A Fairfax delegate's effort to bar from Virginia colleges male students who fail to register for the draft was narrowly blocked in a House committee today, after drawing the opposition of state school administrators.
Del. Warren Barry (R-Fairfax), who called youths who fail to register "lawbreakers," had garnered 31 cosponsors for his bill ordering state universities to refuse them admission. "I don't believe that the taxpayers of Virginia should be required to subsidize people who don't abide by the law," Barry had argued.
But at a public hearing today, state officials, including Secretary of Education John T. Casteen, testified that Barry's proposal would impose an administrative burden on state schools to determine if students had registered, and could wind up costing the schools several million dollars.
Consideration of the bill provoked a procedural rhubarb this morning when House Education Committee chairman Dorothy S. McDiarmid (D-Fairfax), in apparent violation of House rules, used a proxy vote in her committee to cast the decisive vote against the bill. Barry, charging that proxy voting is in violation of House rules, complained to House Speaker A. L. Philpott (D-Henry), who instructed McDiarmid to reconsider the vote. But when the committee voted again in the afternoon, the measure was rejected on a 9-to-9 vote.
"It was a bad bill," said McDiarmid. "I think it's a bad idea to have these kinds of laws that apply only to men and not to women."