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12 bills passed at the last ASMSU general assembly of the year

December 9, 2022
<p>Leaders of ASMSU address the general assembly during the ASMSU meeting on Dec. 8, 2022. The meeting was held in the International Center. </p>

Leaders of ASMSU address the general assembly during the ASMSU meeting on Dec. 8, 2022. The meeting was held in the International Center. 

During the general assembly meeting for the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, 12 bills were passed. This Dec. 8 assembly was ASMSU’S last meeting of the fall semester.

National-level advocacy

With eyes set on the upcoming Association of Big Ten Students, or ABTS, winter conference, ASMSU passed several bills to advocate for on the national level. The conference brings together student governments from the 14 Big Ten universities to advocate for cross-university and national issues.

Election day protection for students

Introduced by College of Social Science Rep. Konesky, this bill advocates for declaring election day a university holiday. The goal is to remove barriers to increase student participation in voting.

This bill passed unanimously. If passed at the ABTS conference, the holiday would be recognized by all 14 universities. 

Using federal and state benefits to purchase menstrual hygiene products

This bill sponsors an ABTS resolution advocating for the allowance of those who receive federal or state benefits to purchase menstrual hygiene products with their benefits. Those recipients include beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs.

The bill was introduced by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Rep. Prestly and passed unanimously.  

Banning the LGBTQ+ “panic” defense

Introduced by Rep. Prestly, this bill advocates for banning legislation that allows a defendant to use a victim’s sexual orientation as a reason for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder.

“Since we’re an organization that’s working to ensure the protection of all of our students, this is crucial,” Prestly said. “This bill allows us to advocate this to all of the Big Ten schools through ABTS Winter Conference so we can turn around and help all of the queer students and all of the victims on all of the Big Ten campuses.”

The bill passed unanimously.

Presidential search committee and university hearing board appointment

A bill to solidify ASMSU’s demands for student involvement in the upcoming permanent presidential search was introduced by Vice President for Academic Affairs Aaron Iturralde. The bill advocates for a “transparent, representative and robust permanent presidential search,” per the bill’s official statement. 

It stipulates that the committee consists of a minimum of four undergraduate students. Iturralde said that should include one representative from ASMSU, one representative from both the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students and the Council of Progressive Students, or CORES/COPS, one representative from the Residential Housing Association, or RHA, and the at-large student liaison.

“As we saw throughout the semester, the Board of Trustees and all the president stuff was a real big mess,” Le said. “Having these guidelines will hopefully ensure that we have a more open presidential search with more student voices.”

The bill passed unanimously.

A bill to appoint political science pre-law senior Daria Lindquist to the university hearing board also passed unanimously.

Reallocation of ASMSU budget dollars

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Several bills reallocated significant amounts of money from the ASMSU general fund to specific line items. For the Spartan Flow and Glow event, $8,500; For ASMSU Services Week in January, $3,180; for the city of East Lansing for the installation of alleyway string lights, $2,500.

ASMSU Services Week

This bill supplies funds to the ASMSU marketing and advertising department to increase student engagement for Services Week in January. The week will bring awareness to ASMSU-provided services, like iClicker and calculator rentals, legal services, Safe Ride and access to news publications past paywalls.

ASMSU marketing director Caitlin Finerty said the allocation will help support giveaways. It also purchases 50 ASMSU signs to be displayed within Capital Area Transportation Authority buses.

The bill passed unanimously.

Spartan Flow and Glow

Last spring was the inaugural Spartan Flow and Glow event, hosted by the Office of Spartan Experience. The event featured a glow-in-the-dark roller skating rink, various glow-in-the-dark sports in IM East and T-shirts. 

Introduced by International Students Association Rep. Kapale, this bill would provide monetary support for the event. The overwhelming student turnout and the success of last year’s Spartan Flow and Glow should continue this year, Kapale said.

“Especially with the large amount of freshmen that we now have ... it’s important for them to be able to go out to these events and get more involved at MSU,” Asian Pacific American Student Organization Rep. Le said. 

The bill passed.

Alleyway string lights in East Lansing

Introduced by ASMSU Vice President for Governmental Affairs Sophia Strach, this bill grants $2,500 to the city of East Lansing to install string lights in the alleyways around Grand River. 

The partnership with the city will not only increase student safety but also improve the university’s relationship with East Lansing, according to Strach.

“If you’ve ever been in the alleyway in the city of East Lansing, it’s not necessarily the safest place for a lot of people,” Rep. Prestly said. “Especially with the sun setting earlier and earlier, it’s crucial to help students stay safe in these areas.”

The bill passed unanimously.

Encouraging student health on campus

Three bills that advocate for student health were passed unanimously.

Accessibility to safe sex resources on campus

Two bills introduced by Rep. Prestly advocate for greater accessibility to condoms and other safe sex resources on campus. The first bill calls upon the university to implement free condom dispensers in private locations throughout campus. The second calls upon the university to increase supply of internal and external condoms, dental dams and lubrication at every Sparty’s convenience store.

“There are only a few places that are accessible to students regularly and even fewer that are accessible after the university office hours close and so this just makes it one step further to being accessible to all of our students,” Prestly said.

The goal of these bills is to foster a more safe sex-positive campus, Prestly said. While the process of implementing condom dispensers across campus is underway, Prestly said he hopes to see increased supplies at Sparty’s almost immediately.

“This can be advocated for right away and we can see a more immediate response that hopefully could be implemented by the end of the year,” Prestly said.

Both bills passed unanimously. 

Communicable disease tracking data transparency

Introduced by the Council of Students with Disabilities Rep. Tocco, this bill advocates for wastewater tracking data on cases of the COVID-19 and influenza viruses to be publicly available to students via the MSU website.

“We have not seen any data from the dashboard tracking COVID-19 since the federal funding ran out for it back in May,” Tocco said. “What I want to accomplish with this bill is to broadcast a general understanding of transmission rates of COVID, flu and other diseases on campus.”

Publishing data on communicable diseases will empower students to make more informed and healthy decisions and keep immunocompromised students safe, according to Tocco.

The bill passed unanimously.

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American/Asian Heritage Month recognition

A bill to recognize March and April as Asian Pacific Islander Desi American/Asian, or APIDA/A, Heritage Month on campus was introduced by Rep. Le. 

Nationally, the month is celebrated in May, which does not allow APIDA/A students to celebrate on campus, Le said. 

“This last month of November was Native American Heritage Month and my own community has seen how that has benefitted us on campus in regard to ... the recognition that we have from other campus communities,” North American Indigenous Students Association Rep. Quijas said.

The bill passed unanimously. APASO plans to host events in March and April to celebrate the APIDA/A culture.

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