One of Student Government Association’s missions is to provide an outlet for student involvement at Queens. A new policy this year introduces student bills to the legislature. These bills will be drafted by students and acted upon by the full body of the SGA Senate. The idea to implement this new system belonged to current SGA President Joseph Vaughn.
According to Vaughn, the inclusion of this new bill policy will allow students a chance to directly affect policies and changes made at Queens.
The process by which these bills are assessed and voted on is a multi-step process that can take up to four weeks. First, a bill is drafted by a member of the student body and then submitted to Caitlin Culp, SGA executive secretary. The bill is then reviewed by the SGA Executive Board and placed on a future agenda. If there are already outstanding bills in the Senate, it may take up to three weeks for the bill to be presented. Once the bill is introduced to the Senate, it is reviewed by senators for no less than one week. During the Senate’s next meeting the bill will be voted on.
While this is the standard procedural method Vaughn stated that “it is the right of each senator to introduce a bill to the Senate without first submitting it to the executive secretary of the SGA. A member of the student body may communicate with his or her senate representative to have the bill presented by that senator on behalf of said student to bypass submission to the Executive Board.”
Students can submit bills by filling out a template located on SGA’s shared documents on MyQueens. The template is fill-in-the blank form and consists of three main parts: the preamble, the resolution, and the enactment clause. The preamble is an optional portion of the bill where writers can include any relevant information that is not directly linked to the resolution, which lists what the bill is trying to accomplish and why. The last portion of the bill, the enactment clause, is where the person or group submitting the bill will list who they are, when they are hoping to accomplish with the things laid out in the bill and what action they want SGA to take.
Vaughn said that his goal for the new bill process “is to get ideas and recommendations for action coming from the student body and the Senate, as well as to establish structure and consistency within Senate proceedings” as well as to encourage students to write bills that will “spur significant and appropriate change around our campus.”
Though still relatively new, students are reacting positively to the measure.
“The new bill system makes the process of changing the campus for the better accessible to students in a way never seen before,” said sophomore Tabi Forrest. “It makes me feel like I can actually accomplish something.”