Throughout the night, over $2,000 was appropriated, seven pieces of legislation were approved and final term senators gave goodbyes to their fellow committee members in the final Associated Students of the University of New Mexico committee meeting of the fall semester.
Of the senators not returning in the spring, Wednesday night was Finance Chair Gregory Romero’s final. Romero notably co-authored the recent advocacy scholarship with Senator Ryan Regalado and Bill 6F, the original failed bill that would have raised student fees by $5.
"I'm probably going to be involved with a lot of other (ASUNM activities), so it won’t even be too much of a break," Romero said. "But I can do whatever I want now on a Wednesday night, and I’m excited for that."
In October, Romero was one of the first in ASUNM to describe their financial situation as a "financial crisis." The recent advocacy scholarship Romero co-authored passed with only one dissenting vote, costing ASUNM $4,000 a year.
"We thought the benefit outweighed the risk with it," Romero said when questioned on the feasibility of the scholarship. "We’re hoping to still get that student (government) fee increase."
The student government fee increase will be on the table for Senate next spring, with student leadership aware of the enrollment decline UNM is predicting for next year. ASUNM President Adam Biederwolf created an ad hoc committee of senators to evaluate a fee increase, which met for the first time last night.
On Thursday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m., the Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) will present their recommendation to raise student fees next year by 7.77% to the Budget Leadership Team (BLT). From here, the BLT will make changes and present the recommendations to the Board of Regents at the Budget Summit in May.
Vice Chair of Steering and Rules Ryan Regalado was the only senator re-elected for another term of those eligible. During closing comments, Regalado said he didn't expect Senate to go the way it did during the fall term, but he was "really glad with how it’s turned out, and really glad to see how next year goes."
Of the nine pieces of legislation in Steering and Rules, seven were approved and will now move on to the full Senate.
Bill 21F aimed to increase senatorial accountability, Bill 22F added new definitions to the ASUNM Lawbook and Bill 23F detailed changes to the elections code.
Commendation 4F acknowledged the former manager of Satellite Coffee in the Student Union Building (SUB) Richard Perce, and Commendation 5F recognized Netflix’s impact on the Albuquerque community.
Resolution 2F proposed a UNM hot air balloon for the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Resolution 3F formally supported the Opportunity Scholarship proposed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year, as well as any efforts to make higher education more accessible.
The Finance Committee appropriated $2,039 in funds to only two student groups in their final meeting of 2019. The two appropriations will be voted on at next Wednesday’s full Senate.
Women in Computing was appropriated $450 for pizza, drinks and business cards. UNM Wilderness Alliance was appropriated $1,589 for a range of items including sleeping bags, travel costs, food and educational materials centered around the Mexican gray wolf.
Alyssa Martinez is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amart4447
Alex Hiett is a beat news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Nmal1123