The latest attempt to allow illegal immigrants in California to obtain
a license that could be used only for driving received legislative approval
last week. It now heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk where it is
expected to be vetoed.
This is the seventh time Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, has offered
the bill for consideration. He said allowing illegal immigrants to receive
proper driver’s training, testing and insurance would make roadways safer.
Cedillo said there are an estimated 2 million people in the state who
could qualify for licenses under the bill, The
Orange County Register reported.
The bill has been sent to Schwarzenegger, who vetoed an identical bill
in October 2005.
“The governor will not sign any legislation that in any way threatens
public safety,” Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, Margita Thompson, told The Associated Press.
Cedillo’s bill would create special driver’s licenses for undocumented
immigrants that look different than licenses for U.S. citizens and legal
aliens. The version for illegal immigrants would not be valid for
identification or purposes other than driving.
Since 1999, Cedillo has made six attempts to let illegal immigrants
obtain licenses. Then-Gov. Gray Davis vetoed two efforts. One was signed only
to be repealed, another was denied a key hearing and two more were rejected by
The Republican governor said he will wait until Real ID regulations are
published before revisiting the issue. Such regulations aren’t expected to be
formulated until later this year.
Cedillo fought hard to get his latest effort before the governor.
The bill, once known as SB1160, was assumed dead a couple of weeks ago
when the Assembly Appropriations Committee refused to move the bill. To counter
the panel, Cedillo employed a “gut and amend,” which entailed stripping the
content of one of his own bills – SB1162 – that passed the Senate and replacing
it with a new version of the license bill.
The procedure, typically employed at the end of a legislative session,
allows bills to be presented without having to spend time in committees.
Meanwhile, a related bill to reduce the length of time vehicles driven
by unlicensed drivers can be impounded has died.
Sponsored by Sen. Nell Soto, D-Pomona, the bill would have allowed
affected vehicles to be impounded for 24 hours. California law now allows for
vehicles to be taken away for 30 days.
Assembly lawmakers voted 39-33 to kill the bill – SB626. The Senate
previously approved it.