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The Daily Tar Heel

Student Congress passes funding bill for organizations receiving money

The mere mention of additional paperwork triggers intense groaning, and at Tuesday’s Student Congress meeting, some members noted that a new funding bill would do just that.

Passing with a 15-9 vote, a bill to establish a post-event appropriations report will be enacted Aug. 1. The bill requires organizations that receive partial or full Student Congress funding for events to fill out a report 60 days after each event.

The bill exempts organizations receiving partial or full Student Congress funding for meetings.

Conor Winters, a member of Student Congress who introduced the bill, emphasized the support it had already garnered.

“This is a form of accountability that will speed up finance (committee) meetings,” Winters said. “I reached out to 50 groups, and nine of 10 groups who responded supported this.”

But the room was not packed with advocates, as some members remained unconvinced such a bill was even necessary.

Peter McClelland, a member of Student Congress, raised several questions about the bill’s content and Winters’ claims of support.

“Are there any reports right now of funds being misused? Is it entirely just a hypothetical thing, or are there tangible examples of things being misused?” McClelland said.

“My (College Republicans) treasurer received this in an email, and it didn’t have any specifics on the bill. It had the gist of the bill, but the actual bill wasn’t attached.”

The repercussions of the bill include extending the length of already lengthy Student Congress meetings, said Stephen Deal, a member of the finance committee.

“In finance committee, often times it feels like we’re telling them, you can use this fund for whatever, you know, maybe supplies or travel,” Deal said.

“If we do change that, finance meetings will last even longer than they already do.”

Walker Swain, vice chairman of the oversight and advocacy committee, was befuddled by any objections to the bill.

“I’m not sure what there is to object to,” Swain said. “It blows my mind that we don’t have something in place like this already. We’re doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars, why wouldn’t we have a post-appropriation accountability measure?”

Swain was motivated by the potential for the bill to activate his own committee.

“Tonight’s bill would give OAC something to do,” Swain said. “I don’t mean that by we have nothing to do. It would make OAC a committee with a little more teeth.”

After students hashed out the bill’s qualms and potential in the realm of accountability, the bill was passed, and Speaker of Student Congress Connor Brady said it would be sent to Student Body President Christy Lambden.

Student Congress spent most of its meeting debating the bill, but also received a brief report from student body treasurer Matt Farley.

Lambden told Farley via telephone, who then told members of Student Congress, that he and his ‘crew’ would be going to the town council March 24 to petition against the Chapel Hill housing ordinance, which prevents more than four unrelated people from living in the same house.

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