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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

CHL bill topic of senate meeting

Students will have the opportunity to express their opinions on the Concealed Hand Gun License bill before the Texas Legislature.
Student Senate called for a student referendum with the passage of a bill at their meeting Wednesday night. With the referendum, students will be able to have their voices heard regarding the upcoming debate in the Texas Legislature.
Earlier in the 61st Session, Student Senate passed bills expressing student opinion on various bills in front of the state legislature, including tax-free textbooks and tuition prices. Most of these issues dealt with campuswide concerns shared by many students, and senators used their positions to pass the bills themselves.
The issue of concealed gun carry, however, is considered much more political in nature and divides students along partisan lines. Senators felt the need to take the question directly to the students for their input.
“This is something so political,” said Austin Carlson, chairman of the Rules and Regulations Committee. “This is U.S. political ideal versus U.S. political ideal. We weren’t elected on political ideals.”
The debate regarding the presence of concealed hand guns on campus has spread throughout the state, allowing many students to form their own opinions and stances.
“Students overwhelmingly have an opinion,” said Senator Tanner Wilson. “And when students overwhelmingly have an opinion and are informed, this is a completely appropriate action by the Senate.”
The bill calling for the referendum was not on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting because the bill was still in committee. Senators called it out of committee in order to take action while the 61st Senate was still in session.
“We pass this bill; we get student opinion; we don’t divide this body unnecessarily,” Senator Jess Fields said.
The call for a referendum passed with a vote of 51 for and one against. The referendum question will provide a brief synopsis of the bill before the Texas State House and Senate and ask students if they are in favor of the bill.
Senators had previously conducted an informal poll, in which 75 percent of the students polled expressed a desire for a student referendum.
“There is never a better way to get a student opinion than by a student referendum,” Carlson said. “We’re going to make a difference with this bill.”
The date for the referendum is yet to be set. It will occur within 10 class days, and will probably be available online during dead week.
During open session at the beginning of the meeting, Senator Alden Harris from the College of Science caucus resigned from his position. The 61st Session was preparing to impeach the senator because of accusations regarding his caucus election in the 62nd Session.
Harris submitted his resignation from the 61st Session after expressing discontent with recent conduct in Senate committees.
“We took an oath to serve the student body. We as a Senate have failed that oath. And I have failed that oath,” Harris said. “For the past several days, this has weighed heavily upon my conscience, and after much discernment and personal deliberation, it is with a heavy heart and deep regret that I announce my resignation from the 61st Session of the Student Senate of Texas A&M University effective immediately.”

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