A bill allowing the branch campuses of the state's universities to issue doctoral degrees passed Wednesday in the state House of Representatives.
The bill -- House Bill 1586 -- gives Washington State University Tri-Cities the right to start a doctoral program.
The vote in the House was unanimous -- 97-0. Its companion bill -- Senate Bill 5315 -- also appears to have wide support, but it's not been voted on yet.
However, even if passed, the law will have little impact on the Richland campus.
WSU already allows its students to go through portions of its doctoral programs at branch campuses, said Howard Grimes, WSU's vice president for research and dean of the graduate school in Pullman.
Still, they ultimately get their degree from the main campus in Pullman.
These bills won't change that system, because branch campuses would have to hire a lot more faculty.