The Michigan Student Assembly voted last night to adopt a new compiled code that fundamentally alters the structure of the assembly — strengthening the divide between MSA’s executive and legislative branches.

Under the compiled code approved last night, MSA executives will no longer have a vote on the assembly or preside over MSA meetings. Instead, the legislative assembly will elect its own officers, the speaker and vice speaker of the assembly.

MSA will begin operating under the new code beginning at the MSA meeting on Nov. 30. In this transitional period, MSA President Chris Armstrong will no longer lead assembly meetings. Instead, the speaker and vice speaker will preside over the meetings.

At last night’s meeting, the assembly elected LSA Rep. DeAndree Watson and Engineering Rep. Sean Walser interim speaker of the assembly and interim vice speaker of the assembly, respectively.

Though MSA’s new constitution, which dictates the ideals behind the compiled code, doesn’t technically take effect until March, by implementing the compiled code last night the changes dictated by the constitution were essentially put into practice.

At last night’s meeting, Watson said that he hopes to streamline the assembly and make it more responsive to students’ needs.

“A lot of people (on the assembly) aren’t communicating. I think the role of the speaker is to really get those people to work together,” Watson said, “to basically create a system where the students can get more from the assembly by people working collectively and also to lead the assembly through this transition period.”

Watson said that his primary goals would be to engage University students who feel alienated from MSA and hold assembly members accountable for attendance and voting records by posting them on MSA’s website.

“The first thing I want to do is hold these town hall meetings every month so the students can know what the assembly is doing, so the students can be updated on what their representatives are doing,” Watson said in an interview after the meeting. “Another thing I want to do is to post the attendance records with excuses that representatives give on the website, so the students can know who’s attending the meetings, and who’s not attending the meetings.”

While MSA executives will no longer have a vote in the assembly, the MSA president will have power over new legislation and will serve an advisory role at MSA meetings. Committees will operate within the legislative branch of the assembly and commissions as part of the executive branch.

The new code also redistributed the MSA budget, directing more money to discretionary spending. Additionally, under the new constitution elections for MSA members will no longer be staggered. Instead, MSA will hold elections once in March for all positions.

— Julie Halsey contributed to this report.

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