SGA: 49th Senate Session Begins

With well-wishes for the next year and an official transition of power, the 48th Student Senate Session has ended — a historic one for the Student Government Association — and the 49th has begun under Internal Vice-President Jill Berger.

The 49th Senate — with only eleven senators returning from the 48th Session — met to have an introductory meeting before the last meeting of the 48th Senate yesterday. With presentations from Berger and 48th Senate Rules and Administration chairwoman Erika Allen — as well as an interjection by 2012-13 President Alex Alston — the 49th Senate was warned of stricter policies and higher expectations than their predecessors.

Internal Vice-President Berger described her new “Step Up or Step Out” policy for Senators, which alludes to the five impeachments and nearly 50 percent resignation rate of the 48th Senate. The unofficial policy, she said, will hold senators accountable to their constituents, moreso than in years past.

“So,” she explained, “I’m going to be really tough about this. If you’re not doing your job, someone else is going to do it. I’m not trying to be mean, I just really want to set this tone for how the year’s going to be.”

Berger elaborated on an issue she leaned on in her campaign, mobile offices, and said that this would replace the current office hour requirements that each senator must keep. Previously, senators were required to work two hours a week on Senate business in committee or independently in the SGA offices in the SUB. Under Berger’s mobile office policy, senators would have office hours in various places across campus, namely in their academic colleges.

Other initiatives Berger mentioned also aimed at increasing Senate visibility on campus, including posting legislation online sooner, focusing on increasing interaction with student organizations, and a large SGA event to be organized for the beginning of the year to invite students to. She mentioned other, smaller measures as well, such as all senators wearing their issued Senate shirts on days the Senate will be in session in order to drum up curiosity.

After Berger’s presentation, 2012-13 Rules and Administration chairwoman Erika Allen addressed the group of senators-elect as well. Her presentation was centered around tips on writing legislation, the legislative process, and what senators can expect in the Senate chamber when they start on April 25. Allen, a four-year veteran of SGA, has authored, co-authored, sponsored, and been involved in research for numerous pieces of legislation in the past two sessions.

“You guys are the face of SGA,” she said in her presentation, gesturing towards the seated senators in front of her. “You are the most visible part of SGA, and as long as you’re doing your job, there’s nothing that can hold you guys back.”

With the small “orientation” concluded, 48th Session Internal Vice-President Noelle Trotter returned to the podium for the last time. With a motion from Senator Allen and a second by Senator Robert Leatherwood, the 48th Session performed the official transition of power to the 49th session. In a quick shuffle of seats, the new 2013-14 Senators assumed their position in the center of the room.

2012-13 Senate Body President Alex Alston swore in Internal Vice-President Berger in front of the assembled senators, who then swore in the new legislative body — all of them pledging to, to the best of their ability, “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Student Government Association of Texas Tech University.”

The first meeting of the 49th Session is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in room 353 of the College of Media and Communication. The meeting will be broadcast live over KTXT “The Raider” 88.1-FM.

About Anthony Hall
%d bloggers like this: