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Dream Act supporters’ last ditch effort likely derailed

Post by Jimmy Lovaas / The News Tribune on April 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
April 2, 2013 11:58 am

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee
Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee

Dream Act supporters who hoped to make a showing at Tuesday’s Senate Higher Education committee hearing are bound to be discouraged. Shortly after word of their rally got out, Tuesday’s committee hearing was cancelled.

The hearing’s cancellation means the proposal, formally known as House Bill 1817, has virtually no chance of getting a vote. Lawmakers face an Apr. 3 cutoff that requires all policy committees to complete their work. And while there’s no proof that the hearing’s cancellation has anything to do with the planned protest, it does mean that without any additional Higher Education Committee meetings scheduled before the cutoff, the bill is all but officially dead.

The bill was not scheduled for a committee vote. However, supporters said they had hoped a strong showing at the meeting would inspire the committee’s chair, Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, enough to allow a vote on the bill.

Bailey wrote an op-ed four days ago explaining her opposition of the bill.

Emily Murphy, a policy manager with the advocacy group planning tomorrow’s rally, OneAmerica, said her group is not going to give up.

“I understand that she (Bailey) doesn’t want to vote for the bill,” Murphy said. “But she could still schedule a committee vote if she wanted to.”

Murphy said that she thinks the bill has enough support to pass Bailey’s committee. She added that when the bill was voted out of the House last month, it passed “with more Republicans voting for it than not.”

Murphy said OneAmerica will be holding a “People’s Hearing” on the bill Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 3. That will be followed by a rally and press conference at 2 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Legislative Building. She said they plan to have “a number of important guest speakers” and estimates that up to 200 supporters will attend.

House Bill 1817 passed the House with a 77-20 vote. The proposal’s prime sponsor is Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila.

Sen. Bailey did not return a phone call seeking a comment.

This post was updated 11:58 p.m. Apr. 2, 2013

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