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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Senate holds tuition cap bill

    PHOENIX -The Senate Higher Education committee Tuesday held a bill that would have capped in-state tuition for Arizona universities.

    Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sedona, the committee chairman, said he will not bring up SB 1160 for a vote again.

    Several student and university officials opposed the measure at and before the meeting, saying the higher education price index, which would have been used to determine tuition hikes, is not the right tool to determine the needs of individual universities.

    The Arizona Board of Regents and the University of Arizona opposed the bill. The Arizona Students Association took a more neutral position, but also didn’t support it.

    Sen. Jorge Luis Garcia, D-Tucson, said he introduced the bill to prevent sharp tuition hikes that have occurred in the past.

    The UA South campus in Sierra Vista could receive a $500,000 boost for the 2008 fiscal year if a House bill passes the Higher Education committee next Tuesday.

    HB 2568 was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Burns, R-Avra Valley. Rep. Manuel Alvarez, D-Elfrida, Sen. Tim Bee, R-Tucson and Sen. Marsha Arzberger, D-Willcox, also signed on to the measure.

    UA officials support the bill and are hoping for the money after getting a one-time appropriation of $1.2 million last year, said Charlene Ledet, special assistant in the UA’s Office of State Relations.

    The allocation was absent in Gov. Janet Napolitano’s budget proposal in January.

    The Higher Education committee passed a bill Tuesday that would let state Department of Public Safety employees go to school for free.

    SB 1322, which was introduced by O’Halleran, unanimously passed the committee.

    The bill would provide tuition wavers to DPS employees who want to earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree at all Arizona universities.

    Tucson Democratic Senator Paula Aboud also signed on the bill, which is now awaiting a hearing by the Senate Appropriations committee.

    A bill that would require state agencies, universities and schools to lower their buildings’ energy use by 20 percent per square foot by 2015 unanimously passed the House Higher Education committee Wednesday.

    An amendment in HB 2497 exempted community colleges, which originally had been part of the measure.

    The bill extends another law enacted in 2003, which requires a 10 percent savings increase by 2008 and a 15 percent increase by 2011.

    It was introduced by Rep. Lucy Mason, R-Prescott. Other lawmakers, including Aboud and O’Halleran, signed on to the measure, which moved on to the House Government committee.

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