You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Georgia Senate committee advances ‘sanctuary’ campus bill


A Senate committee advanced legislation Monday that would punish colleges within the state that declare themselves “sanctuaries” for students living in the country illegally.

“If you’re not willing to follow the law, if you’re not willing to enable the enforcement of the law … then state funds are not going to follow you,” said state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, a Republican from Powder Springs and sponsor of House Bill 37. “If you want to claim sanctuary status, which effectively ignores any statutory construction, then we as a state are going to say that’s not acceptable. You, as a private institution, can make that choice.”

MORE: Georgia bill tracker 2017

At the beginning of the meeting, Higher Education Committee Chairman Fran Millar announced that he received a memo regarding possible conflicts between the bill and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects student privacy.

“There could be a conflict, but it doesn’t warn of any conflicts financially, so on that basis alone, I’m going to let the bill go forward,” the Atlanta Republican said. “By the time we get to the floor, I may have something from legislative counsel. At this late a date, I’m not going to hold something up because I got a memo two hours before.”

The bill, which passed the state House 112-57, would restrict funds for universities that violate state and federal law by adopting polices that protect students who are living in the U.S. illegally. HOPE grants could be taken away from students under this bill.

In Monday’s hearing, Ehrhart rejected fault for stripping students of financial assistance under his bill.

“If the administration in an institution chooses not to follow the law, then they’re the ones responsible for that loss of scholarship,” he said. “Certainly not the legal construct set at the state level.”

Emory University in Atlanta issued a statement in November that said the school would continue to support “Dreamers,” who were granted a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation by an executive order from then-President Barack Obama, but the school backed away from the sanctuary campus label in late January.

“We’re basically putting something out here that says: ‘Look, we know this has been brought forward before. It’s now gone away. The purpose of this legislation is it not be brought back up again,’ ” Millar said, adding that would be “clarifying and adding to the particular current law.”

“Or muddying the water and unclarifying,” countered state Sen. Nan Orrock, the sole lawmaker on the committee to vote against its passage.

“Since it’s not broke, what are we fixing?” she said. “You’re proposing legislation to address something that doesn’t exist.”

The bill will be carried in the Senate by Jeff Mullis, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, who sets the agenda of what will be voted on.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Handel cracks Georgia GOP ‘glass ceiling’
Handel cracks Georgia GOP ‘glass ceiling’

It might not have seemed that way, but the scene at a stuffed Roswell restaurant on the eve of last week’s runoff was a quietly remarkable one. It was the night before the 6th Congressional District vote, and Gov. Nathan Deal was campaigning for a former opponent his staff once described as a spout of “unhinged blather.” Sprinkled...
A new health care debate, Donald Trump, and a spike in breast cancer

Just in time for the renewed, fast-tempo debate over health care in Washington, public health researchers at Georgia State University have produced a pair of studies that help underline just what’s at stake. The more provocative of the two papers has intriguing national implications: In large swaths of the United States, swing areas that handed...
Georgians: Fix health care prices, stop partisanship
Georgians: Fix health care prices, stop partisanship

After the U.S. Senate finally revealed its proposed federal health care bill, advocates revved up their rhetoric with extreme positions, loud cheers and denunciations. “INJUSTICE!” blared the handmade sign of a protester Friday outside U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office. The Senate’s bill “is morally repugnant,” said...
Will Georgia’s 6th District do this all again in 2018?
Will Georgia’s 6th District do this all again in 2018?

Despite initial relief among Georgia’s 6th District residents that the barrage of campaign ads has come to an end, the reprieve might not last too long. “Now we know what New Hampshire looks like,” said Chip Lake, a GOP consultant based in Georgia. The question is, with 2018 just around the corner, will this year’s astronomical...
Trump signs law making it easier to fire bad VA employees
Trump signs law making it easier to fire bad VA employees

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Friday that would expedite the process for top officials to fire problematic employees at the long-troubled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The aim of the accountability legislation is to make it easier to root out the bad apples who have helped contribute to the cascade of scandals at the VA, harming...
More Stories