SG supports reducing penalty for under-age alcohol offenses

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Photo Credit: Andrea Velgis | Daily Texan Staff

Student Government had an eventful meeting Tuesday night with six new pieces of legislation on topics from organ donation to underage drinking.

SG announced its support of Texas House Bill 1938, which would create an opt-out organ donation policy on driver’s license registration, making organ donation the default option on all driver’s licenses for those 18 years or older.

Nursing senior Kelsey Mumford, representative from the School of Nursing, said HB 1938 is a bipartisan bill awaiting committee hearing.

“The age group that college students are in constitutes the highest percentage of registered organ donors right now,” Mumford said. “Students are already leading the way to increasing organ donation rates in Texas … (The bill simply) changes the wording in the Texas Transportation Code.”

Assembly resolution 2 is in support of Texas HB 1999 to reduce the penalty for a minor for purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction for the first and second violations. The third violation would remain a Class C misdemeanor but not result in jail time.

Santiago Rosales, new SG chief of staff, said HB 1999 would provide benefits to minors who are caught in situations not entirely in their control.

“Keeping those reasons in mind, there is a push in the Legislature to lower the offenses so people who find themselves in these situations don’t find themselves out of jobs or scholarships,” finance junior Rosales said. “Really, the way we should be approaching these issues is as public health issues instead of criminal issues.”

In addition, SG introduced A.R. 3 to implement a system to display declared minors and certificates on student transcripts and A.R. 4 to eliminate guessing penalties on grades in “flipped” classes in which students learn through out-of-class content.

SG proposed A.R. 5 , which commemorated Margaret C. Berry, a distinguished alumna who died just after midnight Sunday at the age of 101, and A.R. 6 in support of UT joining the Energy Olympiad Competition, an innovation-based pitch competition to foster energy initiatives.

“The goal is to put UT as one of the premier energy leaders,” petroleum engineering sophomore Karan Jerath said. “Not only will it put UT on the map as an energy school, it will also help in terms of recruiting bright minds because one component is getting high schoolers involved as well.”

SG also appointed its new Executive Board at the meeting.