Update June 23rd: Good article on the petition drive at the Baltimore Sun, here.
Update June 7th: Washington Examiner editorializes against the law, here.
Update June 4th: Numbers looking good! Del Smigiel weighs in on Attorney General analysis of the law, here.
Update May 30th: Open-borders activists attempt to interfere with petition drive, here.
Update May 25th: Del. Parrott says he is happy with results so far, here.
Update May 17th: In-state tuition bill tied to affirmative action at U. of MD, here.
Update May 13th: On target says Del. Neil Parrott, here.
Update May 11th: Gov. O’Malley signs the bill and uses “Dustin”, here.
Update May 4th: Democrats don’t like in-state tuition for illegals either, here.
Update May 2nd: Get the names and signatures right on the petitions, here.
Update April 21st: More updates at the Herald Mail, here.
Update April 20th: The petitions are out, here.
Update April 17th: Just as Maryland gives in-state tuition to illegals, other states try to stop the practice, here.
Regular readers know that we have been following the effort by CASA de Maryland and Progressive Maryland to bring their dream to fruition—in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens with Governor O’Malley’s blessing. They succeeded and the bill (the so-called Dream Act) passed in the House of Delegates in the final hours of the General Assembly on Monday, here.
Now in a dramatic announcement on WBAL radio, Neil Parrott, a newly elected Delegate from Washington County, has stepped forward to spearhead a plan to bring the controversial issue before the voters. (Hat tip: Cecil Calvert)
One of the last bills lawmakers approved in this year’s session is a bill to offer in state tuition for certain illegal immigrant students.
Now comes word that voters may have the final say on the issue.
Opponents are trying to collect 56,000 signatures to get the issue before voters in next year’s presidential election.
Washington County Republican Delegate Neil Parrott is leading the effort to get the issue on the ballot.
“This is one of the worst pieces of legislation that passed this year. It is really a slap in the face to Marylanders, who are paying taxes,” Parrott told WBAL News.
“The more people I talk to, they’ve become incensed that this passed, so it’s going to take a lot of action by a lot of people to get this issue on the ballot in the year 2012.”
Parrott says by state law opponents have to collect more than 18,000 signatures by the end of May, and the rest of the 56,000 by the end of June in order to get the issue on the ballot.
Read it all and listen to Parrott’s interview.
Del. Parrott announced that a website would be available soon to sign up to help with this statewide initiative that will take everyone working together to accomplish. For now, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to help.
What does the bill do? The best summary is here, the fiscal note, on the bill. However, I think a few things changed in the final hectic hours in Annapolis (but I am not sure, so I am ready to be corrected). We are told that one thing that didn’t change, and gives us another opportunity to put pressure on public colleges (especially the community colleges in the coming months) and to keep the issue hot, is the requirement that students who are not in the country legally and want the lower tuition rates will have to provide proof that their parents paid taxes for three years prior to the student’s entry into the college.*
Frankly this strikes me as a huge hurdle. First, do all parents of illegal alien students have tax returns and secondly in order to follow the law won’t the college have to ask all students their immigration status which they do NOT do now? And, those who are not here legally would need to provide tax returns for themselves or their parents. So, it’s important that we form watch dog groups in each county to stay on the college administrators to first (before this fall!) change their admission forms to ask the immigration status of students, and secondly monitor if those Maryland tax returns are forthcoming.
I’m actually puzzled, and maybe someone can enlighten me, as to why CASA de Maryland and the progressives didn’t kill the bill upon the insertion of that tax return requirement, because at this moment I assure you the colleges were not asking students for their immigration status and anyone with a Maryland address was getting in-state tuition anyway. Only Montgomery College got caught so far.
One final comment on the referendum and why it is so important. Earlier in the year when we were fearful the gay marriage bill would pass, we saw one bright side—it would give us an opportunity and the impetus to organize the state by precincts in advance of the 2012 elections. Conservatives can now get out there and find like-minded friends and energize them in every Maryland community using this referendum.
Update: Apparently Delegate Pat McDonough is also involved in this effort, but I haven’t any news account or press release yet about his efforts. Please send me a link if you have one!
* See enrolled bill here (Page 4 line 4) on the tax return requirement.