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The SGA Debate was hosted by SGA and Georgia Political Review on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. Executive tickets ACT and Empower discussed their campaign platforms and initiatives. (Photo/Jason Born)

A few weeks ago, the University of Georgia Student Government Association Senate voted in favor of a constitutional amendment allowing the Senate to elect its own presiding officer and return power to the chamber closest to the student body.

This amendment would allow the Senate to elect its own presiding officer, a President of the Senate elected by the Senate to maximize the effectiveness and productivity of Senate. The issues plaguing Senate are institutional and cannot be solved by incremental changes as some have proposed.

These structural issues facing the Senate are debilitating and preventing it from fully serving the student body. The Senate needs this constitutional amendment.

Currently, the vice president presides over the Senate, just as the system exists at the federal level, but there are several inconsistencies that render our system incomparable to that of the United States Senate. Firstly, the vice president of the United States does not regularly preside over the Senate, whereas our vice president of the SGA does during each session.

In terms of the political science behind this change, extensive research has been conducted behind how arbitrary the inclusion of the vice president of the United States in the United States Senate was when our Founding Fathers drafted the constitution centuries ago. Research was done by Michael Lynch and Anthony Madonna within the UGA Political Science Department explaining this phenomenon in their research titled, The Vice President in the U.S. Senate: Examining the Consequences of Institutional Design.

The piece details the shortcomings of our current system as a result of its arbitrary implementation: “…as previously stated, concerns stemming from the vice president’s lack of accountability (via election by the chamber) largely went unaddressed. In sum, the need to centralize power in a chamber leader to overcome high collective action costs was not foreseen by advocates of the institution.”

The SGA is capable of achieving great things so long as it takes into account student input and works together to hear the voice of every Bulldog.

When you vote on the Involvement Network March 4-6, vote yes for the constitutional amendment “An Amendment Regarding the Presiding Officer of the Senate.”

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