After much debate, the House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday night to re-authorize the emergency relief to members of the student body affected by the Gulf Coast disaster.The bill appropriates $10,000 to establish the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Relief Fund.
One opponent, Thomas Guidry, a representative of the College of Science and Engineering, said it would go against a previous bill in effect.
Legislation passed in 2004 states: “No charitable contributions shall be made from the student body fund. Charitable contributions include, but are not limited to, payments to charitable organizations.”
Guidry filed a complaint Tuesday night on grounds that the bill is unconstitutional.
The argument was contradicted by SGA Treasurer Matthew Jacobson.
The representatives hold the power to set precedent over previous bills, Jacobson said.
An amendment to decrease the funds from $10,000 to $2,000 was presented to the House by Brian Andrew, university affairs chair, and failed to pass.
John Campbell, student advocacy chair, said that $10,000 was a large amount of money, and that it only covers those affected by Katrina and not other natural disasters.
Jacobson disagreed, saying the Student Government Association has plenty of money in the reserve, which is an overflow fund.
Four students thus far have received money from the relief fund and a fifth has applied. Of the $10,000 in the fund, $2,000 has been dispersed to the students, Jacobson said.
The fund was created to help the students affected by Katrina with expenses such as rent and phone charges, said Sebastian Moleski, elections and regulations chair.