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Jerry Cornfield |
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 5:49 p.m.

House, Senate may spar on whose military tuition bill to enact

The House today unanimously approved a bill to allow military personnel and their families to pay the lower in-state tuition rate regardless of how long they've lived in Washington.

House Bill 1011 is identical in every way to Senate Bill 5318 passed by the Senate last month except one – it is a House bill.

Now the Democrats running the House and Republicans controlling the Senate must figure out the next step in getting one of these two measures to the governor's desk.

It's not as easy as it sounds.

The House could have considered the Senate military tuition bill but chose not to do so. It's not far-fetched to think this is in response to how the GOP-dominated Senate dealt with a House bill allowing undocumented immigrant students to apply for state financial aid.

The so-called Dream Act cleared the House and got sent to the Senate for action. Senators ignored it, instead drafting then passing a nearly identical bill they called the Real Hope Act. The one difference - the Senate version calls for pumping another $5 million into the State Need Grant program.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, authored the tuition and financial aid bills and wanted the House to act on both.

"I'm disappointed the House would just not move the two bills passed from here," she said. "It's being used politically."

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