4/5/13

Update on SB 65-70

UPDATE: The bill has been vetoed by Student Body President John Claybrook. Thank you for doing the right thing. You can read his open letter in The Eagle article reporting on the decision.


Initial reactions to SB 65-70: The Religious Funding Exemption Bill here.

Local media has continued to cover the hubbub around the Texas A&M Student Senate bill that passed Wednesday night, and I am impressed with the quality of their research and reporting. Today's cover story in The Eagle clarifies a number of things about the bill, including the fact that the student senators who wrote it didn't do their homework:
The bill's authors argued before the senate Wednesday night that students could already opt out of paying fees based on religious reasons, a fact A&M officials were not prepared to answer late Wednesday night. The ambiguity was cleared up Thursday. 
"I've been here for 40 years and I've never seen anything that would permit a student to opt out of paying a fee," said Bob Piwonka, executive director of Student Business Services. "I'm not aware of anything like that that allows a student to opt out of paying a specific fee." 
The university has a process that allows students to opt out of paying the university in various ways, but payment of a specific fee is not open to appeal, Piwonka said. Furthermore, the exceptional circumstances laid out in the appeal process do not include religious exemptions, he said, adding that he had no idea where the student senators got the idea. [emphasis mine]
So not only was it a bigoted, discriminatory piece of legislation, it was a piece of legislation not even based on facts. Slow clap for the senate. On the one hand, it is clear that this bill is going nowhere, which is a relief. On the other hand, it throws the bad faith of the authors into even sharper focus. The emotional harm of these events has already been inflicted, and our work here is far from done. We must continue to support the campus LGBT community in any way possible.

On a related positive note, Zedler withdrew his amendment to defund campus LGBT resource centers. It's a bad day for the bigots.