The California Department of Motor Vehicles is holding the first of two public workshops this morning on its proposed regulations for implementing AB 60, the landmark state law that will issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Members of the Drive CA Coalition, a group of immigrant rights organizations, plan to rally outside the Junipero Serra Building in Los Angeles before the 10 a.m. hearing to express concerns about the regulations, which they argue could be prohibitively expensive.
The main point of contention is the DMV's proposal to verify an applicant's identity and California residence by requiring a foreign passport and consular ID. Securing both of those documents in Mexico, for example, would cost $128, according to the coalition.
"A lot of applicants make minimum wage, so it would represent a large percentage of their income," Refugio Mata, campaign manager for the Latino advocacy group Presente.org, told Capitol Alert.
Not all countries issue consular IDs for their citizens living abroad, he added, so accessibility would not be guaranteed. The coalition is asking that the DMV require just one of the documents.
Immigrant advocates are also demanding assurances that applicants' personal information is kept secure and that they will not be treated differently by law enforcement if they show an AB 60 license.
"They don't really have mechanisms stated explicitly about how the information is going to be protected," Mata said. "We want to make sure it's not going to be shared with other federal agencies."
A second hearing will take place on Thursday in Oakland, 10 a.m. at the Caltrans Building.
VIDEO: The state controller's race has come down to thousands of votes in one rural Northern California county, Dan Walters says.
OBAMA FAVORED: Despite an unfolding scandal involving the Department of Veterans Affairs and growing unrest in the Middle East, a new Field Poll finds that California voters still largely approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing. Congress, however, doesn't fair nearly so well with the Golden State. Reporter Christopher Cadelago has more in his story.
WORK IT: Sex worker groups, led by the Erotic Service Providers Union and the US PROStitutes Collective, will appear before the Assembly Public Safety Committee, 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol, to oppose SB 1388, which would create mandatory minimum punishments for a person who solicits prostitutes. The groups argue that the bill, which would require a minimum 48-hour jail sentence and a fine of at least $1,000 to fund local "victim assistance" programs, encourages corruption by giving a financial incentive to increase arrests and further stigmatizes sex workers.
OVERSEAS ABSENTEES: Current law states that all ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted, but a bill from Assembly members Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, would give members of the military stationed overseas an extra three days for their ballots to reach election officials, as long as they are postmarked on or before the day voters go to the polls. The legislators will be joined by state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, Assembly members Beth Gaines, R-Roseville, and Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, and veterans to discuss the proposal, 10:30 a.m. at the All Wars Memorial in Capitol Park.
WINE NOT?: In advance of the California State Fair, taking place next month in Sacramento, state Deputy Secretary of Food and Agriculture Jim Houston and others will announce the Best in Show winners from the fair's commercial wine competition, 10 a.m. on the east steps of the Capitol. There were 2,800 entries in this year's competition, which includes awards for red, white, pink, dessert and sparkling wines.
COMPUTER COMMUTER: As the cost of tuition continues to rise, advocates of public higher education are debating how to keep it affordable. Is online learning the solution? The Public Policy Institute of California presents research on outcomes of online classes at California community colleges and then hosts a panel discussion with members of the state's three public higher education segments, noon at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.
COLLEGE CONCERNS: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, the California Alliance of African American Educators and the California Student Aid Commission hold a briefing on the status of African American students in California higher education, starting at 1 p.m. in Room 125 of the Capitol. The briefing will cover topics including access to college, financial aid and gun violence in schools, to be followed by a reception at 4 p.m.
BATTLE OF THE BRULTE: California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte will discuss primary election results and his "battle plan" for victory in November with the Republicans of River City club, 6:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Rancho Cordova.
PHOTO: People who attended a DMV public hearing on the new licenses, held at the the Secretary of State's building at 11th and O streets on January 28, 2014 in Sacramento, wore this sticker. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench