by Junelly Gonzalez
Members of the Benedictine University community traveled to Springfield, Ill. on Thursday, February 26 for Model Illinois Government (MIG). This is a legislative simulation that allows students from Illinois to take on the roles of State Senators and Representatives and decide on which bills to pass into law. The year of 2015 marks its 37th anniversary.
This three-night simulation takes place at the Capital Complex in Springfield and at the Hilton Hotel every spring semester during the last weekend in February, with nearly 300 students from over 20 colleges and universities joining together in the state capital.
This group of students was the largest delegation Benedictine has ever sent to MIG, with 20 delegates who attended. Additionally, this was the first year that delegates, Allie Klepec and Ryan Poro, wrote their own piece of legislation and got that legislation passed into law. Benedictine had delegates in leadership positions for the first time.
“This experience was simply amazing. The best part was having a Majority Leader in the Senate and Original Legislation that was passed into law from our very own delegates from Benedictine. I hope the Benedictine MIG group continues to grow. It is a lot of fun,” said freshman delegate, Juan Garcia.
MIG is unique to any other simulation of this kind because it offers a variety of opportunities.
“It was an amazing experience. To be able to be in the Old Capitol Building where Abraham Lincoln once stood and New Capitol Building where Barack Obama once was a Senator was an honor. Being part of the Senate gave me the opportunity to listen to both sides of an issue was pretty neat. I’m totally going next year and recommend others to go as well,” said freshman delegate, Karina Magana.
MIG began on Thursday, February 26th with an opening ceremony that brought in State Representative Mike Smiddy who shared his thoughts about state government, MIG and the importance of youth involvement in government.
The following day students were split up into Senate and House of Representatives committees that decided upon which bills would be passed to the floor of the chambers for debate.
In the Senate were delegates Juan Garcia, Cristina Garza and Karina Magana. Meanwhile in the House were delegates Hashim Arain, Alex Adkins, Stephanie Rhinesmith, Allie Klepec, Sarah Ray, Maya Kanaan, Ashley Hernandez, Kelsey Ambrose, Yatziri Molgado, Irsah Hayat, Paulina Pasecki, Nick Covert, Joseph Sanders, Derek Murphy, Sam Ortega and Ryan Poro. Each committee focused on a single subject, such as education, traffic or drugs, and then the committee reviews bills pertaining to that subject.
Students assembled on the floor of the House or Senate where they debate on whether or not to pass the selected bills into law, after the bills are selected.