by Max Brantley
Rep. Justin Harris' bill to punish undocumented college students stayed tabled in the House Education Committee Tuesday. Needing a majority of a quorum for the bill to be considered, the motion failed. A number of committee members, including some of Harris' Republican colleagues, weren't on hand for the vote on the bill, which was opposed by the University of Arkansas and many others.
Harris wants to make doubly sure that no "illegals" qualify for lower in-state tuition. Doesn't matter if they've lived in Arkansas 15 years and graduated from an Arkansas high school with a sterling record. The circumstances of their birth make them unworthy in Harris' eyes, though he'll happily give a tuition break to people from Texas and Oklahoma. Few, if any, students are receiving this benefit by decree of the governor.
Harris, you recall, won our Hypocrite of the Day Award yesterday. He pushes government spending cuts. He proposes to bar all but life-saving services for those who cannot produce a notarized affidavit and proof of citizenship. And yet, he operates a religion-based pre-school in West Fork almost solely funded with tax dollars and which has admitted a dozen students without paperwork proving their citizenship. It doesn't really matter if the kids are actually legal or not. The point is that Harris wants all the rest of us to prove our citizenship to get a driver's license or see a UAMS doctor. He's not so fastidious about his taxpayer-funded profit-making enterprise.