The University of Maryland SGA introduced a bill Wednesday aiming to engage members in lobbying the Maryland General Assembly on legislation relevant to students.

Each year, the Student Government Association crafts a list of Maryland General Assembly legislation to lobby for focusing on issues important to students, according to SGA President Alexandra DeBus.

“All of these things are different facets that may affect the student experience at a university system Maryland college or university,” DeBus, a senior biochemistry major, said.

One of the most relevant general assembly bills to students is one that would grant collective bargaining rights to graduate students, among other groups, according to Chelsea Boyer, a sponsor of the SGA bill and a transfer representative.

For several years, graduate workers in the University System of Maryland have lobbied for a bill that would grant them collective bargaining rights, which would allow them to unionize.

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Boyer, a junior communication major, said the Cameron Carden Act was another bill important to students. This bill would allow students to withdraw from school under extenuating circumstances and receive reimbursement for tuition and fees.

Lucas Howarth, another sponsor of the SGA bill and the South Hill representative, also noted Maryland General Assembly bills focused on removing Maryland Correctional Enterprises from the list of preferred providers for certain state purchases or acquisitions.

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“We currently source pretty much all of the furniture in dorms and classrooms from prison labor, like private prison labor, and this bill would kind of put a damper on that,” Howarth, a junior government and politics major, said.

In 2020, students at this university started a petition that received more than 7,000 signatures, calling for the University System of Maryland to stop purchasing furniture built by people incarcerated in Maryland prisons, The Diamondback previously reported.

One of the ways the SGA plans on lobbying for these bills is “Ice Cream Day,” which will occur in March, according to Howarth. SGA members will hand out Maryland Dairy ice cream to Maryland General Assembly members while advocating for legislation.

“Anyone can come,” Boyer said. “It’s a really good event to connect [and] civically engage with the state government.”