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SB15, the bill that would provide a discount rate of college tuition for illegal immigrants educated in Colorado, crossed a line yesterday that it has never crossed before. The republican-controlled house education committee passed the bill on a 7-6 vote. A similar proposal last year died at the same point in the legislative process. Representative Tom Massey of Poncha Springs was the lone republican on the panel to vote in favor of the bill. Under SB15, students who are not legal citizens but who attended at least three years of high school in Colorado and graduated would be eligible for a rate of tuition higher than the rate for in-state residents, but lower than the nonresident rate that currently applies to them. To receive the discount, students would need to be in the process of seeking legal citizenship. They would not be eligible for state or federal financial aid. Supporters contend that the bill would provide a boost in revenue to colleges and advance the state’s return on the students’ public educations.

Tran Davis, 40, of Alamosa, has been identified as the man who was shot and killed by police early Sunday. Davis was suspected of domestic violence and barricaded himself in a bedroom at his home in the 900 block of Cottenwood Drive in Alamosa. Police say that Davis prompted the shooting after he came out of the bedroom following a lengthy negotiation and challenged officers with a weapon. All of the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as per department procedure. Davis was scheduled for an autopsy yesterday in El Paso County but results from the procedure are still pending. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident, has declined to release the number of officers involved or their identities.

The La Junta City Council last week passed a resolution calling for the army to do a more thorough environmental impact study on the low-altitude flights it plans to execute at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site northeast of Trinidad. The official resolution reads in part: “The environmental assessment describes flight paths and military operations area that extend well beyond the pinon canyon maneuver site boundaries and include large regions of public and private land that are included in the lowest type of flight level training”. The resolution continues: “Thus many effects will occur far outside the area of potential effects which the army has only defined as encompassing the boundaries of Fort Carson and the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site”. The city of La Junta is urging for a full environmental impact study rather than what they term a “casual” environmental assessment. The city is looking for a study that will include the potential effects to the entire geographic area that may be directly or indirectly affected.

Critics of a new plan to limit groundwater pumping in the north-central part of the San Luis Valley said at a state hearing last week that the plan doesn’t have enough detail and falls short of protecting the surface water users who are harmed by pumping. State Water Engineer Dick Wolfe is considering the operation plan for subdistrict #1 in the valley, which takes in just under 3,400 wells, and has until May 1st to approve its implementation. One of the court-ordered aims of the subdistrict is to prevent injury to the owners of senior surface rights. The subdistrict’s plan and a state computer model project that 4,706 acre-feet of water must be put back into the Rio Grande to make up for the harm caused by pumping. Critics include surface water users who fought for the formation of the subdistricts in court 4 years ago. Their attorneys have questioned how the state’s computer model could come up with such a small figure for injurious depletions given that subdistrict wells are expected to pump 308,000 acre-feet of water this year.

Anthony Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez, is scheduled to speak tonight from 6:30 to 8pm at Vistas Restaurant on the Adams State College Campus in Alamosa. Chavez works with students, educators and families in an effort to keep the legacy of his grandfather alive. Everyone is welcome.