By Jack Stephenson
NIF stands for National Issues Forum and is the newest and fastest growing program area in Model Assembly. Created 3 years ago, NIF is similar to the state legislature; however, is often less specific and is designed to tackle much larger national and international topics. Solutions to these topics are addressed with proposals instead of bills.
Debate in NIF this year has been dominated by issues including Euthanasia, Campaign Finance Reform, and others.
First, the proposals are presented in small committees of 13 to 15 people. Proposals are assessed by each committee member instead of voting. The proposal procedure includes a two-minute opening speech, two minutes of non-debatable and technical questions, four minutes of alternating pro-con debate, and a two minute closing speech.
Each proposal is scored on a five-point scale based on relevance, feasibility, research, debate, and creativity. The half of the proposals with the highest scores move on to a second committee. The process repeats in a committee of approximately thirty people. The best proposals move into general assembly with members from every committee. The process repeats a final time; but, instead of receiving rankings, the NIF members vote on the passage of the proposal. They do not need to be signed by the Governor. NIF operates on a higher level than the state, giving Elia Read no power.
Over the course of one year, NIF grew from 40 to 120 members. Andrew claims that, “the fact that [NIF] is juniors and seniors only speaks for itself.” He went on to say, “It’s more mature, the rules don’t need to be enforced as strictly because people aren’t messing around.” Andrew thinks it will continue to grow and hopes to rename the program GIF (Global Issues Forum). He thinks it is a more appropriate and accurate name that will better portray the scope and magnitude of what NIF does.