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Bill to provide driver's licenses to immigrants is shelved for the year

September 11, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), right, talks with Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside) during the Assembly session at the Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Alejo shelved a bill for the year that would provide driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.
Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), right, talks with Assemblyman… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

The author of a bill that would provide driver’s licenses to many more immigrants in the country illegally said Wednesday he is delaying action on the measure until next year to build greater support.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) decided that the multiple proposals to change his bill required more time for the interested parties to discuss them, said spokeswoman Marva Diaz.

“We thought it would be best to have a thorough conversation and then resume the bill once we have that conversation,” Diaz said. ”Having that thorough conversation to make sure that all interested parties understand every aspect of the bill is very important.”

Originally, AB 60 would have allowed people in the country illegally to get a driver’s license if they could provide any document showing they have lived and paid taxes in California.

The bill was amended in the last week to instead have the Department of Motor Vehicles hold hearings and determine what kind of documents would be required to be eligible to get a license.

At the request of Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill was also amended to require markings on both sides of the license indicating it was a special license.

The marking would say: “This card is not acceptable for federal purposes; it is acceptable for driving privilege only. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

But even those changes were not enough for some lawmakers to support the bill.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) told reporters some people had issues with the bill, but he was willing to work toward a compromise.

The goal, he said, is “do everything we reasonably can to ensure that hard-working people, regardless of their immigration status, have the legal ability to drive.”

Alejo’s bill was an attempt to build on legislation approved last year that gave licenses to young immigrants provided a federal work permit.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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