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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Student Government Judiciary Committee fails to hear legislation, nomination

Judiciary Committee Chair expresses frustration, concerns in the Replacement and Agenda Committee

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The UF Student Government Judiciary Committee could not hear the 14 pieces of legislation and one nomination awaiting consideration as it continues to fail to meet quorum. 

Some of the legislation regards student debt relief advocacy and indigenous land acknowledgment establishments. 

The June 2 meeting was called to order at 12:15 p.m. and adjourned at 12:18 p.m. by Judiciary Committee Chair Jonathan C. Stephens (Change-District D) because only four members were present and five members were required for quorum.

The other present members included Judiciary Vice Chairperson and Sen. Joaquin Rafaele Cecilia Marcelino (Change-District D), Sen. Timothy Sinclair (Change-CLAS) and Sen. Matt Reich (Gator-District D). 

Sen. Jacey Cable (Gator-Journalism), and Joah Levine, the former Gator-affiliated Senator for Beaty Towers who recently was excluded from the Senate roster, were not present at the meeting. 

The committee reviews all non-budgetary bills, resolutions and proposed constitutional amendments submitted to the Senate. They also review the qualifications of all executive nominations to the judicial branch and determine if they are qualified to hold office.

Ethan Halle, the nominee for Supervisor of Elections, still cannot be considered in the Senate due to the lack of a meeting. He served as supervisor of elections in the previous two elections.

Stephens expressed in an email sent after the June 2 meeting that the current situation with the committee is beyond unorthodox.

“I empathize with how frustrating it has been for legislation, nomination and other details to be finalized within our body,” Stephens wrote. “I will do my best to be an advocate to all of those who prioritize legislation within [their] tenure as senators and execute as many extraordinary measures as possible to ensure that our legislature can review these bills this cycle.” 

“The Judiciary Committee failed to meet quorum, and thus all reviews of legislation, Judicial nominees and preparation of Judiciary projects have been deferred to the Sunday Meeting,” they wrote. 

The June 4 Judiciary Committee meeting failed to meet quorum as well. 

Stephens did not anticipate the Sunday meeting to meet quorum given the lack of communication from certain committee members, they said. This is the third time the Judiciary Committee has failed to meet quorum since the summer cycle began, Stephens added. 

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Concerns continue to raise about issues senators have with certain nominees in other committees, along with failing to meet quorum.

In Stephen’s emails to Student Body President Olivia Green, they urge Green to open up the applications for the Graduate, Professional and Family Affairs. The current executive secretary nominee, Paul Camardo, faces disapproval from the Change Party. 

“Under my assessment of the situation, I could not see in any way how putting up Camardo would benefit the students,” Stephens wrote. “In fact, I feel that even the seat being emptied would be better than letting this person in.”

Comardo contends he is qualified, pointing to his track record that speaks for itself in early emails with Sen. Rachel Hartnett (Change-Graduate). 

Green stated in a previous email before the May 30 Senate meeting Camardo has shown to be receptive and ready to work towards helping students, specifically graduate students. 

Green also added there was only one other applicant, and that they had nowhere near the experience, relationships with administration nor eagerness Camardo did.

Prolonging the nominations actually hurt the ability for her to start working on graduate initiatives, and hurt Camardo as well, Green wrote. 

In an email addressed to Green, Stephens provided a screenshot of Camardo’s Instagram account, which had a bio that read “Hi Senate”. 

Stephens asked Green to review the attachment, which they saw as an attempt to create the situations within Student Government into some joke where he gets to taunt senators. 

They emphasized that if this is the professionalism Green is looking for in a nominee, then they have no words, they wrote. 

The Alligator reached out to Paul Camardo and has not received a response as of Sunday.

Contact Vivienne at vserret@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret.

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.


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