ASMSU passes bill to work to reduce MIPs to civil infractions
Two bills were passed at this week’s Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, meeting that was held in the International Center.
Bills 54-04 and 54-05 were approved by the general assembly. Bill 54-04 resolved that ASMSU would work with the East Lansing City Council to reduce MIPs to civil infractions if a minor’s blood alcohol level is below 0.8. It passed with 24 votes in favor out of 42 members, with eight representatives abstaining. A similar bill passed in the Michigan House of Representatives passed in 2016, but will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018. The ASMSU-sponsored bill would take effect on Oct. 10 of this year.
Bill 54-05 approved 11 new members to the general assembly, and passed unanimously.
Social Science Representative, Max Donovan, introduced Bill 54-04 and stated his belief that the bill would improve student safety, and that the civil infractions will deter students from consuming alcohol.
“Those tickets can be really expensive,” Donovan said. “Students still want to avoid them, and what we found is that when cops go in and they crash frat parties and parties in the co-ed dorms, what we see is students who are minors in varying levels of intoxication running out in all different directions, and it’s not safe for them, it’s not safe for the people who get in their way. So what I’d love to do is advocate with the city of East Lansing to establish a threshold under which if a minor is found to be that degree of intoxicated, they won’t be subject to an MIP.”
Vice President for Internal Administration, Katherine Rifiotis, introduced bill 54-05, and expressed her pride in the organization’s newest members.
“If you were at some of the interviews, you saw how sometimes I just wanted to appoint them all,” Rifiotis said. “It’s just really, really amazing that the people who are here right now are here.”
Freshman members Zach Heaton and Dakota Hurd are among those approved into ASMSU by the bill. Hurd represents the College of Veterinary Medicine, while Heaton represents “No Preference” majors. Hurd said she decided to join based on the group’s appeal.
“So, when I came for my orientation, we went to this organization thing where a bunch of other organizations were there, and one of the first stands I approached was ASMSU and they just had one of the best vibes that I’ve ever seen,” Hurd said. “They were so like, ‘Oh, we want you to join!’ ‘Sign up!’ And then that just really caught my eye. I want to be like that, and then I want to be one of the students as to why other students call MSU home.”
Heaton was drawn to ASMSU through another organization, which recommended the student government.
“I heard about it through the Young Americans for Liberty organization,” Heaton said. “And they spoke very highly of it due partially to the fact that there’s a significant amount of overlap in membership, but also because with an organization of this budget and this degree of cohesiveness, there’s a strong ability to make actual change on campus that small organization at other institutions cannot. So, I felt that it was the best way for me to get involved with making an impact in other students’ lives and the entire community as a whole.”
In spite of their new-member status, both Heaton and Hurd have goals for the year. Impacting student safety is at the top of Hurd’s to-do list.
“I think that lights should be put in all dorms, and also I think we should be enforcing active-shooter drills because we don’t have any of that right now, and I think that’s really important because we’ve got such a big campus and it’s so easy for people to just come on, so when you have students in that activity, they’re not going to know what to do. So, I think we should have that enforced," Hurd said.
Heaton hopes to encourage financial responsibility both within ASMSU and across the student body.
“Primarily, I’m hoping to see a level of financial responsibility on the entirety of the general assembly,” Heaton said. “Improving financial responsibility for the campus as a whole (is a goal) because I feel like it’s a top-down initiative. Once we start getting the type of fiscal responsibility at the top, we can get that down to the student level because a lot of students – we’ve just come out of high school, we don’t understand exactly how to manage our money, our parents have been doing it for all our lives up until this point. So, if we see the organization that’s managing policy at the school and in the community doing things to make sure that their budget is aligned, that their spending on only things they need, then the students at the lower levels will be sure to do that in following.”
Communications Arts and Sciences Representative Christopher Gustafson seconded the bill and expressed his pleasure in the new members.
“Everybody we hired actually blew us away,” Gustafson said. “I think we had over 30 applicants that we interviewed. We interviewed 30, but we had way more than that. This is certainly one of the most exciting and hopefully most productive GAs we’ve had in a long time, maybe ever, but we welcome you guys.”
Even though his first ASMSU meeting lasted three and a half hours, Heaton said he was excited by the experience, which offered the chance to hear guest speakers. This included Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. Simon spoke on issues ranging from Title IX to the renovation of IM facilities.
“I know a lot of people were complaining about the length of the meeting, but personally I felt like it was a proper introduction to the whole process, the whole system of what went on here,” Heaton said. “I was privileged to get to experience the presence of President Simon. I thought she was quite intelligent, and she made a lot of valid points on a variety of different things.”
Heaton also enjoyed the deliberation that the General Assembly went through prior to passing Bill 54-04.
“Additionally, I liked the process of discussing resolutions, and passing and or denying those resolutions,” Heaton said. “I think it’s effective by allowing people to voice their opinions before a vote is taken because I feel like many of these student body organizations will simply jump to a vote without really thinking through what’s on the table. And so I think that process is something that I’ve never seen before in a student body organization, and I’m very proud to be a part of that.”