Senate passes bills for dental services, Invest in Texas

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Invest in Texas members Suchi Sundaram, Sergio Cavazos, and Jaime Villarreal discuss their future plans for the newly passed resolution with the Senate of College Councils. Their main priority at the moment is to provide students in need with dental services. 

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

Senate of College Councils passed three substantial pieces of legislation Thursday night involving University Health Services, student involvement in the Texas Legislature and the Senate constitution.

Joint resolution 1605 passed unanimously in support of adding dental services to UT’s on-campus medical provider, University Health Services. According to the resolution, the verified services include regular office visits, root canals, x-rays and other dental health necessities.

English senior Austin Reynolds, vice president of Senate and co-author of JR 1605, said there has been overwhelming support from students in need of dental services.
Reynolds said the UHS office has received interest from companies that are willing to provide dental services at virtually no cost to students.

“The greatest benefit for us is that they will all pay for it, and the revenue will be going to the University Health center,” Reynolds said. “Overall, it’s just beneficial for students and faculty who can use these services.”

Reynolds said the University has considered bringing optical services to UHS as well.

Senate also passed joint resolution 1604 unanimously in support of the 2017 Invest in Texas Platform, a non-partisan campaign that advocates for student involvement through the University’s three Legislative Student Organizations at the Texas Legislature.

The Invest in Texas Platform is renewed every Texas legislative session by the three LSO’s, which includes Senate, Student Government and the Graduate Student Assembly, Senate President Sergio Cavazos said. 

Graduate student Suchi Sundaram, Invest in Texas co-director, said this year’s platform is based on affordability as well as health and wellness.

“Affordability comprises not only of tuition control by the Board of Regents as well as making sure we take into account tuition set-asides,” Sundaram said. “We want to make sure that tuition is set aside for financial aid.”

The platform is also in support of reducing sexual violence on campus, improving campus security and increasing access to mental health resources, Sundaram said.

The Senate constitution was also amended to create a more formal confirmation process for members of the Executive Board.

SB 1606 passed unanimously and will allow for two minutes of presentation time and three minutes of question and answer from the General Assembly during Executive
Board appointments.

Cavazos, who co-authored SB 1606, said the bill was written in the interest of transparency within the organization.

“We have an executive board that advocates for students University-wide,” Cavazos, a government senior, said. “It’s important that assemblies and councils have some sort of mechanism to know why we’re picking these people, so I think it’s a really proactive step in the right direction. Especially with a position like policy director receiving a stipend, it’s important to have that accountability.”

Senate discussed three additional resolutions to incentivize First-Year Interest Groups attendance at Voices Against Violence dialogue programs, to create online systems for scheduling advising appointments and to include information on the University Writing Center on syllabi of writing flag courses.

These resolutions will be voted on and Senate nominations for Executive Board will take place at the next General Assembly meeting on Feb. 23.