#WAHSMoCo15: It’s That Time Again

Senior students put on their Sunday best this morning to prepare for a day of debating and voting in Western’s annual Model Congress.  At Model Congress, students put themselves in the shoes of actual government leaders. The events have now gone into full swing, with students arguing about controversial issues and rallying for bipartisan support to ensure their bills are passed.  Let’s see how they do.  From voting to prom-posals, we’ll be updating this story all day.

Senate Judiciary Committee, 2:45

As the Senate began its second floor session, discussion started on HB the Electoral College Reform Act. This House-originated bill, sponsored by Ian McKechnie, focuses on the Electoral College, the method of electing the U.S. President. The bill focuses on splitting electoral votes in each state, rather than the current winner-take-all system. The Democratic party supported this bill as a progressive reform; Isaac Rowlingson quoted Bob Dylan as saying “the times, they are a’changing,” while Emma Gore emphasized the Constitution as a changing document. However, the Republican party opposed this by claiming that small states will lose power. As this bill was a Constitutional Amendment, it required a 2/3 majority to pass; after a role call vote, however, the bill failed to gain this necessary majority.

Olivia Gallmeyer

Republican Caucus, 12:06

Regarding the House Bill 459 there was a very torn House with most Republicans opposing the bill with arguments such as Carter Berry’s: “We don’t want Democrats shoving needles into our bodies.” While most Democrats favored the bill with arguments such as Tatum Norris’ emphasis on the dangers of public schools with multiple children with autoimmune deficency and health issues that could become fatal with spreading of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines for all. The bill was passed.

A bill by Josh Casteen was quickly passed due to agreement by both the Republican and Democratic parties. The bill bans the use of technology while driving to promote safety from accidents involving distracted drivers.

Bill H-B 517,  mandating online registration of voting for all states, created a heated debate. The bill was passed.

-Madeline Hamer and Shannon Durazo

House Judiciary Committee, 11:53

Early this morning about 20 representatives met in the House Judiciary Committee to discuss many diverse issues and ideas. The discussion was relatively tranquil, as the first two bills were passed with not many “nays” from the people of the house, until an argument broke out about a bill proposing equal pay for women, and a fair opportunity for women to sue companies that show inequality. This brought on debate about privacy and financial issues, and even debate about some people in the room being “sexist”, and the bill did not pass. Maybe the quote of the morning, though, was when a bill about cops being required to wear body cameras came up. One delegate in the room asked, “What if the cop turns and the camera on him accidently sees a naked kid through a window and everyone sees it on YouTube?” Everyone laughed for the next two minutes.

-Tyler Phillips

Republican Caucus, 11:27

At the first Republican Caucus meeting Senate Republicans met to discuss bills and decide what they would be supporting, and opposing in the Floor Sessions. Republicans trashed bills on taxes and environmental regulations, such as Democratic Senator Seamore Zhu’s bill, which would require public schools to teach climate change in science classes. Seamore said, “I think we know it’s real.” He expressed how foolish it was to ignore it, but accepted that it was unlikely to be supported by Republicans, but had a lot of Democratic support. “Hopefully it will pass.”

-Tim DeSimone

House National Security/International Relations Committee, 11:25

This morning in the national security/international relations room, bills were passed left and right. One bill that was highly debated concerned abolishing solitary confinement for the youth and mentally ill inmates. This bill passed easily with supportive key points including a more prosperous economy by saving almost a hundred million dollars and the mental state of young/mentally unstable prisoners. Issues some people had with this bill involved the diagnosis of “mentally ill” people. One of the bills discussed this morning, which involved cyberbullying and internet use with relation to personal rights and liberties, passed unanimously.

-Valerie Hajek

House and Senate Caucuses, 11:17

Holland Corbett stands up and gives eloquent speech about his bill, receives applause.

Erix Xu: Acts like he is going to talk about bill, gives Promposal to Louise

-Shannon Durazo

Senate Finance Committee, 10:15

“60 thousand veterans on the streets is not the American way.” The Senate Finance Committee has just passed the bill of Senator Brennan Reid, SB 500 (better known as the Housing the Homeless Act.) Reid’s provisions include distributing the $4 billion currently allotted for aid to the homeless to be distributed to each state in order to provide permanent housing, education, jobs, and personal healthcare. The regulations of this bill aim for a 10% decrease in homelessness every two years. With Reid recently playing a mute homeless veteran in the fall production of Invisible Man, he’s well-versed in the plight of the homeless. As he says in his bill, “These people are human beings. Let’s treat them like it.”

Olivia Gallmeyer