Student Bar Association updates bylaws, approves new student organization’s charter

Media Credit: Alexander Welling | Assistant Photo Editor

SBA Sen. Ben Smith, the chair of the rules and constitution committee, introduced several bills at the senate meeting Tuesday clarifying procedures in the body's bylaws and making minor changes to them.

The Student Bar Association approved funding for several student organizations and updated the body’s bylaws at its meeting Tuesday.

Senators passed four bills to update the SBA’s bylaws, approved the election schedule for upcoming February elections, approved the charter of a new student organization and provided funding to six student organizations for events like conferences and panels. Executive Vice President Amanda Townsend said the bylaw updates are a way to clear up complications in the bylaws while SBA Sen. Ben Smith, the chair of the rules and constitution committee, conducts a full review of the bylaws.

“This is great – cleaning things up,” Townsend said.

The senate unanimously passed a bill to allow the body to suspend any bylaw by a two-thirds vote. Smith said the senate has previously acted to suspend the bylaws by a vote of the same order, but the new bill formally places the body in concordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, a popular manual of parliamentary procedure.

“In the absence of such a clause, it’s against Robert’s Rules of Procedure,” Smith said.

Senators unanimously approved the Remedial Act to Preserve Past Enacted Legislation, which mandates a written record of all legislation enacted by the SBA for future reference.

“If there’s ever disputes on what was passed or past procedures or how bills looked in the past, I found this tool very useful,” Smith said.

The bill assigns the secretary of the senate the responsibility of recording all proposed and enacted legislation with an “original designation” in its chronological order, according to the bill.

The senate unanimously passed the Certification Procedure Clarification Act, which clarifies the procedure for requesting opinions from the body’s Supreme Court. Smith said the bill makes a distinction between when an individual senator asks for a court opinion, which is non-binding, and when the full senate requests the opinion, which is binding.

“The procedure for asking for opinions from Supreme Court, it’s very vague in the constitution,” Smith said. “This fleshes it out.”

Smith presented a resolution to confirm the schedule of the body’s next elections, which will be held next month. The approved resolution set an interest meeting on Feb. 3, a deadline of Feb. 5 for students to submit necessary materials and an election date of Feb. 19.

Smith also presented an act to update the numbering of committees in the SBA’s bylaws. Under the previous bylaws, two committees were numbered “2” and no committee was numbered “6” or “9,” but the approved act assigns each committee its own number.

“This will change the numbering of all the bylaws,” Smith said. “But we need to pass something official to change it.”

SBA Sen. Andrew Trinker presented a charter bill introducing a new student organization for first-generation and low-income law school students. A student representative, who did not identify himself, spoke on behalf of the bill and said the organization’s purpose will be to address the lack of resources and community available to first-generation law students.

“They feel a lot of the same concerns that they see at the undergraduate level being replicated and lost,” the representative said. “So it is our goal to come in, organize, find out how to identify each other, create a network in which we can support each other.”

The senate also approved more than $20,000 from its ad hoc budget to seven student organizations including more than $11,000 for the Law Revue, a musical and sketch comedy organization, for its annual show in Lisner Auditorium.

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