Gardenhire pulls plug on bill allowing undocumented Tennessee students to pay in-state tuition

In this Sept. 20, 2016, staff file photo, Sen. Todd Gardenhire speaks during the Education Mini-Summit 2016 at the Volkswagen Conference Center, where Tennessee legislators from Hamilton County and local education officials discuss the county's public school system.

NASHVILLE - A legislative effort to allow some undocumented students living in Tennessee to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges is dead for the year, a victim of election-year politics, said Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, the bill's sponsor.

Gardenhire said House leadership doesn't want the bill to come up for a vote, while Senate leaders insist the House act first before allowing the measure to move forward.

The senator said this year's governor's race knocked the bill off course. He noted the House for the third year in a row "has killed it under the leadership of Beth Harwell," the Republican House speaker who is running for governor.

He called it "Very disappointing. Very disappointing when you've got all four [Republican] gubernatorial candidates against it and one of them in particular, Diane Black, being personal about it."

Lisa