Voters should talk back to the politicians they send to Atlanta
One of the glaring realities realized after nearly two decades as a reluctant denizen of the Gold Dome is that most voters have little idea about what really goes on there. A pending Democrat bill related to immigration and the cost of higher education with three Republican cosponsors is likely an example.
Senate Bill 264 is sponsored by Stone Mountain Democrat Sen. Kim Jackson. The number two signer on the bill is Republican Sen. Mike Dugan of Carrollton. The other two Republican cosponsors are Senators Billy Hickman (Statesboro) and Dalton’s Chuck Payne.
If passed and signed by Governor Kemp, this bill would remove the requirement now in state law that new Georgia residents must live here for a year before they can access the much lower instate tuition rate in our public colleges and technical schools.
But the proposed change would not apply to Americans.
The Democrat legislation these Republicans have decided to support only applies to foreigners with refugee and “special immigrant” status along with otherwise illegal aliens who the Biden administration moves into the U.S. as recipients of temporary “Humanitarian Parole.” Under SB 264 these lucky folks could legally “migrate” to Georgia from other countries and immediately access instate tuition rates. They would not have a twelve-month residency waiting period as do Americans.
U.S. citizens moving here from other states would still pay the much higher out of state tuition rate for their first year as a new Georgian.
The measure has been assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee where Payne is a member and Hickman is the chairman.
It’s easy and accurate to refer to this gem as an “Americans last bill.”
How much more tuition would an American pay in our public colleges than foreign nationals? According to the Dalton State website, for on campus students the estimated tuition and fees per semester is $2,123.00 for instate tuition. It’s $6,334.00 for students being charged the out-of-state rate. That’s a difference of $4211.00 if my American math is correct – per semester.
According to the Georgia Southern University website, the instate tuition for undergraduates was $2732.00 for fifteen hours in the Fall 2022 semester and $9641.00 for out-of-state rate (it’s the same for Spring, and Summer 2023). Our math tells us that is a difference of $6909.00 per semester.
In Carroll County, where Sen. Dugan lives, the University of West Georgia charges $2,732 (15+ hours) for instate tuition. The out of state rate is $9,641.
Based on a 9-month academic year for an average undergraduate student, tuition and fees at UGA for instate tuition is $12,080.00 The out-of-state tuition/fee cost is $31,120.00 “based on a 9-month academic year for an average undergraduate student” (UGA website, May 30, 2023).
My guess is that cosponsoring SB 264 wasn’t at the top of any “end of session at the Gold Dome wrap up” presentation at a grassroots GOP meeting for Payne or the other Republican cosponsors.
Pushed in the state Capitol by the leftist Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), Mark Zuckerburg’s little-known, pro-amnesty ‘FWD.us’ lobbying enterprise and the powerful Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the same bill (then from a Republican) died without a vote last year as HB 932. When this writer made it public during the 2022 legislative session that Speaker Pro Tem Rep Jan Jones (R – Milton) had cosponsored that bill, she went to the Clerk of the House office and scratched her name off the list of cosponsors.
- According to their website, the CRSA mission is “to engage a broad coalition to highlight the cultural, social, and economic contributions of refugees and immigrants in Georgia.”
- A quote on “immigration reform” on the FWD.us website goes like this: “A majority of Americans support immigration and criminal justice reform, and we’re working with legislators and groups on both sides of the aisle to drive real change at the local, state, and federal levels.” Jaime Rangel, the lobbyist in the state Capitol for FWD.us is an illegal alien.
- The Georgia Chamber website tells us “for over 100 years the Georgia Chamber of Commerce has worked to keep, grow and create jobs to make Georgia a better state for business.”
I can sadly tell you that the list of lawmakers who have an “Americans First” mindset on business, benefits, law enforcement and educational matters when it involves immigration is short and shrinking. Voters can and should change that fact by paying attention and talking back to the politicians they elect to serve them.
There is a companion bill in the House, HB 640. Democrat Rep Scott Holcombe (Atlanta) is the lead sponsor, Republican Rep Bill Hitchens (Rincon) is the only cosponsor. Readers may want to ask their House Rep about that gem too as both bills are viable for the 2024 session. It’s an election year.
You can get more information on these bills and follow their progress at ImmigrationPoliticsGA.com.