DRIVERS LICENSES FOR ALL IS NOW A REALITY IN CALIFORNIA
At approximately 9:35 P.M., today
- the California Assembly passed AB60 by avote margin of 55 to 18, one day after Assemblyman Luis Alejo had pulled his legislation tomake it a two-
year bill. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” responded Los Angeles CityCouncilman Gil Cedillo when he heard of Alejo’s decision. Cedillo is the original author of thedriver’s license legislation, AB60, in 1998 when he arrived at the state assembly.
Alejo’s decision was based on pressure both he and Assembly Speaker John Perez received from
labor unions, in particular SEIU in the person of Eliseo Medina, International Vice President, andthe California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, who essentially ordered them to not proceed withthe legislation. It was never made clear what their real objections were only to say that theymentioned the issue of the distinguishing feature that the proposed license would bear, a DPinstead of DL preceding the serial number that appears on the document. However, it wasrumored that the unions were seeking to extract some other favor or benefit from the governorand sought to hold the bill as leverage.
When immigrant rights organizations throughout the state learned o
f Alejo’s capitulation before
Speaker Perez and the unions, they immediately went into mobilization mode with telephonecalls, faxes, personal delegations to Sacramento, press conferences and interviews, talk radioshows, and email blasts. And, it worked!
First and foremost, we congratulate our immigrant brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers,young and old, the hardest working, salt of the earth workers of California for their forbearance,perseverance, patience, and great faith to right the injustices heaped on them for no otherreason than their color, language, culture, and legal status. But today, they showed thepowerful that the weak will have their moment in history and will not be denied. Twenty yearsis a long time to finally savor victory, and it is certainly sweet. The State of California and itspolitical elite owe you more than an apology for making you wait so long and sacrifice so much.Second, this victory could not have been possible without leadership and we owe that greathonor of recognition to our steadfast leader Gil Cedillo, who under even perilous politicalcircumstances never succumbed to the pressure, threats, and vetoes by five governors, mediascrutiny, right-wing DJ harangues, and even betrayal by the labor unions on numerous occasionsand even legislator colleagues. He also persevered with the support of the immigrantcommunity and today demonstrated his political metal at the eleventh hour of apparent defeat
and pulled victory out from the jaws of defeat. We are ever so thankful to him, and the spiritof his wife Ruby, and his team
Team Cedillo! - Dan, Arturo, David, Eric, Iris, Jan, Mel, Mario,Fredy, Conrado, Ana, Maria, and many more.