The state Senate on Friday passed legislation that would allow financial aid for students who were illegally brought to the United States as children.
The vote was 35 to 10. Senate Bill 6523 now goes to the House, which has already passed a bill that does the same thing.
The House is not expected to immediately take up the Senate legislation. But the fact that both chambers have passed essentially the same thing suggests it will become law this session. Gov. Jay Inslee supports the proposal.
Both sides praised the legislation during the Senate floor debate.
“To me this is about making sure that all kids have the keys to hope, that all kids have the keys to opportunity, that all kids have the keys to the American dream,” said Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom.
Democratic Sen. David Frockt, of Seattle, told lawmakers, “We’re doing the right thing … It’s not a Republican value or a Democratic value. It’s about opportunity for all of our people.”
The bill’s passage represents a turnaround for the Republican-led majority in the Senate, which had previously blocked efforts to bring the measure up for a vote.
About 74,000 students currently receive State Need Grants, and an additional 32,000 eligible students were turned away last year because of a lack of funding. It’s not clear how many more students would become eligible under this bill.