Politics blog

Senate follows through, sends immigrant financial aid bill to House on bipartisan vote

OlympianJanuary 31, 2014 

The Washington Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the so-called Dream Act Friday, letting immigrant students brought to the country illegally at a young age to receive State Need Grant aid for college, if they meet other eligibility rules. The Senate GOP was calling its version the Real Hope Act.

The final vote was 35-to-10 with 10 Republicans in favor - including Sens. Randi Beckerof Eatonville, Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup, and Steve O'Ban of Lakewood. It was a sharp contrast to the battle last year that saw the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus bowing to GOP members in refusing to grant a vote.

As we reported here on Thursday, the Republican steered Majority Coalition had a change of heart, led by Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor. Top  leaders in the coalition - including Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch - also joined all members of the Democratic caucus in supporting Senate Bill 6523.

The roll call vote data from the Legislature's site is here:

Yeas: 35 Nays: 10 Absent: 0 Excused: 4 Voting Yea: Senator Bailey, Becker, Billig, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Dammeier, Darneille, Eide, Fain, Fraser, Frockt, Hargrove, Hasegawa, Hatfield, Hill, Hobbs, Keiser, King, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Liias, Litzow, McAuliffe, McCoy, Mullet, Nelson, O'Ban, Parlette, Pedersen, Ranker, Rolfes, Schoesler, Sheldon, Tom Voting Nay: Senator Angel, Braun, Brown, Dansel, Ericksen, Hewitt, Honeyford, Padden, Pearson, Rivers Excused: Senator Baumgartner, Benton, Holmquist Newbry, Roach

The House has not yet scheduled a vote on the measure, but passed a similar bill on the first day of session.  The Senate's version spells out that $5 million is added to cover the additional students who would be eligible for State Need Grants.

Eligible students would have had to be granted "deferred action for childhood arrival" status by federal immigration officials.

The Senate also voted unanimously Friday to approve SB 5318, which extends in-state tuition to military veterans lacking enough time in the state to qualify.

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