The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico passed the previously tabled Bill 19F during the Nov. 8 full Senate meeting.
Bill 19F will place restrictions on senators when submitting appropriations and was originally tabled at the end of the Oct. 25 full Senate meeting. After the initial tabling and further discussion at the most recent meeting, the bill passed with a final vote of 12-2-4-2 (yes-no-abstain-absent).
The bill itself will prohibit senators from having their names listed on appropriations for non-ASUNM organizations that are submitted to the student government.
Appropriations – sometimes called budget bills – are formal requests for funding that student organizations may submit to ASUNM, which the Senate later votes on. Many organizations that submit such requests seek funding for things such as events and supplies.
“ASUNM officers are prohibited from being the submitter, having their name listed on, or presenting appropriation bills for student organizations that are not ASUNM government organizations,” reads Bill 19F.
Senator Bailey Rutherford voiced concern on the bill during the meeting. Sen. Rutherford was not an author on Bill 19F, but spoke about the lack of revisions made after the initial tabling.
“Nothing was added to this bill after it was tabled … There were people that came forward who voiced their opinions and sat down and did have a discussion. At the end of the day, we were discouraged from adding anything to this bill,” Sen. Rutherford said.
The Bill was originally written as a means of preventing a conflict of interest from arising as senators vote on whether to grant funding requested through submitted appropriations, Senator Sydney Moore – one of the authors of the Bill – said.
Further clarifications were made during the Senate’s Nov. 8 meeting.
“This does not change how you are affiliated with a student activity center, or any of that chartering ... Only when you are submitting appropriations,” Ria Schultz, said – one of the Senator authors of Bill 19F.
Senator Julian Angel said one of their main concerns surrounding the discussion of Bill 19F was that it may discourage involvement for both senators and the student organizations that do submit appropriations.
“I’m scared that it will limit their involvement; I’m scared that this will foster an environment that isn’t as inclusive as we claim to be,” Angel said.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Senators in support of the bill – including Senator Hope Montoya – said throughout the meeting that while a senator’s name cannot be listed on a submitted appropriation, it does not restrict them from helping a student organization through the submission process.
“It’s not saying we as senators, who are involved in organizations, can’t assist and help fill out those appropriations. It’s just that our names cannot be on there and we cannot present to help prevent that bias,” Montoya said.
Following Bill 19F’s passing, President Krystah Pacheco can choose to veto or sign it into law. Pacheco is also listed as an author of the bill.
ASUNM’s full Senate will meet for a final time this semester on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Full Senate meetings are open to public comment.
Jaymes Boe is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com