SGA votes to improve relations with students

Voted in with applause, the House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that aims to improve student body and representative relations.A bill to re-establish two constituency days a semester passed unanimously after being moved last week to the Elections and Regulations Committee for discussion. Constituency days serve as time for SGA representatives to get feedback from students about what they want in new legislation.

Laura Prus, chairwoman of the Communications Committee and author of the bill, said she envisioned a day at the beginning of the semester and another at mid-semester when students could exchange ideas with their representatives.

Prus said according to the the bill, a representative would have to speak to at least five people he or she represents during constituency days and write a report about their findings. Their reports would then be returned to the House, Prus said.

“We would read over it, see where the constituents’ opinions lie and write legislation from those opinions,” Prus said.

Merillat Pittman, chairwoman of the Elections and Regulations Committee, discussed and voted on the bill when it was tabled to her committee last week. Pittman said after making a few small changes in the bill, the Elections and Regulations Committee passed it unanimously.

“I think this bill is a good move to put more responsibility on representatives,” Pittman said. “Hopefully, it will help representatives get more ideas from the student body about legislation.”

Prus said in the past, representatives have e-mailed surveys to students but they have not always been effective.

“This is an effective way for constituents to communicate with their committees,” Prus said.

Prus said representatives would be held accountable if they did not take advantage of the set days.

“Failure to consult constituents will result in one unexcused absence for constituency days,” Prus said.

Prus said she based the bill on past legislation that had been introduced to the House.

“I was going through past legislation and saw the bill,” Prus said. “I thought it was rather unfortunate that it was dropped.”

Molly Marten, speaker of the House, agreed.

“We’ve had constituency days in the past, and they were very successful, so I’m looking forward to a comeback,” Marten said. “I think it’s positive for the student body.”

Prus said the bill will take effect in the spring, and she looks forward to the days becoming a springboard for new ideas.