On Feb. 24, ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom vetoed Senate Bill #41 (SB 41), a measure that passed through senate with a 10-0-2 vote. The bill called for more ASUCD transparency by amending the bylaws to somewhat mirror California’s Brown Act of 2003, which calls for open meetings for local government bodies. In the case of SB 41, all meetings of the ASUCD senate and its subordinate bodies would have to be announced, with an agenda, 48 hours prior to them taking place.
In her veto message, Sandstrom cited logistical issues with being able to publish agendas on time for Monday Internal Affairs Commission meetings, because the Student Government Administrative Office is closed on Fridays. Sandstrom also vetoed the bill because she took issue with the use of the word “crippling” in it, a word she called “politically incorrect.”
If Sandstrom has issues with the wording of the bill, why would she wait until after senate passed it to bring up her concerns? Senate had discussed SB 41 for weeks before passing it, amending the language throughout the process. You would think our president would be aware of pending legislation before it hits her desk.
Additionally, senate passed SB 41 — not even one senator voted against it. We’re all for checks and balances, but vetoing a bill passed almost unanimously through senate is irresponsible and wholly unrepresentative of senate and its constituents: us, the UC Davis students. The fact that our student body president vetoed a resolution that would make ASUCD more transparent as a whole is telling within itself and is downright embarrassing.
The issue of transparency is not confined within senate. During the last two weeks, both Ballot Measure 1’s supporters and opponents have attempted to obtain specific election data from ASUCD Election Committee Chair Eric Renslo. They asked for a breakdown of the votes by day, especially on the first day of elections, Feb. 18, when there were initial issues with voters accidentally abstaining from voting on Measure 1. Renslo, through Creative Media, released only the basic data from the election — the number of votes for each senate and executive ticket candidate and the number of yes, no and abstention votes for Ballot Measure 1.
When asked, Renslo refused to release further information, referencing the ASUCD bylaws and constitution and claiming the lack of precedence. Arguing that something cannot be accomplished because it is not specifically addressed in the bylaws is ridiculous. Having no precedent for something does not imply that one cannot be set.
ASUCD has taken steps toward making itself more transparent and accountable — SB 41 is evidence of that. We appreciate that the current senators have tried to enact legislation to promote transparency, but we hope that the next table and administration will be more successful.