Thoughts on Constitutional Ballot Measures

Note: As you’ve guessed by now, I’m not back to regularly updating. I no longer have time to maintain the blog as I was — I have to focus on my thesis and making a living. I am working on a special SG-related project that I hope to publish by the end of the year, but I won’t be making regular news updates or covering House meetings. I’m looking for someone new to cover SG news, but I may post some of my opinions here from time to time. Below are my thoughts on the proposed changes to the SG constitution, which you can vote on today and tomorrow through  MyFAU’s “Vote Now” tab. This is casual opinion and analysis, not objective reporting.

It’s taken more than half a year, but the Constitutional Revision Committee has some changes to the the SG Constitution for you to vote on alongside the normal election. Here’s what I think of them.

Grammar changes: self-explanatory.

Article III change: A clarification adding the word “current.” I guess the change implies former or future (candidate) House members could participate in a vote on their leadership as the rules currently stand. If this passes, it could theoretically be used to keep newly elected House reps from voting for a new Speaker (which they typically do after elections) if the new reps haven’t been sworn in by then, but I doubt they’ll do that.

Article IV.3 changes: Doubles the time SG leaders have to veto or approve legislation. Just gives them more slack.

Article IV.5 changes: Clarifies that the time span for veto starts after the governor receives legislation, not after it’s passed by the House. This was a problem when the House would pass something and the governor would not see or sign it for weeks. Technically, this gives the governor more slack, but also makes him or her more accountable.

Article V.3 changes: Best amendment, I think. Specifies that the student body president — instead of Student Affairs — gets to fill any vacancies in the student court.

Article VI.2.B changes: Specifies that elections will be held a week later in the fall than before. This is a good change, because it gives them more time to advertise and get candidates. Usually they start the candidacy period a week before school starts, which screws over people new to FAU from getting involved.

Article VI.2.C changes:  Removes the legislative element from the ballot in Spring. Makes a further distinction between the fall (legislative) and spring (executive) elections. This gives the House more room for “in-house” candidates which they can pick to approve or reject themselves, so I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, really.

Article IX changes: This stuff is irrelevant now so they want to remove it. It just said they had to review the constitution this year. They’re adding stuff to say they have to review it again in 5 years, which is good. I hope they’ll look at it more frequently than that.

On the whole, these aren’t radical changes, but they do represent noteworthy shifts in SG policy and power dynamics. I’m happy to see several of these, because they’re flaws my reporting has pointed to or things I’ve complained about to leadership in the past couple years. I hope you’ll vote on them — the more feedback SG gets, the more they’ll be motivated to expand the dialogue with students and make continual improvements, instead of preserving the status quo.

It’s a good week to reflect on our constitution, too, since the national Constitution Day is on Friday.

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2 Responses to “Thoughts on Constitutional Ballot Measures”

  1. Trevor Raborn Says:

    Why double the time on veto legislation? Wasn’t already 5 business days are 7 business to pass/veto legislation? I understand SG officials are students, and should always put their heart, mind, and pen into their school work before their position, so more time seems fair to them scholastically. But doubling the time makes gives more time for no decision and no action. Everyone knows government is always slow. So why choose a procedure that is that much slower?

    I definitely agree with you on the constitutional review as well. Every 5 years. That takes away the opportunity for any 4 year student government graduate and/or fau student voter, if no constitutional amendment has been brought within those five years. Maybe every 3 years would be a much better mandated review, possibly every two. But 5 is absolutely wrong.

    Thank you for giving your insight on these matters. Good luck with your thesis!

  2. Guil Massetti Says:

    I don’t see a problem with it being 5 years. I think what you guys are missing is that we can always make changes to the constitution– it doesn’t have to be only during the 5-year revision.

    Also:

    “Article VI.2.B changes: Specifies that elections will be held a week later in the fall than before. This is a good change, because it gives them more time to advertise and get candidates. Usually they start the candidacy period a week before school starts, which screws over people new to FAU from getting involved.”

    That’s a horrible change. One of our biggest problems is that the House wastes so much time in the beginning of the semester when it is transitioning from the previous semester. Pragmatically, this change means SG activity will begin even a week later than it already does. If more time is needed to advertise and get more candidates, then we should just start advertising earlier– not push the elections later.

    Very nice post overall!

    -Guil Massetti

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