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Herring extends in-state tuition to ‘Dreamers’

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) hit another political hot-button Tuesday when he issued a ruling stating that certain types of students who came to the United States illegally may now qualify for in-state tuition.

Herring’s ruling applies to young people who have qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as “Dreamers.” In 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began deferring deportation actions for people whose parents illegally brought them to the U.S. as children, provided they meet certain criteria. The action does not give them legal status, but does allow them to obtain work authorization.

The ruling states that students still must gain admission to a college or university, meet the same residency requirements as other students and maintain their DACA status, which must be renewed every two years.

“If the Commonwealth is to remain competitive in a global economy, we must embrace a strategy that maximizes our talent pool and helps all Virginians reach their full potential,” Herring said.

Republican leaders in the state criticized Herring for circumventing the legislature, which has repeatedly killed legislation to extend in-state tuition to students in similar circumstances, even prior to the federal policy change.

“The numerous and complex policy questions surrounding immigration are the subject of a vigorous and ongoing political and legislative debate at both the federal and state level,” read a joint statement from the House of Delegates Republican leadership. “What is clear and not subject to debate, however, is that these issues should be considered, discussed and eventually resolved through the legislative and democratic processes, not by the unilateral actions of one individual.”

Board adopts fiscal 2015 budget

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors formally adopted the budget for fiscal 2015 Tuesday and raised the county’s real estate tax rate by a half cent. The real estate tax rate is now $1.09 per $100 of assessed value. The new budget year begins July 1.

The general fund budget, which encompasses county government and school operations, is $3.7 billion, about 3.6 percent higher than the current fiscal year. The additional funding is primarily going to the county school system and to provide employee raises.

About 52 percent of the general fund budget, $1.95 billion, represents a direct transfer to Fairfax County Public Schools, a 3 percent increase over the current budget year.

The complete fiscal 2015 budget, which includes special funds for things like trash and sewer service, is just under $7 billion.

Fairfax County proposes new rules for noise, house parties

Fairfax County is holding three public meetings to gather community feedback on proposed zoning ordinance changes that would update noise limits and place restrictions on the number and frequency of large gatherings in a private home.

The overall goal of the proposed noise ordinance is to minimize nighttime noise and guarantee residents a certain level of quietness within their homes, according to zoning officials.

The zoning ordinance currently does not identify guidelines for the frequency or scale at which group gatherings are permitted in a home. Without this specificity, managing and addressing impacts of these large, frequent gatherings becomes problematic, according to zoning officials.

Meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the following locations:

• Wednesday, May 7 at South County Government Center, Main Conference Room (SCC221)

• Monday, May 12 at Fairfax County Government Center, Board Room

• Monday, May 19 at Lemon Road Elementary School, School Cafeteria

For more information, contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.