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Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Sloan removed from committee over tuition bill

March 31, 2004

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— House Speaker Doug Mays today removed state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, from a conference committee in a dispute over a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to be able to pay in-state tuition if they attend a public university.

Sloan, who supports the measure, placed it in a higher education bill. But Mays told him to take it out, and when Sloan refused, Mays replaced him on the House-Senate conference committee with another lawmaker, state Rep. Kathe Decker, R-Clay Center.

"The speaker and I have a disagreement over what is responsible public policy. I'm not making a big deal out of it," Sloan said.

Mays, R-Topeka, said he removed Sloan from the conference committee to "slow down" progress on the bill.

Mays said he opposes the illegal immigrant provision as it is currently proposed.

Under the bill, students who are in the country illegally but have lived in Kansas at least five years would be charged the lower, resident tuition rate at public universities, community colleges and vocational colleges. The students would also have to prove they are seeking citizenship or legal resident status.

The difference in resident tuition rates and out-of-state tuition rates keeps many illegal immigrants from attending college, minority advocacy groups say.

For example, 15 undergraduate hours at Kansas University this semester is $1,763 for residents and $5,501 for non-residents.

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