Year in Review: 15% of Student Congress bills directly impact students
About 15 percent of Undergraduate Student Congress’ spring 2012 legislation directly impacted students while the remainder focused on approving appointments and making changes to the UOSA Code Annotated or Student Congress’ Bylaws or Rules of Order.
A breakdown of Student Congress’s spring 2012 votes and legislation:
Number of bills seen: 52
Number of bills passed: 49
Number of bills failed: 3
Student Congress can pass bills by consent or a roll call vote. Here is a breakdown of how it voted this semester:
Percent of bills passed by consent: 52 percent
percent of bills passed by roll call: 48 percent
Types of bills passed by Student Congress:
Percent of bills that appointed people to positions: 35 percent
percent of bills that changed UOSA’s Code Annotated, Congress’ Bylaws or Rules of Order or established election dates or polling locations: 42 percent
Percent of bills that provided funding to student organizations or UOSA departments or branches: 15 percent
Percent of bills that were resolutions: 8 percent
Source: Congress Agendas
The direct student impact came in the form of primary funding for UOSA and student organizations and emergency funding for student organizations that either ran out of money quickly or needed extra for an event. Student Congress distributed a total of $669,930.15 in the spring semester.
What is consent or a roll call vote?
Consent is when a member of Student Congress motions to pass a bill by consent. If a representative seconds the motion, and there are no objections, then the bill is passed by consent, which implies that the body unanimously approves the bill.
A roll call vote is done when certain bills require it, such as student organization emergency funding or when a motion for consent fails. Once a roll call vote is called, the Student Congress secretary calls each representative by his or her last name, and the representatives must give a yes, no or an abstain vote.
Of those funds, $498,690.15, almost 75 percent, was distributed to UOSA’s primary organizations, such as Student Congress or the Housing Center Student Association. The remaining $171,240 was distributed to student organizations.
Student Congress chairwoman Alyssa Loveless said looking only at the legislation doesn’t tell the whole story regarding Congress’ impact. Representatives are required to spend an hour each week on constituency service, which includes tabling or talking with students in the representatives district, Loveless said.
“Going out and talking with students is how we find out what they see is wrong with the campus and what they want to see improved,” Loveless said.
The legislation also doesn’t mention Student Congress’ Green Week campaign, Loveless said. Each spring semester Congress organizes a week of events to inform students about the impact of recycling, she said.
Although only 15 percent of legislation directly impacted students by putting money in their organizations’ coffers, other legislation passed by Student Congress may have had a residual impact on students. Executive branch appointees and changes to UOSA’s Code Annotated can impact students by creating new departments and putting students in positions to create and hold events that others can attend.
Undergraduate Student Congress’ first meeting for next semester will be 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in Adams Hall, Room 150.