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Members of Ohio University's Student Senate, sit around a table during their meeting, Sept. 13, 2023.

Student senate passes bills on disclosure forms, Athens waste contracts

Student Senate met Wednesday to discuss and pass two separate bills within the Governmental Affairs and Environmental Affairs commissions. 

The first bill discussed by the Senate was introduced by the Governmental Affairs Commission and would enact a section of House Bill 27, which would require state and institutions of higher education to provide financial costs and disclosure forms.

Donald Theisen, a governmental affairs senator, was the primary sponsor of the bill, and he explained to Senate exactly what the passage of the bill would do for future students who enroll at Ohio University. 

“The bill seeks to increase the transparency regarding the finances of college enrollment,” Theisen said. “Following the passage of this bill, any student (who) has been accepted into an Ohio public institution of higher learning will receive a form information of current and future costs.”

Dan Gordillo, governmental affairs commissioner, was the secondary sponsor of the bill. He stressed the importance of the bill and how it is bipartisan in nature, which means it is being supported by members of both the Democratic and Republican parties within his commission. 

“It is important to note as well that my extremely politically diverse commission voted five-nothing to support this bill,” Gordillo said. “I believe that if my commission – and more importantly Republicans and Democrats – can support this bill, then so can you.”

After a few friendly amendments made by various members of the senate, and inquiries about the bill itself, the Senate passed the bill. 

The second bill senate discussed was introduced by Environmental Affairs Commissioner Caden Hibbs.

The bill was in favor of the Senate supporting the creation of a council of governance that would help replace Athens’ contract with Rumpke, its current waste management provider, and reinstate Athens-Hocking Recycling Center, or AHRC, as the city’s first choice for waste management. 

A copy of the resolution will be sent to Mayor Steve Patterson and other Athens officials.

To show the importance of this bill, Hibbs gathered several student testimonies in favor of supporting AHRC as the city’s sole provider for waste management. 

“Rumke is a monopoly in Ohio showing a consistent pattern of taking over solid waste treatment in small towns and then spiking the prices after they have established their grounds,” Caden said on behalf of Catherine Galla, an OU student.

Ava Wood, an environmental affairs senator, also spoke about the importance of the bill and why the senate should vote in its favor after hearing students’ opinions. 

“I urge you to support this bill as it reflects our dedication as Student Senate to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and community empowerment,” Wood said.

Again, after the approval of several friendly amendments and inquiries about some technicalities within the bill, the Senate voted on and passed the bill.


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