Voters selected a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to enroll in N.C. community colleges as the year’s worst bill.
The Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank, hosted the NCAA march madness-style competition. The tournament began with 32 bills that Civitas staff had written about and nominated throughout 2009 as a “Bad Bill of the Week.” More than 10,000 votes were cast throughout the tournament, according to the institute.
State Senate Bill 848 defeated a public financing of municipal campaigns bill by a vote of 63-37. Neither of the two bills passed.
“The voters have spoken and declared SB 848 as this year’s worst bill of the year,” said Francis De Luca, executive director of the Civitas Institute. “SB 848 was able to defeat some really bad pieces of legislation on its way to the title, so it truly earned its victory.”
The bill was introduced in the midst of controversy over whether the state Board of Community Colleges should admit illegal immigrants to the state's 58 community colleges.
In September, the board approved a policy that would admit illegal immigrants provided they pay out-of-state tuition. The policy is expected to be implemented sometime in 2010.
NC Listen, which advocates for stronger immigration enforcement, is lobbying to prevent the policy change from being enacted.
“In the middle of one of the worst recessions in American history, our N.C. Community College Board decides to help illegal immigrants enroll in college when our state unemployment rate is 11 percent and citizens need help with retraining and education” said Ron Woodard, director of NC Listen.
Supporters of the policy say it will only impact a small amount of people and won't take away seats from U.S. citizens.