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Senators fight state bills

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 22:02

The ETSU Student Government Association continued a conversation that it started at its last meeting about two bills that are currently being discussed by the Tennessee State Legislature.

The conversation began when the Senate learned that two Tennessee state bills could impact its ability to fund guest speakers.

“For those of you that don’t know, I’m president of Buctainment,” Sen. Alexis Petrak said.

“If you who don’t know what Buctainment is, that is the university programming board. So, if stuff like this [the two state bills] starts getting passed, there won’t be a programming board. ... We won’t have Kenan Thompson [and other acts coming to campus].”

In an effort to voice their concerns to Tennessee legislators, the SGA Senate passed a resolution that opposed Tennessee SB1608, which requires that all fees for student organization speakers be distributed proportionally based on membership, and SB2493, which prohibits the use of institutional revenues for paying guest speakers.

Sens. Kevin Carlson, Jayke Hamill, Zach Tuggle and Randi Owenby and Secretary of Allocations Lucas Hitechew sponsored the resolution.

SGA Adviser Sally Lee informed the Senate that one of the bills is gaining footing in Nashville and recommended that individuals who oppose the bills campaign against them.

“The one that says that there is no room for outside speakers has legs in Nashville,” Lee said. “It is getting traction.”

If passed, the SGA could lose its ability to allocate money to pay guest speakers.

“I think our issue is ... we have a fund we allocate for guest speakers,” Lee said. “Who’s to say that they wouldn’t say we couldn’t have concerts? ... We have a huge fund of money. It’s approximately $500,000 a year, that this body right here allocates.”

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