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House passes state DREAM Act on Day 1

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OLYMPIA (Jan. 14, 2014) — The Washington State House of Representatives on Monday opened the 2014 legislative session by immediately passing HB 1817, known as the Washington State DREAM Act. The bill would allow all high school graduates in the state, including the sons and daughters of immigrants, to compete for state-based financial aid to pursue their dreams for higher education. It passed 71-23 with strong bipartisan support.

Sponsored by Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila), HB 1817 passed the House in 2013, but died without a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate even though Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) professed to support the legislation. Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor), the committee chairwoman who quashed the bill last year, not only refused a committee vote, she also canceled a hearing for which more than 100 students had traveled to Olympia.

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Speaker Frank Chopp recognized several DREAMers in the gallery during his opening speech Monday. From left, they are Genesis Carrion, Maria del Rocio, Cristina Martinez-Motano, Marco Garcia and Moses Chege. (Others in attendance but not pictured: Carlos Padilla and Tania Santiago.)

“This bill simply allows all children in Washington to be treated the same,” Hudgins said before Monday’s vote. “All young adults who are committed to the communities, who graduate from our high school, who get into our state colleges and are already paying state tuition would be allowed to compete for the opportunity to get help with that tuition.”

Organized labor in Washington state is strongly supportive of the measure. Delegates representing unions around the state have repeatedly approved Washington State Labor Council resolutions in support of the state DREAM Act. The most recent resolution, approved last year, noted:

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the history of the growth of the labor movement has been tied to the integration of immigrants, and the labor movement’s recognition that they are us and they make us better… Washington State makes a significant investment in these students’ education from cradle through high school, and it makes no sense to put up barriers that deny our state the return on investment at the exact point where we can maximize their economic contributions as they enter the workforce as business and labor leaders, teachers and scientists, contributing to our economic success and strengthening the state’s competitive edge in the global economy.

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DREAM Act supporters rallied in April 2013 at the Capitol. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Legislative Support Services.)

More than a dozen states, with governments controlled by both Democrats and Republicans, have approved laws similar to the DREAM Act (an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). Just last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed such a law.

Before Monday’s vote, Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) urged opposition to HB 1817 by suggesting that the “statistics” show there are already an insufficient number of need-based grants available to Washington students. He said passing the DREAM Act will only increase the number of students who are denied assistance, thus raising false hopes among the children of immigrants.

“The statistics, unfortunately, trump the dream at this time,” he said.

Here is Monday’s roll call vote on the Washington State DREAM Act:

Voting YEA:  Representatives Appleton, Bergquist, Blake, Carlyle, Chandler, Clibborn, Cody, DeBolt, Dunshee, Fagan, Farrell, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Freeman, Goodman, Green, Gregerson, Habib, Haigh, Hansen, Hayes, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Hurst, Jinkins, Johnson, Kagi, Kirby, Kochmar, Kretz, Liias, Lytton, Moeller, Morrell, Morris, Moscoso, Muri, Nealey, Ormsby, Orwall, Pettigrew, Pollet, Reykdal, Riccelli, Roberts, Robinson, Ross, Ryu, Santos, Sawyer, Seaquist, Sells, Senn, Short, Smith, Springer, Stanford, Stonier, Sullivan, Takko, Tarleton, Tharinger, Van De Wege, Walkinshaw, Walsh, Warnick, Wilcox, Wylie, Zeiger, and Mr. Speaker

Voting NAY:  Representatives Buys, Christian, Dahlquist, Haler, Hargrove, Harris, Hawkins, Holy, Klippert, Kristiansen, MacEwen, Magendanz, Manweller, Orcutt, Overstreet, Parker, Pike, Rodne, Schmick, Scott, Shea, Taylor, and Vick

Excused:  Representatives Condotta and Hope

With the legislation’s passage, the Republican-controlled Senate will again have the opportunity in 2014 to approve the Washington State DREAM Act, which is supported by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Senate did not take up any legislation on the first day of the session, except to approve a resolution that the Seattle Seahawks defeat the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, Jan. 19 in the NFC Championship Game. (That passed unanimously by voice vote.)


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