Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Student Bar Association: The Legislative Branch (Senate)


The Legislative Branch (Senate) of the Student Bar Association of the Appalachian School of Law

The Student Bar Council (SBC) of the Student Bar Association (SBA) consists of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

I discussed the Honor Court - the Judicial branch -- here.  I discussed the Executive branch here.

Representatives of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches must be in good standing as defined by the law school, including the ASL Academic Standards and the Honor Code. Failure to meet this standard results in immediate removal from office and replacement according to the SBA Constitution.

Voting and non-voting members of the SBC must attend all meetings, except for good cause. Absences in excess of four meetings per semester or two consecutive regularly scheduled meetings, without good cause, allows a majority vote of the Senate to remove the member.

The Senate

The Legislative branch of the SBC is known as the “Senate.”  The Senate consists of ten members, including three members elected from, and by, each class of the law school, plus the Vice-President.

All meetings of the Senate are open to any members of the SBA, faculty, administration and public, and the Secretary gives 3 days notice of each meeting.  To maintain transparency, the By-laws prohibit four or more Executive Officers and Senators from discussing pending old business outside scheduled meetings.

The Senate meets no less than once every two weeks when classes are in session.

Duties of the Senate

The Senate has all powers necessary and proper to carry on the functions of the SBA; serves as a sounding board of student opinion, and provides for an effective forum for grievances, complaints, suggestions, and problems which are not otherwise addressed; has the power to call for special elections to fill newly created or vacated positions on the Student Bar Council; and when making decisions about recognized ASL organizations, requires a member of the Senate to abstain from any decision if that member is an officer in the organization that is subject to the vote.

Voting

The Senate will have a majority of the members present before conducting any business; approves or denies all requests brought before the Senate with a simple majority vote, except as expressly provided in the Constitution and ancillary documents; and approves any proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote before holding an SBA Amendment Hearing and presenting the amendment to the full SBA for ratification.

An essential role for the Senate is approving appropriations for student organizational activities.  I discuss the By-law rules governing that process in another posting.

Associate Dean Sandy McGlothlin serves as the faculty advisor to the SBA and its officers.

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