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California may give driver's licenses to more in U.S. illegally

August 19, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) speaks at a Capitol news conference.
Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) speaks at a Capitol news conference. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

State lawmakers on Monday resume the process of whittling down more than 1,000 pending bills to a number that won’t cause Gov. Jerry Brown carpal tunnel syndrome as he signs them.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has 64 bills on its agenda Monday, but one is likely to get the lion’s share of attention.

AB 60 would greatly increase the number of immigrants in the country illegally who would be eligible to receive a California driver’s license.

Last year, the Legislature granted driver’s licenses to young immigrants given temporary work permits by the federal government.

The new bill by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) would provide licenses to anyone who can provide documentation, including a marriage license, a college transcript or a bill showing the applicant paid taxes in California. Other documents that will suffice include a consular ID card, a birth certificate, a residential utility bill or a rental agreement.

The new law would apply to those seeking licenses starting Jan. 1, 2015.

Alejo said he introduced the measure because a 2012 Department of Motor Vehicles study found that unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal accident than those with licenses.

The organization unlicensedtokill.org opposes the bill, writing to lawmakers that a similar law in New Mexico was followed by a significant increase in traffic fatalities.

[Update:1:30 p.m., the bill was put on the committee's suspense file so its financial implications can be studied further. A decision on whether to send it to the Senate floor will be made later this month.]

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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