We would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge passage in the Colorado Senate of Senate Bill 13-033, the bill providing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented graduates of Colorado high schools–with the support of three Republican Senators emerging as a major part of the story. FOX 31's Eli Stokols:
For the first time in a building where in-state tuition proposals for undocumented students have been debated for the last decade, three Republican senators did something historic Friday…
Senate Bill 33, which got an initial okay from the full Senate Friday, was going to pass with or without any Republican votes; and with Democrats holding a large majority in the House as well, the measure is certain to finally become law this year.
But the three floor speeches by the three supporting Republicans Friday reflected the public’s growing support for immigration reform — and a divided GOP slowly coming to grips with the undeniable political power of Latino voters just months after another bruising election cycle.
“This is a country where you’re supposed to be able to pursue happiness and I want the GOP to be the Grand Opportunity Party,” said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, a longtime lawmaker who, until Friday, had only spoken in opposition to the bill dubbed “ASSET.”
Given the latest defeat for the GOP in the 2012 elections, wherein Hispanic voters again flocked to Democratic candidates and Republicans really began to face generational electoral abyss if they continue to alienate the fastest-growing minority in America, we will concede that it's easy to be cynical about support for this bill from GOP Sens. Owen Hill, Larry Crowder, and Greg Brophy. We've spent a lot of time over the years on Sen. Brophy in particular, someone who we think on balance is much more of a liability to Republicans than he is helpful. Owen Hill is young and not fully in control of his stage presence–it's too early to assess what this vote means for him as a Republican legislator.
Despite our frequent displeasure with Brophy, we take him at his word when he says, as he did Friday, that he has come to know students who might benefit from the passage of ASSET in the Eastern Plains agricultural community he lives in. Sen. Crowder, a southern Colorado rancher, can legitimately tell a similar story. We understand that Brophy has come down on the wrong side of this same bill in previous years, and there are lots of politically expedient–as opposed to morally genuine–reasons for this change of heart.
But this is one moment where, instead of letting the usual cynicism prevail, maybe we should just be happy about it.