- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

RICHMOND - Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday he needs more time to consider - and perhaps amend - a bill requiring illegal aliens to pay out-of-state rates to attend Virginia public colleges and universities.
"The more appropriate measure would have been to have this bill studied more," he said. "I [also] know there is probably going to be some other efforts to amend this bill."
The bill is sponsored by Delegate Thelma Drake, Newport News Republican, and passed the House last month. The Senate Health and Education Committee approved the bill yesterday; it is scheduled for a full Senate vote next week.Mrs. Drake said the bill is needed to clarify an opinion issued by Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore in September.
A group of supporters thinks Virginia should not offer a discount education to potential terrorist sympathizers.
"It is the illegal alien community that allows sleeper terrorist cells to hide in the open," said Erin Anderson of the Virginia Coalition Against Terrorism.Mrs. Drake doubts most illegal aliens in public schools are terrorist sympathizers but thinks the commonwealth should not subsidize their education.
"It is possible that there are sleeper cells in these communities, but its a relatively small number," she said. "The problem is once they graduate, they cannot get jobs because they are here illegally. And all that state money for their education has gone to waste."
The cost of in-state tuition is substantially less expensive than out-of-state tuition.For example, a three-credit class at Virginia Tech costs in-state students $480.24 and out-of-state students $1,682.49. In the Northern Virginia Community College system, a three-credit class costs $169.69 for in-state students and $607.41 for out-of-state students.
Mr. Kilgore, who supports Mrs. Drakes bill and is also a Republican, said every in-state student in a public college or university costs Virginia taxpayers about $6,028 a year.
Critics say many of the illegal aliens have worked for years and paid income taxes.
Andres Tobar, a chairman with Immigrants Educational Rights Coalition based in Arlington, said its unfair to make a student pay Virginia taxes and four times the tuition paid by in-state students.
In response, Ms. Anderson said nobody is speaking up for the military families that, as she must, pay out-of-state rates while stationed in Virginia.
"This is demoralizing for members of the military community," she said. "There is no one to speak for us, yet all these pro-immigrant groups have these hired guns."
The exact number of Virginia students that would be affected by such legislation is not clear. However, about 66 of them last year were enrolled primarily in community colleges around the commonwealth.
State Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert, III, Richmond Democrat, said that because of the low number, the additional benefit of educating these students was worth the cost.
"If they dont get an education they are going to wind up on the street costing us more money," he said.
State Sen. William T. Bolling, Mechanicsville Republican, said in-state tuition is not a right.
"The purpose of in-state tuition is that it is a benefit of citizenship of Virginia," he said.

Legislation that would ban a rarely used late-term abortion procedure won final House passage yesterday and cleared a Senate panel where abortion bills have perished in the past.
The Senate Education and Health Committee also approved legislation that would require that parents give their consent before their minor daughters undergo abortions, but killed a bill that would have required abortion clinics to make prohibitively expensive renovations.
By a veto-proof 73-26 vote and with little debate, the House passed Sen. Stephen D. Newmans bill that charges doctors who kill a fetus that has partially emerged from the birth canal with a felony punishable by 10 years in prison.If it becomes law, the measure would target doctors who deliberately kill a fetus after its head or, in the event of a feet-first birth, its legs and trunk up to the umbilical cord are outside the birth canal.
The Senate panel endorsed Delegate Robert G. Marshalls bill on a 9-5 vote. Mr. Marshall, Prince William County Republican, said the bill differs from similar legislation he offered last year that would have outlawed a procedure abortion foes call "partial-birth abortion." Mr. Warner vetoed it on grounds that it contained no exception to protect the mothers health.
This years bill protects fetuses in the process of an actual birth, not abortion, Mr. Marshall said.
Without debate, the committee also voted 9-6 to advance Delegate Richard H. Blacks bill to require parental consent for minors to have abortions. The House approved the bill 70-29 on Feb. 1.
The committee, however, voted 8-7 to kill a measure abortion rights advocates said would have forced all but one of Virginias 19 abortion clinics to close. The bill, also by Mr. Marshall, would have held clinics to the same specifications as outpatient surgical centers.

A proposal to create a specialty anti-abortion license plate was killed and then resurrected in a Senate committee yesterday.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 7-6 against the plate with two Republican members and the bills sponsor, Delegate Richard H. Black, absent from the room. Sen. Marty E. Williams, Newport News Republican and the committee chairman, revived the bill out of deference to Mr. Black, who was in the House chamber at the time of the vote.
The measure passed on an 8-6 vote the second time.
Mr. Blacks plate features two childrens faces drawn in crayon above the words "Choose Life." It is intended to promote adoption, he said, with a portion of funds from sales of the plate going to private, nonprofit agencies that provide adoption services.
The bill prohibits distribution of money to abortion clinics.

Legislation toughening Virginias seat belt law passed by one vote in the House yesterday, but the victory for the bills advocates could be short-lived.
Delegate Joe T. May, Loudoun County Republican, said he expected opponents of the bill to persuade someone who voted for it to ask for reconsideration of the 49-48 vote on the House floor today.
The bill would allow police to stop and ticket drivers for not buckling their seat belts. Current law allows police to write a seat belt ticket only if the motorist is stopped for another violation.

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