The DREAM Act (House Bill 1817) passed the Higher Education Committee yesterday on a 14-4 vote.
The bipartisan bill – authored by Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila) and Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger) – brought a full house of students and citizens on the day of its public hearing, with 110 people signed in to testify in favor of the reform and zero people signed up to testify against it.
Here's the video of Hudgins and Chandler testifying together and, below that, highlights of their remarks.
Parts of Rep. Bruce Chandler's testimony:
"I just want to say that, first of all, these are kids that have grown up in our communities, that have grown up in mine, have gone through our school system."
"I absolutely believe that every student who graduates from a Washington high school should be given the same opportunity."
Parts of Rep. Hudgins' testimony:
"As a kid, you just get uprooted with your parents, you don't have a lot of say in it. We're talking about kids who've chosen to go to college … who've worked hard."
"This really isn't a big deal. … We are simply leveling the playing field. These kids are on a path to citizenship. This is a small incremental step from a policy standpoint."
"For the students this affects, this is a big deal. … It makes college possible."
"I don't think you should underestimate that Rep. Chandler and I are sitting here together. This is not a partisan issue. It's a policy about our economic future. If we want to continue to sell apples and airplanes and software to the world, we need the best talent. It's good for the kids in Washington state … and good for our economic future. These are the kids who'll sell Washington to the world."
And here's Ben Crowther with the Washington Student Association, speaking on behalf of more than 120,000 college students in the state, during the public hearing on the bill: