HB 208, Modification of Exemption from Nonresident Tuition by Representative Greenwood. This bill was presented to a packed committee room on Feb 18th. This does not repeal the resident tuition offered to all residents of the state, including those who are here illegally, but instead, makes it clear that if students are working illegally, they will no longer be eligible for the in-state tuition rate. Each student would be required to sign an affadavit at the beginning of each semester affirming that they are not employed illegally. The bill passed out of committee on an 8 to 1 vote, with 3 being absent.
It was debated on the House floor today. Representative Greenwood stated that he supports the rule of law. If undocumented residents are working, it is likely they have committed at minimim, identity theft – a felony. That would permanently bar them from ever getting citizenship in the US. Over 50,000 Utah children have had their social security numbers stolen. According to the sponsor, this bill is compassionate in making it clear that undocumented students should be following the rule of law and in fact helps keep them from committing felonies.
Opposition came from both sides of the aisle with a plea for compassion for those students who are trying to better themselves and get ahead by working to put themselves through school.
It was the closest vote so far this session and a request to “call the House” was made, meaning that all legislators had to be found and asked to return to the Chamber to vote. It failed on a 32-40 vote.