Senators address infighting, US Congress bill
This week, senators largely discussed the influx of bills from last week, as well as an additional ten bills that were sponsored by Sen. Gabriel Madore. The majority of these bills were likewise small changes to bylaws and a variety of grammatical changes and clarifications.
“The Internal Affairs Committee said that they were going to finish updating the bylaws of the end of the semester,” said Madore, “and we had trouble completing all those bills in committee. I took it on myself to write all those bills on my own time, and sponsored them myself,”
Senators raised issues with several of these bills for not including the bylaws within the body, or various other errors including copy/pasting and grammatical mistakes. Two of these bills were expedited to the second reading with the express purpose of voting them down early.
“I think this bill is, somebody give me a kind word for stupid?” said Vice President Dawson Mann in response to one of the bills.
Later in the meeting there was discussion concerning Mann’s various comments on bylaws both during this session, as well as during the previous one, with a motion being made by Madore to revoke Mann’s speaking privileges for the duration of the meeting. The motion did not pass, although there were several comments made by some of the senators on the subject.
“I would be willing to make a request to Vice President Mann, to please refrain from some of the belittling remarks that you have as Senator Madore has pointed out,” said Sen. Ben Boswell. “Although I will put in the caveat that I do find them very amusing.”
At the start of the session, Senate Chair Samuel Mitchell also addressed infighting that had been going on in the office.
“It was brought to my attention that there’s just some backstabbing going on in the office between some specific senators and other members of the office, some executives, and it was not looked on as good for the office environment. And so certain senators are just avoiding the office now, because it’s just not a healthy environment,” said Mitchell. “Not all senators have each other’s backs here, we’re just not supporting each other. And there’s a certain extent you may not be able to support other people’s opinions, but as a team you have to always think about what’s best for those others, and talking behind their backs is not what’s best.”
Opposition to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts Bill
In addition, the senators voted to expedite a bill to show their official opposition to parts of the Tax Cuts and Job Acts Bill that was recently introduced to the United States Congress. The senate reached this decision after discussing how this bill could hurt students in colleges across the nation, including here at UAF, by making tuition waivers taxable income for graduate students.
Senators voted unanimously to send a statement to United States Congress and the Alaskan representatives voicing their problems with the proposed bill.
$50 to be Given to Two Committees at Start of Year
Finally, the Senate voted to grant the Student Affairs Committee and the Senate Public Relations Committee each $50 in funds at the start of each academic year. This was done in order to help support events that these committees might want to put on at the start of the year.