SGA Senate fails to overrule Kara’s veto, Separation of Powers resolution fails to pass at Wednesday’s meeting

SGA Senate fails to overrule Kara’s veto, Separation of Powers resolution fails to pass at Wednesday’s meeting

SGA Senate fails to overrule Kara’s veto, Separation of Powers resolution fails to pass at Wednesday’s meeting
April 25
16:57 2019

The Student Government Association Senate did not override SGA President Kara’s veto of a bill declaring a mistrial for the April 2 Supreme Court decision ruling that the one or both of next SGA president and vice president will have to be on campus to hold office hours at the start of their term on June 1.

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator Shane Warren introduced the motion to override Kara’s veto and prior to Wednesday night’s meeting, Warren wrote a letter to the editor regarding his plans to try and veto.

“I’m going to try and override this veto, as refusing to declare a mistrial unnecessarily hampers our president-elect’s ability to do her job and makes a mockery of judicial procedure,” Warren said in his letter before the Senate meeting. “I’m also going to advocate for a separate resolution concerning what powers the Supreme Court does and does not have.”

In order to try and override the veto, the original mistrial declaration bill had to be voted onto the night’s agenda by a two-thirds approval. It did not meet that when put to a vote, therefore it was not put on the agenda and the veto was not overridden.

Following this, Warren asked SGA Vice President Dominique Thomas if she could add it to the agenda, a request she declined. According to the SGA bylaws, Section 2, Subsection E, the Speaker of the Senate does have the power to add items to the agenda.

Following the failure to pass, College of Health and Public Service Senator Deana Ayers said on Twitter said she was “beyond disappointed by the decision of the [SGA] vice president not to add this to the agenda.”

Immediately following the failure of the mistrial declaration bill to make it onto the agenda, a resolution that affirmed the SGA Senate’s powers failed to pass the SGA Senate Wednesday night, after a heated period of discussion that involved many uses of the words “personal bias.”

The resolution, submitted by Warren, “affirms the Student Senate’s and the President’s shared power to establish new Presidential duties as established by the Student Constitution (Article 5, Section V, Subsection K) and regards any attempt to impose additional Presidential duties by petitioning the Supreme Court to be plausible grounds for declaring a mistrial.”

“So the point of this is just … to state for the record that our position on this is that we are the body that gives the president and vice president additional duties, not the Supreme Court,” Warren said.

Many senators expressed confusion at the existence of this resolution, with Honors College Senator Rachel Shafer calling much of it “reiterations of what’s in the Constitution.”

“What’s the importance of passing something that just quotes our already governing documents?” Shafer asked.

Once the bill was under discussion, giving senators the chance to voice their opinions regarding the bill rather than just asking Warren questions about it, multiple senators spoke and the issue of personal bias was brought up multiple times, so much so that Thomas said she did not want to hear it anymore.

“OK for everyone, please keep your personal feelings out of it,” Thomas said. “This is business at the end of the day. I don’t want to hear the word ‘personal’ anymore.”

Before the end of the night, Thomas had to make this request several more times.

When Shafer spoke during the period of discussion, she said the Senate “does not pass resolutions as a reminder of what’s in our Constitution.”

“It’s the duty of every person in SGA to know and understand the Constitution,” Shafer said. “I hope you’ve all read it. I don’t know if you have, but it’s your duty. We don’t pass resolutions as a reminder. We don’t pass them as education. We pass resolutions to make changes. This is already all stated in our Constitution and it’s the duty of SGA to know what’s in the Constitution. There’s no reason to pass this.”

At one point, Mayborn School of Journalism and soon-to-be-CLASS Senator Derek Foshee left the meeting after stating “I don’t even want to be here.”

The resolution ultimately failed to pass.

Another resolution that did pass Wednesday night was R2 – Faculty Racial Diversification Proposal that said “let it be resolved that, the University of North Texas expand the racial diversity of faculty and staff at all levels, particularly as it relates to professors.”

Resolution R10 – Counseling and Testing Center Long Term Services was also passed Wednesday night which said, “Let it be resolved that, the UNT Counseling and Testing Center will work diligently to employ a dedicated long term therapist so that long term care services may be offered to students on campus. Let it be further resolved, UNT will work to employ a Frisco Campus and Discovery Park rotating therapist.”

This was the last Senate meeting of the spring semester, with SGA Summer Senate Senators appointed Wednesday night. 

Featured Image: SGA senators sit idly during the Wednesday night meeting on April 24, 2019. Image by: Dimaggio Escobedo.

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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