SGA selects bills to endorse at Tiger Pride Day 2024

By Gabriel Donahue, editor-in-chief, and Alexandra Momot, SGA reporter

At a nearly two-hour general assembly meeting, the Towson University Student Government Association voted Tuesday on which bills it would lobby for at its annual trip to the state capitol next month. 

Six bills were selected from Resolution 11 by the eight senators present for the vote. Resolution 11 listed 10 bills from the Maryland General Assembly’s current legislative session for consideration. 

Five were selected unanimously. These included House Bill 3, requiring “local jurisdictions to establish and implement a development review process for affordable housing developments,” and House Bill 92 to increase access to higher education for incarcerated individuals. 

The SGA will also endorse House Joint Resolution 2 to support a long-term ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. Several members commented on the responsibility of the university and the state to back a ceasefire. 

“The death toll in Palestine has risen to 27,000,” director Mina Bacha said. “Not only that, education there has been under attack since over 390 educational institutions have been destroyed … As students at a university, we should support this bill for an immediate, long-term ceasefire.” 

Similarly, Attorney General Jenna Jalloh considered a ceasefire a “moral imperative.”

“You shouldn’t ignore the countless individuals, families and communities shattered by this conflict,” she said. “Nor can we overlook the fundamental human rights that are being violated every single day.” 

After selecting the first five, members debated for the sixth and final bill to endorse, split between house bills 74 and 166. 

HB0074 would establish the Lifesaver Schools Program to recognize public schools that provide health and safety training to their students and staff, including CPR, first aid and mental health wellness programs.

HB166 would change the definition of a Tier 1 renewable energy source to exclude energy derived from burning trash. Baltimore’s BRESCO incinerator is currently classified as a renewable energy source, despite emitting an annual 653,000 tons of carbon dioxide, The Baltimore Brew reported

Sen. Alana Fithian Wilson suggested HB0074 may not be effective because it does not specify the amount of schools required to do the Lifesaver program. President Jordan Colquitt echoed similar sentiments. 

“Public schools in the state are already facing resource constraints,” Colquitt said. “Who’s to say they would even meet that Lifesaver designation?” 

However, Assistant Director Bernard Mkumbuzi re-emphasized the mental health aspect of the bill and its mention of peer mentoring programs that could offer essential service hour opportunities for those students’ college applications. 

Yet Assistant Director Aneisa Campbell suggested no legislation would matter at all “if we can’t save the earth.” 

Vice President Shawn Bell also supported HB166, citing “countless floods, more extreme weather phenomena, extreme heat, extreme drought and so on.” 

“Adding something like this will be very imperative,” he said. 

After opinions were heard from members across the SGA, it came down to a split vote wherein the senators selected HB166 5-3. 

Government Operations Chair Clifton Crosby Jr. then made a motion to amend Resolution 11 to endorse seven bills at Tiger Pride Day, but after some confusion, it was reverted back to six. 

Resolution 11 was introduced by Zachary Jackson, who the senate voted in 6-3 as the new appropriations chair earlier in the meeting.

At last year’s Tiger Pride Day, the SGA lobbied for bills to make information regarding Title IX reporting more accessible for K-12 students and allow Maryland college students who owe $1,000 or less to their universities to request and receive their transcript, The Towerlight reported.


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