Budget bill fails, then passes

A bill that would considerably increase the payroll budget for Student Government’s executive branch barely passed through Senate Tuesday night, but not before initially failing.

A procedure mix-up caused the confusion concerning the bill will more than double the branch’s budget to almost $170,000.

Student body President Barclay Harless said the new budget is justified.

“We know it’s a big jump,” he said. “But now we can start doing what we we’ve planned to do, and that’s reach out to the student body more effectively.”

Several new positions were created with the new budget, and hours allocated per week as well as hourly salary were increased throughout the payroll.

With an initial vote of 11 for, 9 against and 4 abstaining, the bill failed to gain a majority and therefore failed. But after a brief break in proceedings, the Senate, citing its rules of procedure, ruled that abstentions don’t count in the overall vote and therefore the 11 supportive votes gained a majority and the bill was approved.

The bill caused somewhat intense debate. Sen. Cordell Chavis was the most vocal opponent, and at one point wanted to postpone a vote so that language ensuring the Senate would have to approve the added positions could be written. Other Senators said jobs created in the new budget overlapped existing jobs.

“We just wanted to know exactly what we’re spending all this money on before we spend it,” Chavis said.

After the bill’s approval, Chavis and Harless announced that they had reached an agreement that would allow the Senate to approve applicants for the new positions.