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SGA talks budget and bills

SGA elected eight new senators and discussed important topics brought up in the semi-annual SAC meeting, including the budget proposal for the 2011-2012 school year, talk of changing requirements for HOPE and a proposed Georgia House bill that would allow guns on campus.
The first report of the night came from President Kelli Cody, who recently attended a SAC (Student Advisory Council) meeting and brought back new information for the senate. President Cody reported that the budget proposal for the 2011-2012 school year is 2.8 billion dollars and if this amount is approved, there will be no increase in Furlough days for that school year.
One of the major issues President Cody brought back from the SAC meeting was the proposal of a House bill that will allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun, not only on school campuses, but also to churches and some government buildings. According to President Cody, only three SGA presidents who were in attendance of the SAC meeting were in agreement with this bill; the other presidents drafted a formal resolution that agrees with the current rules that the Board of Regents has set for weapons on campus.
President Cody also informed the senate that HOPE requirements and funding were discussed in the SAC meeting. While there will always be money for HOPE, the Board of Regents is concerned that within the next two years, there will be more students than the amount of funding available. As preparation for this issue, there has been talk of raising requirements for HOPE and also researching new ways to fund the scholarship. Board of Regents also discussed possibly doing away with the Regents test in two years, because of new core class requirements in the high schools.
President Cody went on to suggest a new committee that will serve as a sort of “mini city council,” consisting of members of SGA and other students on campus, to work with the city council of Valdosta.
“The city and the school don’t have great relations,” said President Cody. “I really think it’s important that we work together to have a better relationship, and a great way to do that would be to have a committee with members who attend all the city council meetings and let them know that we care and want to work with them.”
After President Cody completed her reports, SGA moved on to fill eight open senate seats. First, more nominations were made and the SGA heard short speeches from each candidate and also received time to ask questions. After all the nominees left the room, the senate voted in the following new senators: Demario Jones, Storm Richardson, Deandre Jones, William Gilbert, Rachel Holley, Josh Drawdy, Austin Tilton, and Craig Black.
SGA also heard several committee reports and were reminded of important dates coming up, including Hearts for Haiti on Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., where students and faculty can purchase hearts in support of the recent events in Haiti, and the Night at the Apollo at 7 p.m. in the Bailey Science Center.
SGA meetings are open to all students and faculty and are held on Mondays at 8 p.m. in Meeting Room 1 of the Student Union.

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