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Bill may extend deadline for fee referendums

CARMEN JARAMILLO | Evergreen reporter

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The ASWSU Internal Committee unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday that would move the deadline for submitting a referendum for the ASWSU election to 10 days before the election.

The bill, authored by Senate Pro-Tempore Garvin Price and sponsored by the Internal Committee Vice Chair Victor Charoonsophonsak, would have been put to a vote the next day on the senate floor, but because of the unexpected school closure the weekly Senate meeting was cancelled. The vote on Bill 46-28 will take place next Wednesday at the Senate’s regularly scheduled weekly meeting instead.

Right now, the ASWSU bylaws state that a referendum must be submitted 30 school days before the election will take place to give the Senate time to debate and vote whether it should go on the ballot. Under the current rules, there would be a minimum of nine Senate meetings between when the referendum was proposed and when it would go on the ballot.

Price said he believed that this was, “kind of unnecessary,” and wrote this bill to, “reflect [the] current process.” His bill would reduce that to 10 school days or a minimum of three Senate meetings.

If WSU had not closed yesterday, the vote would have happened exactly 30 school days before the election, based on last year’s election date. Since the bill was not voted on yesterday, the deadline to submit a referendum may have already passed.

If the bill is passed next Wednesday at the Senate meeting, then any organizations or departments wishing to submit a referendum to the Senate will have 20 more school days.

At least three departments have expressed interest in submitting referendums, including the athletics department.

Sen. Kevin Schilling thinks this is part of a continued attempt to get a new student fee on the ballot to help fund the athletic department’s $13 million budget deficit. He also stated that as of today he is against the bill.

This proposed fee to aid athletics was highly controversial when WSU President Kirk Schulz announced it during the fall 2016 semester. Price said the bill and the athletics department fee are not at all connected. He also stated that the vote falling so close to the deadline was not meant to extend the deadline for any organization or department that had failed to present a referendum in time.

When asked if he thought the bill would pass, Price said, “I really don’t know, I think it will be a good discussion.”

Price declined to comment on the Senate’s decision regarding the impeachment of International Student Council President Kevin Lindquist, which was tabled at the last Senate meeting before winter break. Lindquist’s impeachment was not brought up during the last Senate meeting on Jan. 11.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Garvin Price said the athletic department fee and the bill are not connected.

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Bill may extend deadline for fee referendums