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Five-hour senate meeting explores restructuring, recycling

In an attempt to tie up loose strings before the end of the semester, Student Government senate ran extraordinarily longer than usual Tuesday night.

Senators discussed everything from creating a committee that will investigate students’ concerns relating to recycling to reapportioning senate seats for the next two school years during the five-hour meeting.

The evening opened with a friendly speech from the Sports Club Council, progressed into a discussion and subsequent vote for two deputy supervisors of elections to sit on the Election Rules Commission and came to a climax while debating bill 110, which relates to reapportioning senate seats.

Bill 110 would completely restructure the way senators are elected into office, as well as the number of senators representing each college.

Under the current structure, senators are voted into office during general elections in the spring or interim elections that occur every month of the fall and spring semesters. At the close of the fall semester, 42 senators hold office out of 60 total seats.

Bill 110 would change the makeup by adding 20 more senators to the total seat count, and divide the seats not just between colleges but also by class affiliation and residence halls – leaving seven seats “at large” for those students who may not be affiliated with any of the available seats. The bill would also rearrange the structure by removing excess seats from colleges that have been unable to keep them filled and giving them to others that might require more representatives.

Many senators voiced concerns about the number of seats being raised to 80, claiming that it would be nearly impossible to fill 20 extra seats when they can’t even fill the seats that are apportioned now.

Others argued taking seats away from certain colleges might prevent students from getting involved.

Four of the bill’s authors fielded questions and concerns for more than an hour in front of their peers. Senators argued about tabling the bill, interruptions and allowing non-senators to speak on the subject.

Senate President Barclay Harless, frustrated by the manner in which senate was acting, threatened to point senators for acts that were deemed “out of order.”

“This bill is not what about what (the senate) wants, it’s about representing the students,” Harless said.

Several attempts to vote on the bill passed before a motion to table the bill was voted in favor of.

After tabling the bill, Harless said he would call an emergency meeting of the senate on Friday afternoon to further discuss bill 110.

If bill 110 passes, it would be two years before a new reapportionment committee could be formed to evaluate the productivity of senate and make recommendations pertaining to the structure.

As the meeting came close to a close, senator Jason Taylor and senate Pro-Tempore Nathan Davison introduced bill 129, which pertains to a more productive recycling program on campus. The bill came in the form of a resolution that will create an ad-hoc committee to investigate ways USF can create more opportunities for students to recycle.

“This is something that we, as a body, felt is important,” Davison said. “This is simply the first step in the process.”Senators voted to suspend the rules of procedure and vote in favor of the bill.