Sitting all summer long

Student senate will vote on a bill Tuesday that may extend its own summer session.

Senate Bill One, if passed, will extend this session of senate through Aug. 19 and will allow the senate session to cover all three sessions of the summer term.

In previous years, the senate session has run for the duration of the Summer C session only. The bill does not apply to the judicial or executive branches of Student Government.

Bill co-authors and co-sponsors, Ryan Caruso, senate vice president, and Chris Cook, Florida Student Association liaison, will represent the bill at the senate on June 11. Caruso said the bill, which had its first reading May 28, is significant in that it would provide representation for students for the whole duration of the summer.

“If students are going to be here in class, then Student Government should be here working for them,” said Caruso. “As it is now, the last official Student Government senate meeting would be July 9, but students are still going to be here for yet a whole month.”

Caruso said the precedent of year-round senate had already been established in Florida. “The University of Central Florida Student Government, they serve year round. They work when students are in classes. I think that’s a great philosophy,” said Caruso.

Although some senators had reservations regarding the bill, Caruso said those only arose from the concerns of senators whose apartment leases might expire prior to the end of the proposed senate session.

“(The bill) went through its first reading last Tuesday,” said Caruso. “I’m very confident. I think this is going to pass.”

Caruso said the additional funds required to pay the salary of senate officers after the end of Summer C term could be met from the existing budget allocated by the Activities Service Recommendations Committee. Currently, the senate president, senate vice president, three committee chairs and two student liaisons are salaried positions.

“There are no financial implications with the passing of this bill,” said Caruso. “It’s not going to be a burden on our budget or the students.”

If the bill is passed, the whole of the senate will be required to attend the additional fortnightly senate meetings created by the extension of the senate session. Caruso said that the existing regulations regarding absence would also apply to the extended senate sessions.

The existing criteria regarding senators’ attendance during the summer semester remain unaffected by this bill. Currently, senators who take no classes during summer are not permitted to attend senate, and interim senators, from the absent senators’ college council, fill their seats for the duration of the summer.

Despite the relatively small number of students taking summer classes and the corresponding decrease in campus activities, Caruso said it was important that students still had representation.

“If one of those students has a concern, I want to be there to look out for them,” said Caruso. “That’s what the purpose of the bill is, to represent all students.”