The Washington State Dream Act might not be dead after all.
This, despite Wednesday’s Majority Coalition Caucus press conference where Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, said she didn’t even know if the proposal would get a hearing in front of the Senate Higher Education Committee which she chairs. When pressed for a reason why, she cited “logistical” reasons.
Those logistical hurdles appear to have been cleared, or at least shortened, as Sen. Bailey sent out a press release Thursday afternoon saying she has scheduled a hearing for House Bill 1817 next week.
Here’s Sen. Bailey’s statement:
“The controversial and much-talked-about ‘state Dream Act’ bill will receive a public hearing before the Senate Higher Education Committee on March 28. I anticipate it will draw a large audience and I look forward to a respectful and thoughtful discussion from all sides of this issue.
“It is my hope and intention to also schedule a work session on the State Need Grant program, so that the committee can accurately assess the condition of our state’s financial aid program.”
The official public notice for the hearing will be released tomorrow.
HB 1817 has been nicknamed the Washington Dream Act bill in reference to the federal assistance program for undocumented students. The bill would allow undocumented Washington residents who have been granted “deferred action for childhood arrival” to be eligible for the State Need Grant, a financial aid program for low-income students. It was approved by the House of Representatives with a 77-20 vote March 13.