The 65and The Associated Student Senate of New Mexico State University met for its first session of the new year on January 20. Appropriations for the ASNMSU Community Outreach Department and a resolution regarding the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act were passed.
Bill 82, passed by a 22-2 roll call vote, will award $2,000 to the Department of Community Outreach to attend the 2022 New Mexico Student Councils Association Conference in Albuquerque, New York. Mexico.
The conference, comprised of student councils from middle and high schools across the state, will host networking and outreach initiatives. The allocated funds will cover the expenses of six members and allow the department to educate prospective students about ASNMSU and its role in the university.
Senator Sophie Pettes, one of the bill’s sponsors, wrote in an email that she “was proud to sponsor this bill in honor of all the leadership skills he [past conferences] taught me to grow.”
Danielle Hamilton, Director of Community Outreach, presented the bill alongside Pettes and highlighted some of the benefits of the trip.
“For the high school side and those who attend the workshops, it [the conference] helps them bridge that gap and smooth the transition from high school to college, it helps them grow as people in the workshops we run,” Hamilton said. “It also provides a great opportunity to promote what ASNMSU is all about.”
The debate of the evening was not only Bill 82 but also Resolution 7 which elicited some mixed reactions.
Resolution 7, passed by a 21-3 recorded vote, will approve the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of the House of Representatives and urge the U.S. Senate to “use every tool available in its inbox.” tools” to pass voting reform legislation.
Senator Kaleb Herndon called for a recess to consider the resolution on the grounds that “ASNMSU is an impartial organization”.
Herndon argued that senators deserved to consider the resolution before sending it to Congress and state officials, but a vote for a 15-minute recess did not pass.
The resolution reads, “We strongly and fully endorse ‘The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act’ to ensure free, fair, and secure elections for all Aggies and Americans.”
Senator Adan Armijo, the sole sponsor of the resolution, said its passage is significant because of the impact the ASNMSU Senate can have on students regarding this issue.
“Having a platform as big as us, we need to make sure that to get the changes we want, we need to be able to vote fairly and securely and make sure it’s as easy as possible,” explained Armijo.
Armijo went on to say that this resolution will not only encourage students to exercise their right to vote, but also to feel confident that this right is protected.
“I think it will give them more access, I think especially with the times that we live in, good, bad or ugly, that we all have an opinion, and we should be able to make that opinion heard easily and fairly at the electoral box, wherever it is,” Armijo said.
The resolution further states that copies should be sent to both New Mexico senators, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, to show that the students want voting reform passed. Just last week, the US Senate failed to pass a voting bill that would have addressed some of the concerns outlined in Resolution 7.
Some of the other bills passed granted funds to the Indian Student Association, the Computer Science Graduate Student Organization, and the Psychology Graduate Student Organization. Graduate Senator Omid Jafari was the sponsor of most of these bills.
The next Senate meeting will be February 3 at 6 p.m. in the Corbett Senate Chambers.