By Makayla Mason
The LEAP Ambassadors are engaged in our community, especially when it comes to governmental affairs. Every spring the Leapsters conduct a mock city council in order to allow SHSU students to understand the challenges of being in City Council, the parliamentary procedures involved, how city ordinances are addressed, and many other aspects.
As we arrived at Huntsville’s City Hall, each student mentally prepared to take on their designated role. Everyone represented a different elected official or city staff member, and had done research in order to appropriately represent their position. And so, surrounded by the pictures of former Huntsville City Councils and a portrait of Sam Houston to motivate us to do our best, we began with our pledges.
Chase, our city mayor for the night, banged the gavel and we began our proceedings.
While Professor Yawn, former City Secretary Stephanie Fors, and former City Attorney Thomas Leeper had to interject a few times, the LEAP Ambassadors and fellow students conducted the mock city council well.
The topic of interest that every council member had to keep in mind was whether to pass a newly proposed city ordinance: (Mock) Ordinance No. 2018-143. This ordinance would make it unlawful for certain sex offenders to reside within 2,000 feet of where children gather, with punishments allotted at a $2,000 fine per day of violation.
After a few questions for the Police Chief, Makayla Mason, and discussion among the council members, the council voted in favor of the ordinance.
Following the passing of the ordinance, Christina Perez, acting as a lawyer who sued 42 other cities who had enacted a 2,000 feet residence restriction on sex offenders, urged the council to revoke their decision and reconsider.
The night was filled with learning opportunities as the students enjoyed having the opportunity to conduct a Mock City Council at City Hall, in the very place Huntsville City Council conducts their meetings. Many thanks to Stephanie Fors and Thomas Leeper for their guidance and assistance!