While we were doing the last-minute shopping or tasty tamale-wrapping, the leadership in the Colorado Legislature decided to drop the news bomb that there would be no tuition fairness bill in the upcoming session. Currently, undocumented children that were brought to this country have virtually no opportunity to continue their education after high school due to the enormous cost of State tuition. The Legislature failed last year by a close margin to pass reform that would have allowed taxpaying Latino children to pay in state tuition rates.
The Governor having received his much needed endorsement from Latino community leaders has no incentive to push any reluctant legislators on a tuition equity bill he supported in name only during the last legislative session.
Representative Miklosi who was diligently attempting to put together a core team of Democratic legislative supporters for the bill reluctantly announced that 2010 was not the year for the hundreds of students in Colorado that need in state tuition relief to achieve their dreams. The damage of last year's "Dream Killer Five" Senate Democrats (who killed the tuition equity bill led by an erroneous, flawed, and intellectually dishonest rationale developed by Senator Morgan Carroll), is only now fully felt.
The political meaning of the decision on tuition fairness is that 2010 is yet another year when Latino activists are being called upon to bring votes a nervous State Democratic Party and promised political IOU's on their future legislative agenda. Latinos activists concerned about the impact of a 2010 gubernatorial loss during a critical redistricting period now face a moral and political dilemma. Does the constituency that holds the key to delivering a critical bloc of votes flex their power by ultimately saying no to the Democratic party slate and endanger future political power delivered via a fair redistricting process? Or do they play along with a party that has yet to show any remorse for following the weak, easily-debunked rationales that denied children the opportunity to achieve their dreams in hope that more fact-based decision making will prevail in the future?
Perhaps the answer lives in the trust of the IOU's. The recent past has shown all Americans, Latino and non-Latino alike, is that IOU's are as good as the banks behind them and some are better than others.