Joining immigrant rights, community, faith, law enforcement and local elected leaders in Los Angeles and Fresno, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 60, extending the legal right to drive on the state's roadways to millions more Californians.
"When a million people without their documents drive legally and with respect in the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice," said Governor Brown. "No longer are undocumented people in the shadows. They are alive and well and respected in the state of California."
AB 60 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a driver's license to undocumented persons who can prove identity and California residency and meet all other licensing requirements, such as passing the written and behind-the-wheel driving exams. The law becomes operative no later than January 1, 2015.
Studies done by the DMV and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than validly-licensed drivers. AB 60 will help make the roads safer by broadening the state's effort to ensure that all California drivers are properly trained, tested, licensed and insured.
To implement the new law, the DMV will immediately begin the process of adopting regulations that will detail how applicants can prove identity and California residency. Generally, this process will involve public notice of draft regulations, a public comment period and a final decision by the Office of Administrative Law. The DMV will also propose a license design that complies with federal requirements for state driver licenses under the REAL ID Act of 2005.
AB 60 makes it a violation of law to discriminate against anyone on the basis of having the new license. The law also explicitly prohibits using the license for criminal investigation, arrest or detention based on immigration status.
Governor Brown was joined by hundreds of Californians at today's signing ceremonies, including Archbishop José Gómez, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who gave remarks in Los Angeles, and State Center Community College District Board of Trustees president Isabel Barreras, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Masumoto Family Farm president David Mas Masumoto and Modesto City College student Estefania Hermosillo, who gave remarks in Fresno.