Sen. Bailey: Funds lacking for state ‘Dream Act’

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A key Washington state lawmaker wrote in a Friday editorial that state funds are too scarce to extend need-based college aid to illegal immigrants, dimming the prospects of the measure supporters call the Washington Dream Act.

Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey, chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, wrote in a pro-business website that the state makes too many promises it can’t afford to keep, and that the measure, if enacted, would likely amount to another.

“(T)he state’s financial assistance program needs to be looked at more closely before eligibility is extended to a new group,” according to the post on Washington Focus. “In order to set good policy, we need to spend more time studying the issue and evaluating the future financial impact.”

Bailey’s committee held a hearing on the measure Thursday, when proponents said extending college aid to illegal immigrants was the decent thing to do and that it would make for a stronger and more prosperous state going forward. Opponents countered that people who came here illegally — whether as adults or as children — should not be rewarded for having done so.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Medina Democrat who is on the committee and was caucusing with Republicans, supports the measure. His vote would give it a likely majority in the committee though he said that it is Bailey who will determine if the bill gets a committee vote.

The measure passed the state House earlier this month with Democrats united in support and Republicans split.

Bill proponents estimate that 645 college students receiving in-state tuition in Washington state during the 2011-2012 school year didn’t offer proof of legal residency. They estimate that number would grow by 20 to 30 percent if the financial aid measure is approved. Using those numbers, costs in the next biennium would likely be between $3.3 million and $3.5 million.

Bailey did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

More in Local News

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Inslee budget solves school funding puzzle with piece of carbon

His plan commits to putting another $950 million into the system.

Most Read