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The third annual Gulf High School Model Congress met today in the band room and chorus room. Mrs. Alwood provided the following summary of events:

The first order of business was a Joint Resolution recognizing the spirit of Unity Day as a positive force creating dialog and breaking stereotypes at GHS, declaring this Unity Week.

The seniors and IB juniors started with about 280 bills. They went through the entire process of how a bill becomes a law starting with the bills being considered in committees early in the week. The committee system chipped those 280 bills down to 87 bills to be heard on the floors of the two houses today.

Fourteen bills passed and were “signed into law”: Resetting Children’s and School’s Paces by Briana Zupko, addressing the No Child Left Behind Act; A New Outlook on Disability by Emily Bahr; Steroid testing in Major League Baseball (all players) by Matthew Falzarano; Safe Drivers 65+ having biannual vision test by Justin Wells; Emergency Service Worker Pay Increase by Brian Pawlak; Harsher Punishment for Rape of Children by Alex Bennett; Free the Fish to prevent over-fishing and pollution of all U.S. Waterways by Thomas Pospisil; and Narrowing (all) Primaries to a two month time period for presidential elections by Alicia Roddenberg.

Other bills that passed were: Death Row Appeals limiting the time for appeals to five years which should allow at least one appeal by Jessica Levandowski-James; (Removal of) Jailhouse Privileges by Liz Worley; Gens for Guns by Thomas Flannery so that states cannot ban ownership of personal firearms; American Biotech Advancement by Jacqueline Hunt to advance stem cell research using umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells (no embryonic stem cells); Tax The Church of Scientology by Michelle Nolan based on the fees it charges members; EBT (Food Stamp) Realignment co-sponsored by Christa Goad and Clay McKinley; and, finally, one was passed by both houses overriding (with 2/3 vote of each house) the presidential veto. It was You Pollute, You Pay by Elissa Gadelha (the more industry pollutes, the more it pays in fines for compensation).

Officers were: President Jessica Levandowski-James; Speaker of the House Nikki Johnson; President of the Senate (vice president of the MC) Jessica Milford; Majority Leader of the House Shelby Foote; Majority Leader of the Senate Tamara Simunovic; Clerk of House Stephen Jecusco; Clerk of Senate Megan Gillespie; Sgt. At Arms of House Joshua Lords; and Sgt. At Arms of Senate Stephen Reid; Minority Leader of House Alicia Roddenberg. There were also many committee chairmen.