Topeka When it comes to repealing a law that allows illegal immigrants living in Kansas to get tuition breaks at state universities and colleges, Rep. Becky Hutchins just won't give up.
Earlier this month, the House narrowly rejected her proposal to repeal a 2004 law that allows illegal immigrants to pay lower in-state tuition rates.
Last week, she tried to tack the bill to another, unrelated measure during House debate, but was ruled out of order. She tried the same thing Monday, with the same result.
Hutchins, R-Holton, said she will continue shopping for a bill on which she can attach her measure so the chamber will have a chance to vote on it. She said four legislators who supported her bill were absent the day the House debated it.
"Sometimes persistence pays off," she said. "I still think it's a good idea."
Speaker Doug Mays, who supports the proposal, said Hutchins is determined to get an up-or-down vote on her bill and there's nothing in the House rules to prevent her from trying as many times as she wants.
"She wants a clean vote and until she gets a clean vote, she'll keep bringing amendments," said Mays, R-Topeka. "Once it comes up as a clean vote, it'll pass."
Even if Mays is right, the Senate has shown no interest in repealing the law, and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has criticized the idea.
Hutchins conceded that as the Legislature heads into the final days of its regular session, her proposal may end up in the trash heap.
Supporters say the law helps students who have been living in Kansas, regardless of their immigration status. Critics, including Hutchins, say the law encourages illegal immigration.
Last fall, 221 students qualified under the immigrant tuition law, according to the Kansas Board of Regents.
To qualify, a student must have attended a Kansas high school for three years and must be seeking U.S. citizenship.