Bill #46: The Reprioritization of Travel Act did not pass at last Wednesday’s ASUCM Meeting.
On February 22, 2012 there was over a 20-minute discussion on Bill #46 before it failed with a 6-5 vote and no abstenstions. It required a 2/3 vote from Senate.
The Reprioritization of Travel Act was introduced by Senators Garrett Patton and Brendan Smith and written by President Miguel Lopez and ASUCM Treasurer Keith Ellis.
One of the reasons this bill was written was to set-up a system of rules, so clubs and organizations would not be able use the money they received from Inter-Club Council (ICC) or ASUCM to participate in unethical activities on their trips.
This bill takes the power away from ICC because as stated in the bill “There have been several instances of ethical abuse and misuse of travel allocations – a majority of which came from the Inter-Club Council.”
This legislation states that ASUCM will only fund travel for international, national, state, and regional conferences, conventions and competitions. If the event an RCO wants to travel to is not one of these then they can submit a special case fund for travel, but the Budget &Finance committee, Academic Affairs committee and Senate as a whole must approve the special case fund.
On Tuesday February 21, 2012 Senators Patton and Smith attended the ICC meeting to explain Bill #46, since it takes away the power for ICC to fund travel for the RCOs. This resulted in a couple members of the Registered Campus Organizations (RCOs) coming to the Senate meeting on Wednesday night asking questions and voicing their disapproval of this bill.
Among those present at the Senate meeting was Daniel Croswhite, ICC Chair. He stated there were a few RCOs who had contacted him and they all had negative views on Bill #46.
“RCOs are coming to me and saying we want the right to have these travel events and we want the rights to determine if these travel events are valid or not”, said Croswhite.
Some Senators had commented saying students travel away from the campus too much and with this bill restricting travel RCOs can bring there events to UC Merced’s campus.
“It’s not that students don’t like Merced, it’s that they’re going off to different places to promote Merced”, said Blaine Hartsock, a student in the public at the Senate meeting, who didn’t support some ideas presented in Bill #46.
There was not only concern from the public, but also from other Senators.
Senator Adrian Mohammed wanted to table this bill for a week because the public did not have access to the legislation in question, due to the vacant ASUCM Director of Communications position.
“I don’t think we should table the bill for another week, I think we should get this bill done tonight,” said Senator Jennifer Borobia.
Senators were also confused on what the real purpose of this bill was and if it had achieved its goal of cutting down the possible unethical use of travel funds.
“This (Bill #46) doesn’t deal with ethical issues. In the bill it forces Senate to create travel policies,” said Ellis.
After nearly a half-an-hour discussion, Senator Patton shared his thoughts on tabling the bill.
“If we do table this for another week will there be changes to it? Are you guys willing to put work into it or is this just a waste of time?” said Senator Patton.
Since there was no motion to table it, the bill was pushed to a vote where it failed after not meeting the 2/3 vote from Senate.