Native American college students with ancestral ties to what is now the state of Colorado are one step closer to receiving in-state status.
Their only hurdle? Senate Republicans.
HB-1178, sponsored by House Representative Joseph Salazar, a Democrat, would require universities in Colorado to provide in-state status to Native Americans of federally-recognized tribes whose people were forcibly removed from the territory due to an onslaught of European encroachment.
On Friday, the bill passed 35 to 30 with bi-partisan support out of the House of Representatives. It is now headed to the state Senate where Republicans hold the majority there.
But sources tell ICTMN the Republicans in the senate plan to kill the bill once again.
In 2014, the same legislation, sponsored by Salazar, died in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Democratic Senator Mary Hodge, also a Democrat, voted against the bill calling it a form of “reparations.”
“I don’t know how long we can make reparations (to Native Americans) or how far we’d have to go back,” she told ICTMN at the time. “I guess my point is we can’t fix what we did.”
“Those people are already gone,” Hodge added. “At what point do we say ‘we’re sorry’ and move on? And I don’t know if we’re there yet.”
On Monday, a bill sponsored by Salazar to repeal Columbus Day in Colorado died in committee by a 7-2 vote.
Salazar told ICTMN he hopes people who support his in-state tuition legislation will attend the committee hearing when it's scheduled.