The Student Government Association prepares to take on the capitol in hopes to enact change for the UCF student body in the week to come.
Day at the Capitol is "UCF SGA's largest annual direct advocacy student program,” according to SGA’s website. Student advocates are given the opportunity to interact with state senators and state representatives to discuss SGA’s legislative agenda.
“It is the biggest opportunity for people who aren’t normally involved to get involved in politics and involved in the real world," Senate President Pro Tempore Sierra Scott said.
On the legislative agenda includes three resolutions that focus on the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, excess credit hour surcharges and rerouting textbook taxes for on-campus building improvements.
The first resolution proposed is to expand the Bright Futures Scholarship Program to cover the cost of tuition for summer semesters. With 89,786 students in the state of Florida receiving the Bright Future Scholarship, the change would help relieve financial hardship and allow students to graduate within four years, according to SGA.
Scott, who attended last year’s Day at the Capitol, recalls her experience and how the Bright Futures Scholarship Program discussed with state representatives aided her in her financial struggle.
“I talked about how I couldn’t go to college because I didn’t have Bright Futures and later that year they ended up making it 100 percent [tuition covered under] Bright Futures,” Scott said.
The second resolution proposed is in regard to an excess credit hour surcharge provision for STEM and health majors. This will increase the credit rate from 110 percent to 120 percent, allowing students to take a total of 144 credit hours without having to pay an excess credit hour fee.
The third resolution proposed is allocating textbook tax revenue toward the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF), distributing it back into facilities that will help aid in academic success.
“It’s important to reallocate [funds] into something that goes back to the university,” Speaker of the Senate Josh Boloña said.
SGA members are working alongside graduate students and administration to discuss resolutions, one of them being showing support of college Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.
DACA is especially important to Boloña, who is a DACA recipient himself.
“Basically [we are] in support of collegiate DACA students." Boloña said. The resolution is meant to define what problems DACA students are going through and to help recipients with those problems.
Preparing for the Day at the Capitol on Nov. 15 in Tallahassee, Scott said she hopes attendees have time to talk to representatives and aides.
“The biggest takeaway from this is you get one on one time to talk to these representatives and talk to the senators and their aides and tell them how we feel about certain issues,” Scott said.
After discussing resolutions for Day at the Capitol, the senate passed four bills and one resolution on their second reading at Thursday's meeting.
Three bills that were passed on their third reading included two funding bills for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to construct a car for a competition in Kansas for a SGA contribution of $14,260, and to construct a Formula car for a competition in Michigan for a SGA contribution of $24,260.
Additionally, another bill passed on its third reading highlighted the funding for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). The bill limits the total amount of funding an RSO can receive to $38,640.64 coming from the Senate Accounts budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The next senate meeting will be held on Nov. 16, where the four bills and one resolution will be on notice for their third reading.