Bipartisanship smooths Tuition Equity bill

April 9, 2011

News staff writer

Bipartisanship - the Oregon State Senate experienced this unusual phenomenon March 30 when it passed SB 742, the Tuition Equity Bill.

The bill, which would allow college students to pay in-state tuition regardless of immigration status - provides some relief to undocumented students who, up until now, were required to pay out-of-state tuition and/or international student fees because they lacked immigration papers - even if they had been lifelong state residents.

The two major sponsors of the Senate version of this measure are Republicans Frank Morse (Albany) and David Nelson (Pendleton). The two Republicans were joined in voting yes for the bill by a third Republican, Hood River resident and Senator from District 26, Chuck Thomsen.

Morse, who had personal experience with immigration roadblocks - his daughter's significant other faced similar challenges - has spoken forcefully in support of the legislation.

SB 742 passed the Senate with a vote of 18-11 with one abstention.

Oregon's legislature is nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, with the House split 30-30 and the Senate 16-14 in favor of the Democrats.

The bill now goes before the House Rules committee (avoiding a politically log-jammed House Committee on Education) and then onto the full House for a vote.

On a federal level, the education ceiling issue is being tied together with a "path to citizenship" through the current reintroduction of the Dream Act legislation, which in December 2010 passed in the House but fell eight votes short of the threshold needed to advance it through the Senate.

The Dream Act bill would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from U.S. high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.

If those youth were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning, the students would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has announced this week that he will bring a revised Dream Act bill before congress in this session.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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