Senate heads to Capitol Hill

Michelle Conty

One organization asked Student Senate for funding this week.

The Student Nurses Association asked for reimbursement of $1,000 for a trip the group took Feb. 17-18 to Jefferson City. The students went to take part in Nurse Advocacy Day.

“We went to Jefferson City to learn about the legislative process and meet some of our legislatures,” said Chuck Hunt, senior nursing major and president of the Student Nurses Association.

“It was for nurses at the lowest level [in their careers],” he said. “how they could get involved in the legislative process to change laws and be advocates for patients and the nursing profession.”

Sixteen of the 31 student members attended the conference.

Andrew McGowan, Senate treasurer, recommended the maximum amount to be allocated to a club or organization, $1,000 leaving Senate a balance of $15,700.

The motion to allocate passed unanimously.

Sixteen senators attended the annual trip on Feb. 18-19 to Jefferson City.

While at the Capitol, senators toured the Capitol building, met with legislatures and toured the state prison.

“We discussed the state budget and the College gaining university status with eight of our local representatives and Sen. Gary Nodler,” said Zack Odem, Senate president.

“The legislatures wanted everyone to understand, if there are withholdings or cuts, it’s because of the governor’s discretion. The assembly doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

Senators were scheduled to meet with Rep. Bryan Stevenson. However, he was debating his bill (concerning Southern attaining university status) in committee at the time and was unable to meet with them.

“We discussed why higher education has been an easy target for budget cuts,” Odem said. “The reason why is simply because the constitution requires states to provide education through high school but not to state-funded colleges or universities. Also, you can raise tuition at a college but a high school doesn’t have that liberty.”

“Local colleges and universities are necessary to the region and economy,” he said.