SGA Lobbies General Assembly on USM Advocacy Day

Representatives of Frostburg State University’s Student Government Association visited the Maryland Statehouse on Feb. 11 to lobby the Maryland General Assembly for FSU student interests.

“USM Advocacy Day is a great event because it allows student representatives the opportunity to speak directly with state legislators,” said SGA President James Kirk. “This was the first year that students, faculty, staff, and the USM Foundation coordinated to hold a unified advocacy event.  There was a strong showing from all of the state institutions, and I believe we sent a clear message that higher education matters and is worth investing in.”

Alongside other members of the University of Maryland Student Council, a group made up of other student governments in USM, FSU’s SGA representatives advocated for more funding for USM schools, as well as for two specific bills that are in the committee stage.

“While we were in Annapolis, we had the opportunity to speak with Delegate Jason Buckel, whose district includes Frostburg, as well as Delegates Carol Krimm and Antonio Hayes,” he said. “Krimm and Hayes both graduated from FSU, so it’s exciting to have alumni support at that level.”

Governor Larry Hogan’s budget will give the University System of Maryland sufficient funds to operate with a two percent tuition increase at most institutions, according to info provided by USMSC. Hogan’s budget will provide a 2.5 percent merit increase to state employees.

House Bill 544 would make the purchase of textbooks tax-free during a set period before winter and spring semesters. “We expressed our desire that tax-cuts should apply to third party retailers as opposed to just books in the university bookstore,” Kirk said. 

Senate Bill 646 would establish a tax incentive for business to offer paid internships to students.

Both bills are still in the committee stage. After they pass through the committee process, they would have to be passed by both houses before going to Governor Hogan’s desk to be signed.

“It’s our hope moving forward that SGA  can become more involved politically, and we will continue working to advocate on behalf of students to lawmakers at both the state and local level,” Kirk said.

Featured picture credited to Nick DeMichele.

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