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ASBSU creates new bills, affect fiscal future for students and clubs

Nine bills have been signed into approval by former ASBSU president Ryan Gregg for the 2013-2014 academic year. Eight of the nine bills have the secondary fiscal impact of ASBSU moving money and dedicating those funds for student interests. The other bill opens up student democracy.

The legislation:

Bill #1

In effect July 10, 2013:

This bill increased the maximum amount of money individual students, student clubs and student organizations could request for Boise State related activities or events. These amounts are referred to as funding caps. ASBSU had extra money in their contingency account (which is basically like a savings account) and voted to raise the individual club/organization request cap from $3,500 to $4,000 (joint club or organization efforts can request up to $8,000). The individual student funding cap, calculated as 10 percent of the individual club/organization cap, was raised from $350 to $400. According to current president Bryan Vlok, any student, club or organization can approach ASBSU and request funding.

Bill #2

In effect July 10, 2013:

As written on the bill, the purpose is “to purchase furniture to renovate a space in the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.” Like the situation in bill 1, there was a surplus of money in the Contingency Account. ASBSU approved transferring $7,000 from the Contingency Account to the Sponsored Projects Account to purchase new furniture.

Bill #3

This bill allocates $10,000 from the Sponsored Projects Account for the purchase of “giveaway items” at sporting events. The speaker of the Student Assembly will determine what items to purchase, then receive approval or rejection from the Executive Council. This money used to be in VPSA’s budget, but this year it became part of ASBSU’s budget.

Bill #4

In effect Aug. 27, 2013: Five thousand dollars was allocated from the Contingency Account to the Executive Sponsored Projects Account to send 100 students (at $50 per student) to the Women and Leadership conference last fall.

Bill #5

In effect Sept. 3, 2013: Three thousand five hundred was transferred from the Contingency Account to the Executive Sponsored Projects Account to fund updates to the helmet car—which has been around since the ‘70s— including a new cart placed on it and a new paint job. Vlok said the helmet car is accessible to any student who fills out a form and is approved to use the car on Boise State property.

Bill #6

In effect Sept. 3, 2013:

This bill allows for more student voice to be represented in the Student Assembly. Previously, in the Student Assembly Code, one student per department or population (group of students with a common interest) could represent their affiliation. Now, up to three can, but the party still only gets one vote in the assembly. Also, under the College of Business and Economics, general business is now dedicated representation. In addition, this bill allows University Housing to allow one student to serve as a liaison between housing and the Student Assembly. Finally, the new Student Assembly “election process” consists of all members of the student assembly being recommended by the Assembly Speaker (this year Lauren Albright) and then be approved by the ASBSU president. This went into effect due to the lacking turnout for the Student Assembly election process.

Bill #7

In effect Nov. 12, 2013:

ASBSU is now in charge of providing funding for the “cram snacks” provided during finals week each semester. This funding was initially provided by the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. As stated in the bill rationale, “ASBSU still feels that there is a need to continue to provide snacks for students during Finals Week because of their popularity and the benefit of not being hungry or thirsty while trying to study for finals.”

Bill #8

In effect Jan. 14, 2014:

Elections are coming up, and the student body has to know somehow. Money in the Elections Account is typically used to allow candidates 50 free prints of flyers for their campaign and to pay third party resources for the ASBSU election campaign (such as clubs running voting booths). Now, OIT has provided the election process free software for voting. This freed up $2,300. One thousand dollars was transferred from the Elections Account to the Sponsored Projects Account and $3,000 was transferred from the Elections Account to the Travel Account. Fifteen thousand dollars was transferred from the Contingency Account to the Joint Club Grant Fund Account.

Bill #9

In effect Jan. 14, 2014: ASBSU  approved $4,000 to be transferred from the Contingency Account to the Executive Sponsored Projects Account to be spent specifically on student registrations for the Idaho Conference of Refugees (held Feb. 10-11). According to the bill, a student approached ASBSU with this request and Vlok reasoned (in the rationale of the bill), “From time to time it makes sense for ASBSU to assist students in gaining an experience through conferences. Sometimes it’s best addressed through regular funding sources for clubs and organizations and sometimes, when it transcends the lines of individual student organizations, it makes sense for ASBSU to sponsor the experience, outright.”

The Process

According to Ali Johnson, ASBSU assistant, the president of ASBSU usually takes charge of creating bills for the academic year, because they serve as an unbiased party—the president doesn’t vote on the bills. Because a lot of money in ASBSU comes from student fees, ASBSU wants to give it back in the form of support for the student body, according to Johnson and Vlok.

If students need funding, they approach ASBSU and the president writes up a bill. The bill is introduced at ASBSU Executive Council meetings. One member motions to approve the bill, it must be seconded, then a majority of Executive Council members vote on the bill. The bill needs a 50 percent majority—of at least five ASBSU Executive Council members—in favor to be approved. Finally, the president signs the bill and it becomes official.

“We try to pass things that are beneficial to students,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to represent the students. We want to be conscious of things they would approve of.”

ASBSU can also come up with their own bills, such as the cram snacks and helmet car bills. If students don’t agree with proposed or passed bills, they can meet with ASBSU Executive Council members to express their concerns; however, passed bills cannot be overturned. ASBSU will try to resolve grievances with a consensus reached by both parties.