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Student Association Consideres 15 New Bills, an SA Record

By Shawn Ness | April 15, 2024

Board of Finance Chair Shania Blair, Rules and Administration Chair Dylan Klein, and Comptroller Jason Lisciandro during debate over match line funding. 

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / The ASP

The University at Albany Student Association considered a record number of bills and resolutions on Wednesday, with 15 bills on the agenda, five of which were resolutions in support of various bills going through the state legislature.

Two of the bills directly call on the university to take big steps in both the healthcare and sustainability realm. 

Nearly all bills were sponsored by Rules and Administration Chair, Sen. Dylan Klein.

A Green New Deal for the Student Association:

This bill calls on the university to declare a “climate emergency” and urges them to take immediate action to protect and restore a safe climate. It was one of many bills sponsored by Klein.

SA is proposing that UAlbany goes carbon neutral by the year 2030. This bill went through uncontested and passed with 15 “yes” votes and three abstentions. 

Universal Healthcare for All Act:

This bill calls on the university to develop an implementation plan to provide free healthcare to students in the next five years.

The services would include but are not limited to: primary, reproductive, and sports injury care. 

“With the direction that this campus has gone in, that the Student Association has to pay for reproductive health care products for students because the university refuses to foot that bill, is disgusting,” Klein, the bill’s sponsor and self-described socialist, said.

Klein hopes that the university acts on the resolution, but he is not very optimistic.

“I think there is a small possibility that we actually get a five year implementation plan,” Klein said. “I wanted to pass this and throw it on [Dr. Michael] Christakis’ desk, and say ‘free healthcare, c’mon let’s go, you can do this.’”

The bill passed via unanimous consent (UC). 

The only bill with real contention on the agenda was one that adds a new line of SA funding for student organizations. 

Appropriations Bylaw Changes:

The bill amends sections of the SA constitution to add a deposit and match line of funding designed to encourage organizations to host their own events to raise money that SA would then match. 

The line is capped out at $500 per group, so if a student organization hosts a bake sale and raises $500, SA would then match and give the group another $500.

Klein took issue with the bill, saying that if the body is willing to give up to $500, why not just give it to them instead of making them work for it.

“Why are we creating a new line when we can just fully fund students from the external budget,” Klein said. “We cut $76,000 [from the budget] but we want to match for bake sales? Is this middle school?”

Sen. Shania Blair, the chair of the Board of Finance, said that it was a good way to encourage student groups to host more events. 

“This is another way to encourage different types of fundraising that may start to gain more traction through this line,” Blair said. 

Sen. Emma Rennard agreed with Blair, and said that the new line would provide additional security for smaller organizations that cannot get the funding they want directly from the body. 

Klein actually made a motion to table the bill entirely, which failed as no other Senator seconded his motion. He then said that so long as the match line funding provision was included in the bill, he would vote against it. 

Blair told the ASP that not only would the new funding line encourage organizations to host more events, but would also work to generate new ways of fundraising outside of a bake sale, as the number of bake sales that an organization can do is limited starting next year. 

The bill passed with 13 “yes” votes, three “no” votes, and one abstention. 

Klein, as well as Sens. Gabriel Kitt and Fox Rifenberg-Stempel voted against the bill.


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