OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state Senate’s version of a bill that makes undocumented immigrant students eligible for state financial aid should have had a public hearing, Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, said in a story published in the Columbia Basin Herald today.
Holmquist Newbry, whose district includes Kittitas, Grant and part of Lincoln counties, was one of four senators who didn’t vote on the Senate’s version of the Dream Act when it passed with bipartisan support last Friday. She was listed as absent, but Holmquist Newbry told the Moses Lake newspaper she abstained in order to delay a vote on the bill, which had been introduced just one day earlier on Jan. 30.
“My efforts were to postpone the vote in order to allow citizens, who were denied notice and the right to a public hearing, the opportunity to at least know what their government was doing,” Holmquist Newbry was quoted as saying in the Columbia Basin Herald.
A call to the senator’s cellphone was not immediately returned Friday afternoon. She also told the newspaper she plans to introduce a bill that would give U.S. citizens priority access to state financial aid for college over undocumented immigrants who are eligible under the bill.
Her fellow 13th District lawmakers split their votes on an earlier House version of the bill, with Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, voting against it and Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, voting for it. The House bill was co-sponsored by local Reps. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and Charles Ross, R-Naches.
The Senate bill differs from the House bill in that it includes a $5 million appropriation to increase funding for state need grants. Earlier this week it was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, where it is expected to receive a public hearing.