ASCSU tables bill to re-write constitution

Erin Douglas

An Associated Students of Colorado State University internal senate committee met Tuesday and indefinitely tabled Bill #4501 Constitutional Amendment: The Final Clarification.

This bill would have re-written the organization’s constitution and given the senate more power than they currently have, according to ASCSU President Jason Sydoriak.

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The bill was written incorrectly, which invalidated it in committee.

“There were a few words that gave a lot of power to senate that were unintentional—for example, it said ‘the senate will have the sole power’ instead of just ‘the power,'” said Speaker Pro Tempore P.J. Seel, who helped write the bill. “Small differences can mean a lot in governing documents.”

Seel said the accidental wording of the bill could have been misinterpreted.

A bill must explicitly compare the current ASCSU Constitution with each proposed change in the wording of the bill. Bill #4501 referred to an attached document, which was a re-written ASCSU constitution. Members of the 44th Senate Internal Committee wrote the bill last semester.

Bill #4501 was not on the agenda for senate session Wednesday, and no members supporting the bill were present at the internal senate committee Tuesday. President of ASCSU Jason Sydoriak stated that the attachment of the re-written constitution to the bill was not appropriate.

“Looking at the attachment itself, you cannot determine the changes,” Sydoriak said. “It took me a whole week to determine what the changes actually were. That’s not fair to the laymen and it’s not fair to new senators that don’t necessarily know the constitution in and out.”

The bill also violated Robert’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, which states that senators must be given prior notice of constitutional amendments.

“Since it was introduced as a constitutional amendment in the first session of this 45th senate, there was no way that new senators could have prior notice of these amendments,” Sydoriak said.

Members of the committee went on to discuss an alternative way to address concerns about the ASCSU constitution in the future.

“Rather than just having three or four people in back rooms creating a new constitution, we should have all branches involved in the conversation,” Sydoriak said. “I am curious to know if constitutional clarifications that happened last year could be in violation of the constitution as well.”

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According to Nick Dannemiller, chief justice of the Supreme Court, the current version of the ASCSU constitution that most members have access to is not up to date.

“I feel like our constitution has been a moving target,” said Dannemiller. “I would ask that we wait a week or two and the supreme court will go back and update the constitution through the 44th senate legislation in the last two months.”

Danemiller cited that the bill, which set up the senate budget committee last semester, is not included in the current version of the ASCSU constitution.

According to Seel, the goal of Bill #4501 was to make it into a document that was more easily understood and accessible to members of ASCSU.

“Because of the manner in which the current constitution has been written with amendments plastered on to it over 100 years, it needs to be updated,” said Seel. “It’s a symbol of pride that we’ve been able to create this document over so many generations of students, but it’s time to look at making it more modern.”

The current ASCSU constitution does not explicitly state a process for creating a constitutional convention, according to Sydoriak. ASCSU may introduce a resolution in order to create a constitutional convention involving all three branches of government in the future.

Seel is currently working on an improved version of Bill #4501.

Collegian Reporter Erin Douglas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @ErinMDouglas23.