StuGov Meeting 3/3/2021

Student Government, featuring Vice President Jacob Schrader and Speaker of the Senate Jacob Ludwig, conducting their weekly meetings.

With last week’s meeting canceled, Student Government had their weekly meeting with a longer-than-usual agenda Wednesday night. 

With the election events on the horizon, much of the night was election talk and how to increase election engagement. 

According to Ross Opie, election commissioner, the number of people running for seats was a lot lower than he expected. 

“As of today, we have received 13 statements of intent and we have 36 allocated seats, so, as you can see, that is pretty underwhelming,” Opie said. 

With more seats to fill, Student Government is looking for anyone interested in running for a seat. 

Though Anna Olson, the senior director of communication and junior in journalism and political science, is running for president in this year’s election, that has not stopped her from taking part in representing the Women’s Week Conference, which is March 8 through 12 in the Memorial Union and online. 

For five days, the conference is hosting a number of notable women who are leaders in their respective fields. Some speakers include Gloria Allred, a women’s rights attorney who was involved in the Harvey Weinstein case; Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst; FBI victim specialist Karen Gale; Shannon Harper, Iowa State assistant professor of sociology; and Ebby Luvaga, Iowa State teaching professor of economics. 

After rejecting a nominee a couple weeks ago, the seat for attorney general has finally been filled. 

By unanimous consent, Alex McFadden, junior in mechanical engineering, is the new attorney general. 

Speaker of the Senate Jacob Ludwig added that “Alex has shown a lot of initiative for this position. I know he is excited to get started. I think his drive and commitment will be good.”

The most humorously bizarre moment of the night came when Sen. Zach Mass’ bill came to the forefront regarding quorum in the Senate.

For a Senate meeting to take place, two-thirds of the Senate must be present. For Mass, he wants to change the two-thirds rule into just the majority of senators having to show for session to take place. 

“I’m sure the reason our constitution currently requires two-thirds of seated senators to be present is so that we try and get as many possible voices heard in the room — I think we should always incentivize that,” Mass said. “But I think it is more important that we have the majority requirement so that the majority of students across campus can have their voices heard and have decisions made on their behalf." 

Especially with the Senate already having fewer seated senators than normal, Mass added that getting to two-thirds is a tall order.

"[It] does kind of show an underlying problem with two-thirds being a very high bar to meet for meetings like this," Mass said. "It is easier to just have a majority.”

There was back-and-forth discussion with this bill. While some saw this bill as a way to make government run more efficiently, others saw loopholes in it. 

Sen. Hans Riensche made a memorable hypothetical by revealing a loophole could potentially allow the Senate to do some outlandish things. 

“I’m not as in favor of this and the reason being is that if we would make a simple majority, let's say tomorrow I propose a bill to release ravenous wolves on campus, and I convince one-third of this room to say ‘Let's have wolves on campus,'" Riensche said. "We get to have 50 percent of the senators show up at the next meeting, and one-third of the total Senate supports my wolves and show up at the next meeting, and there is suddenly a majority of the percent that is present. I think what can happen is that you could have an inverse of quorum busting. You could have a minority of students with an idea that may not be in the best interest of all students come forward in a smaller body and actually win.”

By the end of the debate, it was decided that the two-thirds versus majority bill will be voted on by the student body this upcoming election. 

While wolves are unlikely to ever make an appearance on campus, it is important to participate in the election, which is March 22.

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