Olympia, WA - Today, the Majority Coalition Caucus held a press conference to announce that it has filed and intends to pass its version of the WA Dream Act (the "REAL Hope Act", SB6523). This comes after the House wasted no time in passing another version of the WA DREAM Act (HB1817), with a bipartisan vote of 71 to 23 on the first day of the 2014 legislative session.
This bill would permit undocumented immigrant children raised in Washington to qualify for college financial aid from the state, opening up higher education to hundreds of otherwise qualified high school graduates. It's also pretty much the same exact bill that Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and his fellow senate Republicans had vowed to once again block from coming to the senate floor for a vote.
So what's changed? I'm guessing the Republicans' confidence in holding control of the Senate. Note that three of the senators sponsoring this bill are Tom, Joe Fain, and Andy Hill—Republicans representing moderate King County districts where support for the Dream Act is strong. Democrats were itching to use their obstruction of the Dream Act against these three in November. Its passage—if a year late—will help blunt that attack.
So congrats to advocacy groups like Fuse and One America for using the Dream Act as a political cudgel against these vulnerable King County Republicans. It worked!