Union students presented bills, debated issues and oversaw legislative sessions at the meeting of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature in Nashville last weekend, where Union won Best House Delegation.
“It really challenges you,” said Michael Adkisson, senior business administration major. “We all get certain ideas and views about issues from our parents and how we were raised, and it makes you ask how you really feel about it.”
Adkisson served as committee chairman at TISL, and this was his fourth year to participate in college. He said he started doing things with TISL in sixth grade and has continued ever since. Adkisson said the delegates at TISL always discuss controversial bills. He said drug and gun issues are almost always discussed.
“There’s always something about same sex-marriage, but then there’s things like whether we should get rid of Nathan Bedford Forrest Day,” Adkisson said. “It’s controversial, just not as high-profile.”
Garrett Wilson, sophomore business administration major, was one of two Union students to win the Carlisle Award. The award goes to the 10 best legislators based on the bills they presented and their participation in discussion. Tricia Willoughby, freshman nursing major, also won the award.
“I love debate and the whole legislative process,” Wilson said. “I always have.”
Wilson presented two bills at TISL. Both passed the house and the senate and were signed by the governor. One bill mandated vertical burials, and the other dealt with expungement for first-time criminal offenders. Wilson said both bills received a lot of debate.
“Vertical burial saves space, is more environmentally friendly and of course saves money,” Wilson said. “You could normally fit about 1,600 graves in a football field. Vertical burial increases that to 14,400.”
Logan Brasher, senior music education major, was elected last year to serve as speaker of the house and oversaw that area of legislation. Morgan Kroeger, senior Spanish and accounting major, was the senate clerk. In total, 16 Union students from various majors participated. Of the 15 bills Union presented, 13 passed.