Student Government Association (SGA) senators Isaac Mitchell and Matt Hinkleman discuss their resolution during Sept. 11 SGA meeting. The resolution, which would have restricted senators from abstaining from voting without providing a reason, was vetoed by SGA president Aiden Medellin. John Lynch, DN.
SGA President Medellin vetoes abstention resolution
Senators Matt Hinkleman and Isaac Mitchell discussed ideological differences with president Medellin’s move to veto a resolution the two had written.
The resolution, which passed the Student Government Association (SGA) senate last week, would have removed senators’ right to abstain from a vote without a reason, but was vetoed by SGA president Aiden Medellin in the SGA meeting Sept. 11 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
Medellin said he vetoed the resolution on the grounds that it would set a bad precedent for using resolutions as a way to enact policy and that it would violate the senators’ privacy when they abstained from a vote without providing a reason.
He also wrote in a statement to senate that abstentions are protected by both the SGA Constitution and by the United States Constitution.
“I understand the criticisms that have come forward,” Mitchell said. “However, I think that if we set the precedent that we’re not about to ever compel committees to look into important issues, we are doing a bad thing that damns SGA to a position where senators have less power.”
The senate confirmed the veto, 17-16, with five abstentions. Previously, when the resolution was introduced, it passed 22-8 with three abstentions, and after the meeting, Hinkleman said the day’s debates over the resolution hurt the chances of the process of removing abstentions.
Mitchell defended their use of a resolution, saying that he hates abstentions , and that if he and Hinkleman had proposed it as an amendment, it would have been “a biased, non inclusive piece of legislation”.
“I know that [the authors of the resolution] think that there are senators in here who aren’t working adequately and they’re abstaining because they either one: don’t care, or two: they don’t understand what's going on,” Medellin said after the meeting.
Earlier in the meeting, the budget for the 2019-20 school year was presented to the senate by SGA treasurer David Sinclair, who answered questions from the senate on individual details of the budget.
This year’s budget, which divides a total of $78,175.40 among SGA programs, events and salaries, will be voted on next week following a motion to postpone the vote.
Another resolution introduced last week that requires that all trash and recycling bins be marked with posters indicating what can and cannot be recycled was also voted on after being tabled.
Concerns over the way the posters will be applied to the bins and the overall effectiveness of the resolution led to the resolution being debated among senators, but the resolution was eventually withdrawn from the floor.