ASNMSU Senate passes lawbook amendments, tightens up budget allocations

Claire Quintana

More stories from Claire Quintana

ASNMSU+Senators+discuss+bills+and+amendments+to+the+ASNMSU+law+book+on+Sept.+1%2C+2022.+

Carlos Herrera

ASNMSU Senators discuss bills and amendments to the ASNMSU law book on Sept. 1, 2022.

The 66th Senate of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University held their second meeting on Sept. 1, 2022, where they discussed a budget crisis and passed Bills 13 and 16 to help alleviate this budget crisis to create student and senate accountability.  

Bill 13, sponsored by Senators Shelden DeLara, Annette Pettes, Ethan Ortiz-Ulibarri, and Sarah Roderick, proposed increasing the amount of required community service hours by a student organization in order to receive senate funding.

The new bill will require 25% of a student organization’s active members to “complete 4 hours each of community service for every three thousand dollars appropriated,” and the members listed on the legislation to complete eight hours of service.

Pettes said that due to a funding shortage, the senate needs to be stricter on which students get funding from ASNMSU because the money should go to the most “deserving students.”

“If we are in a budget shortage then [these community service guidelines] will help us designate who’s most deserving of our funds,” Pettes said. DeLara agreed with Pettes, and noted that he didn’t find it unreasonable to ask student organizations to do community service, especially if they are receiving funding from the school.

“I feel like an organization, part of NMSU as a whole, should already have that community service built up and those people that are getting money to go on [trips] should be putting in the work to get the money that they’re receiving,” DeLara said.

Sarah Roderick, a senator of the ACES College, provides ideas and comments on a certain part of a bill during Thursday’s meeting on Sept. 1, 2022. (Carlos Herrera)

Senator Adan Armijo disagreed because he believed the bill didn’t benefit the students or their organizations as a whole, but rather constricted student opportunities. “The money we are appropriating back to [the students] is their money. Although I believe there must be accountability measures [to receive funding], we shouldn’t be making our students do a song and dance after they jump through other institutional hoops we require of them,” Armijo said.

Bill 16, sponsored by Senators Pettes, Ortiz-Ulibarri, Roderick, and DeLara, amended the max caps of the senate lawbook, saying that an organization’s “funding for operating expenses per organization (including teams) shall be no more than $17,000 per semester, excluding graduate students.”  

The amendment also stated that the senate “may provide up to 100% of up to $15,000 per organization per semester” for an organization’s traveling costs.  These are just a few of the max cap changes that were presented by Sen. Pettes.

Pettes also listed some of the reasons why she supported the amendment to Bill 16, including that it would keep senators accountable when overruling the lawbook, would decrease overall funds being spent, and would keep the senate in “good terms with NMSU higher-ups”. 

“This is just to standardize our lawbook and to place checks and balances on the senate. As we all know, the law book should be seen as a standardization and how the senate should proceed regarding appropriations,” Pettes said. 

Pettes said that she felt this bill was the senate’s “best option” when it came to helping the so-called budget crisis because it allows for ASNMSU to keep building relationships with students while also keeping the senate from surpassing their total amount of allocated funds.

Senator Armijo said that he felt satisfied with the amendment to Bill 16, hoping that it will allow all student organizations the opportunity to receive senate funding, instead of a “select few” organizations. “I am happy with the consensus we, as a Senate, were able to reach. I think this will allow funds to be better spread amongst student organizations instead of a few large organizations taking a majority of funds,” Armijo said.

 

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