Tuesday night, in what became a very tense meeting over the controversial funding bill directed at the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club, the bill was finally killed in Student Congress. The bill, which was vetoed by SBP Will Leimenstoll, did not achieve the needed 2/3 majority to override his veto.
The meeting began with the vote on censure of both Speaker Paige Comparato and Speaker Pro-Tempore Connor Brady. After a very passionate argument in the Ethics Committee, it was no less passionate on the floor of full congress. In order to override the censures issued by the Ethics Committee, both members needed a 2/3 majority to be cleared of wrongdoing. The Speaker’s override failed with 12 yeas, 15 nays with 7 abstentions. The Speaker Pro-Tempore’s override of the committee’s decision also failed on a 14 yeas 17 nays vote with 3 abstentions.
The next order of business was the overturn of Leimenstoll’s veto of the bill. The discussion was no less passionate than the original debate, but many of the same arguments on both sides. The motion to overturn the veto went up for a vote and lost with 13 yeas, 18 nays, and 1 abstention.
After this humiliating defeat, in which several of the original proponents and co-sponsors of the bill switched their votes, many believed that the bill had finally fallen. The bill’s main sponsor, Austin Root, however, was not willing to accept defeat. He motioned to reconsider, which stunned many of the members, because once a bill has left the body, then is vetoed, and then veto is sustained, the bill is dead. Despite the fact that this has been precedent for almost any functioning legislative body in the United States, the Speaker agreed to the motion. Almost immediately, an argument broke on whether or not this was correct proceeding.
Suddenly several members motioned to override the presiding officer, in this case Speaker Camparato. A quiet but tense hush fell over the Congress as the motion to override the Speakers ruling came up for a vote. This vote needed a 2/3 majority, but it fell with 13 yeas, 15 nays, and 4 abstentions. Obviously angered and shaken by the vote, the Speaker allowed the motion to reconsider the bill to continue. With a 13 yeas, 15 nays and 4-abstention vote, the motion, failed. The bill was dead, again.
After the vote, the 20 or more members of the Pistol Club proceeded to celebrate in the hallway during a short recess so that members of the club could exit the room without causing disturbance. This was a major victory for the Club.
UPDATE: The court case that was filed by the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol in the Student Supreme Court against Student Congress has been dropped.