A bill that allows an unspecified number of undocumented immigrants in California to become eligible for driver's licenses was signed by Governor Jerry Brown late Sunday according to a blog posted by Jim Sanders on the Sacramento Bee's Capital Alert website.
The measure, Assembly Bill 2189, was among the final bills Brown for which made decisions on the last day for him to sign or veto measures passed by the Legislature this year.
The bill affects an estimated 400,000 people who are expected to meet the requirements of President Barack Obama's new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-L.A.)has been attempting to pass such legislation for over a decade, saying issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants would enhance public safety.
Opponents have argued that California should be careful in issuing driver's licenses because of their use as identification for other public purposes.
Sanders went on to write that officials of the California Department of Motor Vehicles have already stated that it appears Deferred Action participants will be eligible for driver's licenses. California requires specific documents to be produced to obtain one, however, and those expected to be distributed by the federal program are not on the state's list.
It would apply to fewer than one of every four undocumented immigrants in California, according to Cedillo.
Deferred Action is meant for longtime California residents who came to the United States as undocumented immigrants when they were young and generally have lived productive lives since then.
It applies to undocumented immigrants between the ages of 15 and 31 who came to the United States before age 16 and have lived in this country continuously for the past five years.
Participants must be in school, have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency certificate, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military. They cannot have committed a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
In other action Sunday:
- Legislation touted by supporters as a fitting tribute to fallen heroes but ripped by opponents as a costly expansion of public benefits was vetoed.
- Legislation that would have made it a crime for farmers not to provide adequate shade and water to their field workers was also vetoed.
- Legislation was killed that was designed to curtail the deportation of undocumented immigrants arrested on minor or non-violent offenses.
- Rejecting the notion of allowing criminals to become celebrities, Gov. Brown vetoed legislation that would have allowed reporters the right to interview specific state convicts.
- A $100 million annual tax break for California motion picture companies was extended.
- Parents who exclude their children from immunization requirements are now required to submit a signed statement that they received information about risks and benefits of vaccines.
- Juvenile murderers sentenced to life in prison without parole have hope of being released in years to come under legislation signed.
For more news and information, visit Capital Alert.