The ASUC Senate introduced four bills Wednesday that seek to reform the student government’s bylaws and update its internal processes.
The bills seek to reform a number of areas within the ASUC, including boycott policy, elections, financial proceedings and the structure of senate meetings.
“One issue on which we all agree is that the bylaws have fallen behind in making the ASUC work for students,” said ASUC Attorney General Kevin Sabo in an email. “The senate and its (committees) are taking the lead in rectifying that so we are able to continue improving our campus community.”
In general, the bylaws supplement the ASUC Constitution by enumerating the responsibilities of all organizations and divisions within the ASUC. Any changes proposed to the bylaws must be approved with a two-thirds senate majority vote.
One of the proposed bills is SB 68, which seeks to remove Section 6 from Title I, Article 4.1 from the ASUC bylaws. The section of the law currently maintains that bills imposing boycotts by the ASUC will expire by the end of the fifth week of the following fall semester.
According to the bill, boycotts have historically been the most tangible and effective way for the ASUC to use its power. Removing this particular section ensures that boycotts will not arbitrarily end.
“It was strange that boycotts could only last 5 weeks (into the following fall semester),” said CalSERVE Senator and the bill’s co-author Caitlin Quinn in an email. “It just makes sense to remove (this section) because it means we’d have to repeatedly write bills every month if we wanted a boycott under the current bylaws.”
Another bill, SB 70, proposes a number of changes to the current election bylaws. Most significantly, the bill suggests the removal of polling stations located at residence halls, which, according to bill co-author and ASUC elections chair Jina Yoo, have experienced low turnout rates in the past.
The bill also proposes an addition of a fourth financial officer to help maintain campaign finances for all registered student political parties and removes the requirements for parties to verify their bank accounts with the commission. Co-author of the bill and Student Action Senator Quinn Shen said it was imperative to reform these bylaws before the spring elections.
SB 71, written by ASUC Finance Officer Dennis Lee, aims to change the current deadline for student groups applying for ASUC sponsorship in the spring semester from the 10th week of classes to the sixth week.
According to Lee, the changes are part of a larger discussion within the finance committee to review the bylaws and streamline the budgeting process.
The last of the four bills, SB 74, outlines a number of extensive changes to the bylaws concerning the proceedings of senate meetings.
According to Sabo, who authored the bill, the reforms include new policies that will move up the deadline for senate bills, hold roll call closer to the start of meetings and provide more flexibility in the development and structure of the agenda packet. The bill also cleans up parts of the current bylaws that are outdated, such as its references to Eshleman Hall as the ASUC Senate meeting place.
“The bylaws are poorly organized, creating a mire of contradicting, vague or entirely absent policies that do nothing to promote the effectiveness of the association,” Sabo said in an email. “We’ve begun the difficult task of organizing existing language, identifying what is detrimental to the organization and creating new policy where holes exist.”
The bills are set to be voted on during Wednesday’s senate meeting.