to Eden, this process was extremely flawed because it didn’t allow any communication between senate and SFRB until the last two senate sessions in the school year, which put a major time constraint on a very important subject.
“As a third year senator, I can remember all of the fee packages and the stress that came with just trying to ratify it in senate,” said Sen. Cameron Doelling, head of the Internal Affairs committee, one of the three committees the bill was sent to after being introduced to the floor. “The bill will still give power to senate, but at the same time make the whole process smoother.”
The changes will allow SFRB, which will now be called the Board for Student Organization Funding, to be comprised of 50 percent senators and 50 percent students-at-large. This new board will report to senate weekly after meeting with fee-funded areas around campus. Senate will then give the board recommendations, the implementation of which will not be mandated.
At the end of the year, senate will hold a vote of confidence on the Long Bill. In other words, the senate will only vote that the procedures and bylaws, which will have been agreed upon at the beginning of the year, were followed.
Last week, after the bill had spent a week in all three committees of the senate (Internal Affairs, External Affairs and University Affairs) a change was added to the bill, which brought more power back to the senate.
“This bill is like building a rocket: each small part can be fine, just like a fee can be approved by itself, but each section put together can build something totally different at the end,” said Sen. Halden Schnal, one of the authors of the proposed change to the bill. “That’s the case with the Long Bill.”
This change, however, was immediately pegged by other senators as a power grab and was voted down. This week, after the bill was once again sent back to the committees, no such reaction to a loss of power in the Senate was found.
The changes were passed with no questions or discussion and debate.
Eden could not be reached by time of print.
ASCSU Beat Reporter Carrie Mobley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.