The University of Central Florida's Student Government Association has opened a new era of cooperation between the three branches of government.
President Chris Clemente, Chief Justice Taylor Scimeca and Speaker of the Senate Crystian Cepeda met on Thursday in the SGA office to discuss upcoming issues and exchange information before the Senate meeting.
Last summer, Clemente vetoed two bills and one of those vetoes was overturned by the Senate. This led to a feeling of discord within the SGA. However, Thursday’s meeting suggests that relations aren’t as shaky as some believe.
“It’s good when we disagree,” Clemente said. “That’s exactly why I have the powers I have and exactly why the Senate has their powers.”
Cepeda agreed with Clemente’s view of the situation.
“That’s how government works,” Cepeda said. “It’s okay for branches to sometimes not agree on something but still be able to have meetings like this.”
The key point of the branch leader meetings is to increase the flow of information between the branches and for all three branches to be prepared for the following Senate meeting. The meetings hold importance to each branch individually.
Clemente said that having the opportunity to learn about bills before they go to the Senate for voting is the greatest benefit to the Executive Branch.
“It’s always good to know what’s being discussed,” Clemente said. “That way I can either engage in the conversation or simply wait until it comes to my desk.”
Scimeca said that the meetings help increase the Judicial Branch’s presence within the SGA. She echoed the idea that simply knowing what is happening will help everyone involved.
“We generally operate a little bit more behind the scenes,” Scimeca said. “These meetings help both of the other branches understand the university-wide committees that the justices are sitting on and how it can impact them, not only as students, but also student government as a whole.”
Cepeda said that the meetings give him an enhanced ability to answer questions that would normally be asked of the other branches during Senate meetings. This allows the Legislative Branch to have a connection with the other branches, even if those branches are unable to attend the Senate meeting.
“With all the three and four hour meetings, it’s tough for me to keep track of every question that I need to answer or follow up on,” Cepeda said. “Now I’ll be able to answer on the floor for someone if they’re absent.”
All three members confirmed that these cooperative meetings will continue in the future. They are scheduled for Thursday, prior to the Senate meeting.