Oct 272010
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Two weeks ago, student government accidentally killed a resolution that would oppose the city .85 percent tax increase that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot after they counted abstention votes as “no’s.”

This occurred as a result of a misunderstanding of “Robert’s Rules of Order,” which govern the body and the U.S. Senate. Robert’s Rules state that abstentions do not count as “no’s.”
The legislation died by default after a 12-7-6 vote, with six abstentions counting as “no’s.”

The incident came to light after a separate resolution that would overturn abstentions counting as “no” votes was introduced on Oct. 20 and sent to an internal committee. The legislation was brought back to the Senate floor Wednesday night.

The body rejected the legislation on the grounds that it repeats the existing rule stated in Robert’s Rules.

“The ruling was completely contrary to Robert’s Rules of Order,” said Sen. Ben Weiner. “We voted down the legislation because it would have been redundant.”

However, this comes after the 2006 Schrader v. Conrad case that stated that, in order to pass, any legislation must receive its required number of votes –– either half or two-thirds of the Senate, depending on the bill –– of the total number of members, not just those present at time of voting.

This effectively made abstentions and absences count as “no’s.”

ASCSU members said the case only applies to constitutional matters, which determine how ASCSU is run, not resolutions.

Chase Eckerdt, director of Community Affairs, is meeting today with other ASCSU members to decide if it is too late for student government to campaign against the city tax with the election occurring next week.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:20 pm

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