The hot-button illegal immigration issue was front and center Monday as Oregon lawmakers opened hearings on a bill to allow some students who are not legal citizens to pay in-state tuition at Oregon's public universities.
In their first two debates, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley and political activist Steve Novick adopted an "on the one hand, but on the other hand" stance over how laws should treat the thousands of undocumented workers.
The Oregon Essential Worker Immigration Coalition is planning a February launch of research and lobbying efforts to add their voices to a debate largely dominated by opponents of illegal immigration and by Hispanic and immigrant advocate groups.
Emotions rose in Salem at a hearing on whether to tighten driver's license access for those who cannot prove legal residence. More than 150 people signed up to testify on draft legislation and thousands more listened or rallied.