As the fall semester winds down, so does Undergraduate Student Government’s agenda. On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Senate met to debate the semester’s remaining legislation.
The meeting brought about a major discussion about an Appropriations Act that has been in and out of the government’s Budget Committee for several weeks. The Senate voted again to send the act back to the Budget Committee to be reconsidered.
If passed, the act would provide the USG Audio and Visual Services Department with more than $15,000 to purchase staging for club events, saving a “significant” amount of money for clubs, according to USG.
“We want to buy staging for AV, so that way clubs don’t have to rent it out from companies,” Vice President of Communications Mario Ferone said, “so it would be cheaper for clubs.”
The push for cheaper staging originates from this year’s budget battle with Stony Brook’s Campus Recreation. In early October, The Statesman reported that Campus Recreation pushed for an increase in their budget to fund off-campus events. Ferone and Vice President of Student Life Garry Lachhar argued that money should instead be used to purchase staging.
The Budget Committee is expected to revise the act so the funds for the staging comes from multiple outlets of USG, including the Executive Council, Student Activities Board and Office of Communications. The budgets of those three entities come to a combined total of $601,000, according to the USG Budget Report.
“The original idea was to bring $15,000 from SAB [Student Activities Board] to AV [Audio/Visual Services] for staging,” Ferone said, “but they are going to write a new bill that will probably take some money from SAB, some from Executive Council and some from the Communications budget.”
Also discussed at the meeting was an Executive Order recently issued by Treasurer Brian McIlvain regarding transportation reimbursements.
This order, if passed, will raise reimbursements for off-campus trips from 55.5 cents per mile to 56.5 cents per mile. It is inspired by an executive order from New York State, which recently changed compensation rates and took effect on Jan. 1 of this year.
“Basically, we need to comply with state laws,” Executive Vice President Mallory Rothstein said.
The Senate meeting also brought about the approval of Justice Sarah Twarog as Chief Justice of the Judicial Branch. She was approved as an associate justice in early October.
According to the USG Constitution, along with weighing cases, Twarog will be responsible for providing “a regular report to the Senate once per month, and provide a special report to the Senate after each Judicial Board meeting.” She will serve a one year term as the Chief Justice.