House Democratic Leader Dave Hunt, of Gladstone, said he’s using his “silver bullet” to force a hearing tomorrow on the controversial tuition-equity bill.
The bill would allow undocumented students to attend universities in Oregon at the same tuition as Oregon residents. Now, students, some of whom have attended kindergarten through 12th grade in Oregon, are considered out-of-state residents and must pay accordingly to attend universities in Oregon.
Each co-chair of a committee can schedule a hearing for a bill without the consent of the co-chair. All committees in the House this session are evenly split between the two parties. The House Rules Committee has been been hearing several education-related bills after the House Education Committee stopped meeting because of partisan gridlock.
The tuition-equity bill has caught the attention of many Central Oregon constituents. Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend, who voted against it in the Senate, said it’s one of the bills that generated the most attention from constituents.
And Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, said during his town hall meeting in Prineville he had to correct people that the bill would not allow the students to attend schools for free, but instead for less money. McLane also said he does not support the bill.
Hunt is hoping by forcing a hearing on the bill, he can get it out of committee and to the House floor for a vote.