Constitutional Review Committee meeting postponed
Committee MeetingMonday, 1 - 2 p.m.
Kerckhoff Communal Office Space
By Jillian Beck
Jan. 30, 2013 12:26 a.m.
A meeting of an undergraduate student government committee responsible for reviewing and recommending bylaw and code changes scheduled for Monday, was canceled, which election officials say could impact expected election code reform.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council Election Board planned to propose election code changes to the Constitutional Review Committee, a subcommittee of USAC, on Monday. The Election Board planned to bring the proposal to council for approval next week, said Dana Pede, chair of the board.
The proposed changes to the election code deal with the endorsement process and loopholes that were abused during last spring’s USAC elections leading to false endorsements. The Election Board plans to propose to limit student group endorsements to only group signatories, Pede said. If signatories want to send a substitute to the endorsement hearing in their place, they will have to authorize the substitute, she added.
Pede said she wanted to get the review committee’s feedback about the proposal and regroup this week to address any concerns the committee might have before presenting the potential election code changes to USAC next week.
“(The Constitutional Review Committee) has more time to think about it, talk about it, argue about it and then bring it to the council table,” said Kim Davis, USAC academic affairs commissioner who is on the subcommittee. “I think the (review committee) step is an essential step in the process.”
But the Constitutional Review Committee – which is responsible for reviewing, evaluating and recommending changes to council bylaws, constitution and the election code – failed to have enough committee members to meet Monday. Three of the four councilmembers on the committee must be present for the meeting to take place and reach quorum, according to the USAC bylaws.
Andrea Hester, USAC internal vice president, and Davis said they both were unable to attend Monday’s meeting because they volunteered all day at the L.A. mayoral debate held on campus Monday.
Without Hester and Davis, only two committee members could meet: Anees Hasnain, community service commissioner and committee chair; and Lana El-Farra, external vice president. Hasnain was then forced to cancel the meeting, she said.
Reaching quorum is a recurring problem for the committee, Hasnain said.
With the USAC officers’ busy schedules, the only time at least three councilmembers could meet is the Monday afternoon meeting time, Hasnain said. The committee meets weekly, she added.
Davis, however, cannot attend any of the Monday afternoon meetings this quarter because of work, she said. Davis said she had the day off this week, allowing her to go to volunteer at the mayoral debate rehearsal on Monday.
Pede said she intends to present the election code reform proposal to the Constitutional Review Committee next Monday, if the committee can meet quorum, which means the Election Board would only have one day to address any concerns the committee might have before presenting the proposal to USAC for a vote at its weekly Tuesday meeting.
The bylaws do not stipulate whether proposed election code changes must go before the Constitutional Review Committee before going to council for approval. Still, it has been common practice for the committee to review possible bylaw or code changes before going to the council table, Davis said.
“For the process to continue to get stalled, it gives everyone less time to prepare (for elections),” Pede said. “We want to make sure we have enough time so there are no miscommunications or ambiguity by the time (USAC candidate) packets are made available (week nine).”
Pede, however, said she plans to present the proposal for council approval next week, regardless of whether the subcommittee reviews it.
“It is very important for Election Board to get the ball rolling next week, so I think we’ll be forced to go to council (even if the review committee meeting gets canceled again) because we don’t want the process to be delayed further,” she said.
The committee plans to meet Monday in the communal office space on the third floor of Kerckhoff from 1 to 2 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.
Email Jillian Beck at [email protected].