A late night on Legislature’s last day


SACRAMENTO -- There were optimistic rumors that California lawmakers would wrap up their work by sundown on Thursday, the final day of the legislative session.

But they didn’t finish until shortly after midnight, toiling into the night on bills involving driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and changes to environmental regulations.

A weary Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) frequently prodded lawmakers to speed up the proceedings.


“Members, it is now 10:20 p.m.” he said at one point. “Does anybody have anything compelling that needs to be added to the debate?”

The bill on driver’s licenses (AB 60) was particularly tortured. Senators decided to consider the measure even when its author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) said he wanted to hold it until next year.

“People in my community want and need driver licenses now, not tomorrow,” Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said.

Some supporters didn’t like changes to the bill adding different markers to licenses issued to undocumented immigrants -- for example, the license number would say “DP” instead “DL.” But the bill was brought to the Assembly floor anyway, where it passed. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign it.

The governor was more publicly involved in the lawmaker process than usual in the last few days, issuing rare statements on controversial bills involving topics such as fracking and raising the minimum wage.


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Twitter: @chrismegerian