USGT has not updated its bylaws to include amendments passed last year

From an impeachment procedure to voting records, many amendments passed have not been reflected in the current bylaws

ASU's Undergraduate Student Government Tempe has not updated their bylaws to reflect numerous amendments passed by last year’s senate.

The amendments passed last year were voted on and passed with a two-thirds majority of the senate. Most of the amendments were meant to consolidate information or rearrange articles. 

In an email, USGT President Hanna Salem, a senior studying public service and public policy, said the government operations committee "revises these documents throughout the entire year." The current version of the bylaws available to the public on the USGT website was created Oct. 2 of this year, according to Google Docs. 

However, multiple amendments from the past year are not reflected in the current version.

Posting agendas

One bylaw change made last year was reducing the time before senate sessions that agendas and legislation needed to be made public. Originally, the senate was required to post its agenda and any legislation to be considered during its session 72 hours before the meeting started. 

After failing to meet this deadline multiple times, the senate passed a bylaw amendment that reduced the time to 48 hours. 

The publicly available bylaws still say that the senate clerk "shall create and make available the agenda for each meeting of the USGT senate to each senator, executive officer and the public seventy-two (72) hours prior to each regular session meeting."

READ MORE: USG Tempe amends bylaws to improve transparency, loosen requirements on meeting agendas

The senate still appears to be struggling with its deadlines. According to the Sept. 24 senate session minutes, during the open forum someone pointed out that "legislation must be turned in on time, we cannot keep amending the bylaws."

However, Salem said the reason the bylaws have been suspended in regards to the 48 hour posting limit is because of last minute funding requests for clubs and other urgent issues the senate feels the need to respond to.  

"While we do our best to ensure legislation is submitted on time, there are times where we must address certain legislation and resolutions that are time sensitive and therefore must amend the bylaws," Salem said in an email to The State Press. 

Voting records

The same day the change in time required to post the agendas was passed, the senate passed a bylaw amendment that reformed the voting system. The bill, senate bill 57, was co-sponsored by current Senate President Dominic Frattura, a senior studying business.

One of the points in the amendment was that voting must be done in a way that would not "disclose the result of the vote or the votes of individual senators until after the votes have been recorded and announced by the senate president." The goal of this was to prevent senators from being influenced by the votes of others.  

The other part of this amendment said that "a record of the senator’s votes must be included as an addendum to the minutes of the meeting by the secretary of the senate or their designee."

The bylaws currently on the USGT website include neither of these points. 

Senators have been voting over a GroupMe poll, which keeps votes hidden from the other senators in order to avoid influencing one other. 

However, there is not a way to check how each person voted even after a poll is completed. The minutes from this year's meetings also shows multiple bills have been passed by acclamation. 

Minutes that have been posted for this year’s senate sessions do not include a record of how each senator voted.  

However, Salem said in her email that "all legislation, resolutions, meeting minutes and voting records are available online to the public via our USG website or SunDevilSync." 

The State Press was unable to find voting records on either website.

Live streams 

On Feb. 26, the USGT senate passed SB 65, which required USGT to broadcast its senate meetings, effective immediately. 

Since the bill has been passed, two senate sessions have been broadcasted out of the 10 sessions that have been held since.

When asked about senate broadcasts on Sept. 18, Salem said in an email that "USGT has no plans to live-stream senate meetings." 

After being asked if SB 65 had been repealed, Salem said they "did not receive the updated bylaws from the former senate with that piece of legislation incorporated," and that USGT would be "implementing this practice for future Senate meetings."

Since then, Salem said broadcasts of senate sessions can be watched on USGT's Instagram.

The idea of a live stream of the senate has been added to the USGT bylaws available to the public. However, the bylaws state that the public relations team will "potentially" establish a live stream. 

The amendment passed last year states that the "senate clerk shall be primarily responsible for the establishment of the live stream," but the current bylaws make no mention of this.

Criteria for funding events

Previously, the bylaws would prohibit clubs from requesting funding for events that were restricted to a club’s membership, unless the amount requested was less than $2,000. 

An amendment passed unanimously on March 26 changed that so USGT would not fund any events that were restricted to a club’s membership.

The bylaws on the USGT website do not include this change, but the USGT website's event funding page states that to be eligible events must "be open to all ASU students."

Impeachment procedure

After former Vice President of Policy John Gimenez, a political science senior, was impeached, the Supreme Court of Associated Students of ASU ruled after his appeal that the Undergraduate Student Governments across the campuses should update their bylaws to clarify impeachment procedure. 

SB 85 was passed March 26, clarifying that all impeachment proceedings are to be held in an executive session, and defining an executive session as "a meeting consisting of solely relevant parties, as determined by the presiding officer." 

When asked if the procedure for impeachment in the posted bylaws are in compliance with the recommendations from the ASASU Supreme Court ruling, Salem said in her email that they are. 

But the changes from last year's amendment are not in the public bylaws. 

Senate clerk or secretary of the senate

Another bylaw amendment passed was meant to clarify the position of senate clerk. In the bylaws, the position is referred to as the secretary of the senate. SB 59 changed all instances of the secretary of the senate to the senate clerk, as that is what the position is referred to as on the USGT website. 

The current bylaws continue to use secretary of the senate, while the position on the website remains senate clerk.

Salem said in an email that "per our bylaws, (the) role is officially stated as the secretary of the senate but we often refer to (the) role as senate clerk director for simplicity."

Senate President Dominic Frattura declined to comment. 


Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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