Bill Hearing Night showcases SPASM’s Youth & Government program

Written by Alex Betts
Associate Sports Editor

SPHS students gathered together at Bill Hearing Night on Thursday, November 16, where they delivered speeches on bills they had created and discussed in previous weekly meetings. The event, hosted by the South Pasadena San Marino (SPASM) delegation of Youth & Government (Y&G),  was held at Oneonta Congregational Church and the South Pasadena YMCA.

After hearing speeches from delegates, guest panelists SPHS principal Janet Anderson, school board member Jon Primuth, Dave Harris, and Jordan Segall commented on the debatability, feasibility, and other factors that affect the appeal of the bills. Parents and constituents from the South Pasadena area also witnessed debates on several issues, including the rights of rivers, the introduction of music in school bathrooms, and controversial adaptations to California’s education and political systems.

The event was organized by parliamentarian and SPHS senior Eileen Zenas, and is the pinnacle of nearly three months of collaboration between SPASM delegates. Five of the thirteen bills presented at Bill Hearing Night will pass on to the statewide level in the Model Legislature & Court Senate and Assembly in Sacramento in February.

Bill Hearing Night is one of the few opportunities for parents to watch their students in action and understand what occurs in the popular, multifaceted Y&G program. The night provides a two-and-a-half hour hour synopsis of the Model Legislature aspect of Y&G through its demonstration of parliamentary procedure, formality, and dedication. The event allowed for all of the delegates of SPASM to speak.

“It was really great to see everyone’s hard work come together and turn into something all the delegates were excited and cared about. I’m really proud of how well [the delegates] did because [public speaking] can be really scary,” Zenas said.

In early October, Primuth tasked SPASM with creating a bill that addressed voting systems and racially-polarized voting.  The assignment followed the decision of the city of South Pasadena to adapt its voting system from an at-large system to a district-based system due to an alleged occurrence of racially polarized voting. The finalized piece of legislation aimed to amend “the existing [voting] system to determine polarized voting by adding a requirement of proof or pattern of bias, as well as a determination by a judicial official.” The bill was later passed, as well as bills regarding direct democracy, drug dogs, masturbation in jail, and voting by ranking.

SPASM delegates will attend their second Y&G conference, Training & Elections II, on Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 13-15).

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