Initiative to clarify ASUC president executive powers may appear on 2013 ballot

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The ASUC attorney general approved language for an initiative that would appear on the 2013 election ballot clarifying the ASUC president’s ability to issue an executive order.

The ballot initiative — proposed by Philippe Marchand, former assembly affairs vice president of the Graduate Assembly — comes in the wake of ASUC President Vishalli Loomba’s executive order last week that invalidated the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative, a referendum that asked students for a $2 semesterly fee to support The Daily Californian. Marchand’s initiative would amend the ASUC Constitution to state that the president can issue an executive order for actions that “would normally be taken by the Senate.”

Marchand said the constitution’s language is vague and allows for more leeway on what actions that president can take, such as disqualifying a candidate running for office.

“The whole point of this executive order was for the president to act instead of the senate when the senate doesn’t have time to meet,” Marchand said. “The goal (of this initiative) was to state it explicitly.”

Marchand said in an email he hopes to get the petition submitted — along with the 1,000 mandatory signatures — by the April 25 ASUC Senate meeting.

The constitution currently states that the executive order is directed for actions that are “urgent and necessary to maintain the functioning of the ASUC” until the senate can meet again. Executive orders can be overturned by a senate vote. After Loomba issued the order last Wednesday, the senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of upholding it.

On Saturday, the ASUC Judicial Council accepted the charges filed against Loomba by Lynn Yu, campaign manager for the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative. A hearing date has yet to be announced.

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.