Among topics reviewed at the Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Committee meeting Monday was a negative response from a Wisconsin senator to legislation supported by the Associated Students of Madison and new initiatives in the works for transportation advancements on campus.
ASM Press Office Director David Gardner said he will work with ASM members to respond to statements made by Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, combating a provision passed in a bill by the Madison City Council this past summer.
Gardner said the provision, which was passed into law in July, requires landlords to include voter registration forms in the packet of materials a new tenant receives upon moving into a new house or apartment.
“As students we really value this ordinance,” Gardner said. “ASM passed legislation supporting this ordinance and it’s really important that we stay firm to that resolution.”
Gardner said ASM’s actions to support the legislation were in response to UW students’ complaints about confusion surrounding voter registration and voting locations. He said ASM received a number of comments from students who intended on voting but found the processes for registering under a new address confusing.
In a few instances, Gardner said, students just gave up voting altogether.
Gardner said these voter registration forms were a helpful student aid in the recent presidential election. He added the clerk’s office noted the success of the forms after many were returned to the office filled out.
According to Gardner, Grothman recently stated his objection to the ordinance, saying it is unlawful because it causes tenants to feel compelled to vote, an illegal action under State Statute 12.09(3). Grothman intends to take action to remove the provision under this statute if the courts do not do so, Gardner added.
“It helps us vote in numbers unprecedented,” Gardner said. “The fact that he proposes taking it down is against our values.”
Gardner said the first step ASM will take in halting Grothman’s initiatives against the ordinance will be a letter explaining the value of the ordinance and the overwhelming amount of student support for it.
He said the letter will show ASM maintains and will continue to support what it supported this summer in whatever contest Grothman brings forward. It will do this by contacting his office directly to explain ASM’s position, Gardner added.
Committee member Ryan Prestil then took the meeting floor to explain recent initiatives he is involved in in regard to campus transportation.
Prestil said the installation of kiosks at prominent campus locations to provide students with relevant transportation information, especially information on the popular bus system, is a significant advancement he hopes to see implemented in the upcoming year.
“[The kiosks] would help with things like whether you should wait inside or go to the bus now and decrease the amount of time you would be out in the cold,” Prestil said. “They would really increase the safety and convenience of the buses for everyone.”
Prestil said there are still various details to be worked out before ASM can think about installing the kiosks, but they are more likely to be put in locations that already have access to display screens near building entrances and exits, like most dorms.
Prestil said he hopes propositions for the kiosks will be approved quickly, and he would like to see these systems installed campuswide within a year.
“[The installation] depends on how fast buildings can get on board with this and how fast people themselves can get on board with it,” Prestil said. “I’m working on connecting the right people trying to push the process along.”