Contributed by the Office of Luis Alejo:
Today, Assembly Bill 60, the Safe and Responsible Driver Act has been approved by both houses of the California State Legislature. The bill will now be sent to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration.
The bill allows all immigrants, regardless of legal status, to obtain driving training and a driver's license in California. It also requires them to be insured.
In Burlingame, there many Asian immigrants as well as Latino immigrants. Together, the Asian and Latino communities make up 34.1 percent of the local population, according to Census data. But many are natural-born citizens, not immigrants.
“I want to thank our leaders in the Assembly and Senate and the Latino Caucus members who have worked hard on this important measure. I also want to thank our advocates in the labor community who identified areas in the legislation that needed further anti-discriminatory protections for immigrant workers,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo.
Senator Kevin de León presented the bill in the Senate earlier today saying, “Immigrants working and taking care of their families in California have been looking over their shoulders, driving in fear, for far too long. This bill is the culmination of a decade of hard work. Finally, we will be able to safeguard our roads by requiring all drivers to be properly trained, licensed and insured.”
Within the last year, nine states and the District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico have passed legislation to give the right to drive legally to all immigrants. All nine of these states implemented laws that have driver's licenses with recognizable features on the front of the license in order to comply with federal law.
For example, Utah has a Temporary Visitor’s Driver License title on front of the license; Illinois has a Driving Privilege Card title on front of the license; and Colorado has “not for federal use” on front of the license. These recognizable features were required to expressly comply with federal law, which California must also do.
“I am proud to have the privilege to present a historic measure for the state of California. With AB 60 we are recognizing the needs of many hard-working immigrants living here and contributing so much to our great state," said Alejo. "Immigrants who drive legally are more likely to work, spend and contribute to the economy. And those with driver's licenses will have more job opportunities available to them, which will boost businesses in the state.”
Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), said: “We applaud the California Legislature’s favorable vote on this fundamental and long-overdue bill. The Latino Caucus, especially Senator de León and Assemblyman Alejo, are to be congratulated for their leadership and courage on AB 60."
“The California Police Chiefs Association is pleased to support Assembly Bill 60, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo,” said Kim Raney, President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “This legislation will assure that all persons who drive in California are licensed, have insurance, and are subject to enforcement of California’s driving laws."
“I am a fourth generation farmer and grape grower in California, and my workers are very important to me,” states Bill Stokes of Stokes Brothers Farms in Lodi. “Many of my workers are immigrants to this country, as are many workers in the state, and I have personally dealt with issues of my workers being pulled over and harassed because they did not have a driver’s license. This bill will give these workers the legal right to drive on our roads and highways, and prevent the harassment of many of our state’s hardest workers.”
The State Senate approved AB 60 with a vote of 28-8 and the State Assembly approved with a vote of 55-19. AB 60 will be on its way to the Governor’s desk where the Governor has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill.