SGA Senate fails to override budget veto

Moss Brennan, Reporter

The Student Government Association Senate failed to override Student Body President DeJon Milbourne’s veto of the 2019-20 budget at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

The override vote failed with 19 in favor, 14 against and two senators abstaining from voting. The Senate needed a two-thirds majority in favor to override the veto. 

“We’re going to have the opportunity to have a transparent process where everyone can know all the information (in creating a new budget),” Milbourne said. “It’s going to be black and white.” 

Senator Devin Mullins, who wrote the bill, said after the meeting he was disappointed with how the vote went because he and others put more hours into writing the budget bill than any other bill they have worked on. 

“The fact is the vote was still a majority. The Senate still supported it,” Mullins said. “So, the fact is, between now and then, the executive branch was able to change people’s minds on it.”

One of the main concerns among some cabinet members and senators was the allocation of scholarships. The budget would have moved money from cabinet members to Senate leadership positions. 

Cabinet members and Senate leadership positions would have gotten $1,200 in scholarships, while the president and vice president would have gotten $2,500. Last year, the president and vice president received $3,500 in scholarship and most cabinet members received around $1,350.

Milbourne said he does want Senate leadership positions to be paid in the future. 

Chief Financial Officer Francis Zamora said if her cabinet scholarship was reduced, she would probably have to quit SGA. 

“I do believe Senate leadership should get paid because they do a lot of work,” Zamora said. “Does it have to happen this year? I don’t think so.”

Zamora said she looks forward to bringing more people into meetings to create a budget. 

“I think a budget will be passed probably the first meeting next semester because we want the same things, we just have to do it in a way that will uplift the organization,” Milbourne said. 

During the Senate meeting, multiple senators spoke for and against overriding the veto. 

Senator Emily Hogan spoke in favor of the override during the meeting. After it ended, she said she was disappointed the override vote failed. 

Hogan said she also felt people were “intimidated by members of cabinet” to change their votes. 

Senator Benjamin Gonzalez Jr. spoke against overriding the veto during the meeting. After the meeting, he said he would have voted to override the veto originally, but he went to a meeting Monday night and heard Milbourne say he was willing to compromise and have a more open dialogue.  

“I look forward, in the future, to having more cooperation between the executive and legislative branches,” Gonzalez Jr. said.