SGA debates mechanism to collect fines

The Student Government Association House of Student Representatives debated a bill aimed at increasing the accountability of candidates running for office for more than an hour Tuesday night before deciding to table the bill to committees for clarification and consideration.

Joey Parr, chairman of the Elections and Regulations Committee, introduced the bill to alleviate the problems of collecting fines imposed against candidates that violate the election code.

Some of the most common fines include those for campaigning near computer labs and other places where students could immediately vote, Parr said. Others can come from having too many posters in one building, for example, he said.

In last fall’s election, presidential candidate Kelly Barnes was fined $75 for soliciting votes within 50 feet of three computers, a violation of the Student Body Code. Treasurer candidate Greg Hamre was given a warning for sending an unsolicited e-mail, and Marlon Figueroa, who eventually won the treasurer race, received a warning for printing fliers for a campaign meeting using SGA equipment.

The bill, if approved, would require candidates to pay a $100 deposit that would be held until after it was determined whether a candidate owed fines.

Representatives amended the bill numerous times. Amendments ranged from the amount of the deposit to the timetable needed to collect the fines.

Justin Brown, College of Fine Arts representative, agreed with the decision to table the bill for the next meeting, but said he would have tried to push through the final amendments that were awaiting debate before tabling the bill.

“It is the right decision to give legislation, particularly really important legislation that is changing things, as much time to debate it as is needed,” Brown said. “Clearly this legislation needed a little more time to consider.”

One valuable benefit to tabling this bill is that representatives will have the opportunity to see the legislation with all of the amendments, Brown said.

Myra Mills, College of Fine Arts representative, said the time limitations and confusion created by amendments caused the bill to be tabled.

“The decision kept representatives from making a hasty decision,” Mills said.

Parr said the House tabled the bill to give representatives more time to think about it.

“I wanted to table the bill initially because I thought people were bogging it down with mindless amendments that weren’t really helping legislation,” Parr said.

After those amendments were removed the legislation should have been voted on, Parr said.

“I think people, in the long run, just got tired of talking about it,” Parr said.