Gov. Jerry Brown used an unconventional place to sign the California DREAM Act Monday: on Gil Cedillo’s back.
Cedillo, a Los Angeles Assemblyman, is the author of AB 130, which would allow children of undocumented residents to apply for private loans for college. The acronym stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors.
At the signing ceremony in Los Angeles, which was live-streamed online, Brown called the legislation “one piece of a very important mosaic, which is a California that works for everyone and a California who understands where our strength is.”
Another piece, Cedillo and his supporters might say, is AB 131, which would give the children of undocumented access to state grants.
Brown later told reporters he is “favorable” to the second part of the DREAM Act, but didn’t want to “scoop” himself by anticipating what he’d do on the same day he signed part one of he DREAM Act.
Cedillo said Brown added to his legacy with his signature.
“You’ve had some great days as a governor, but I think this is going to be one of those days that really sets a milestone because it’s so forward-looking,” Cedillo said.
Brown used the bill signing to make a larger point about the great debate going on over how to divide resources, especially in a bruising economic climate.
“We are facing many obstacles and adversaries,” Brown said. “The debate is very clear: shrivel public service, shrink back, retrench, retreat from higher education, from schools, from the investment in people; or make the investment. …
“It’s not just in having some extra money to go to a movie or to buy a flat screen television from China, it’s also being able to go to a community college or a state college and being able to pay for it.”
Republicans decried the legislation as unfair to legal residents.
“At a human level, I sympathize with the desire to obtain a higher education,” said Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Antelope Valley. “But this is about fairness — financial aid should be granted to citizens who are in need.
“The approximately $20 million incurred to administer financial aid to illegal immigrants is still state money, and will have to come out of the General Fund at a time when taxpayers can ill afford the additional cost,” added Runner, who is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Education committee.
“This means less money is available to educate our citizens and legal immigrants.”
The issue was made prominent during one of last year’s gubernatorial debates when GOP nominee Meg Whitman told a Fresno State student, the daughter of illegal immigrants, that she did not support the DREAM Act.
I’m glad you were able to get a good, free education in California’s K-12 public schools. Here is the challenge we face: Our resources are scarce. We are in terrible economic times and slots have been eliminated at the California State University system – I think they’re down by 40,000 students. Same is true at the … the University of California system. Programs have been cut, and California citizens have been denied admission to these universities and I don’t think it’s fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher universities and favor undocumenteds.
That response was seen by many to seal Whitman’s fate among Latino voters (along with her housekeeper issues).
Brown announced the signing of 32 other bills, and two vetoes. He singled out one bill, SB 209, that would make it easier to install plug-in charging stations for electrical vehicles.
“Charging stations are part of the infrastructure that must be built to integrate electrical vehicles into our daily lives by allowing plug-in vehicles to be recharged faster and to minimize the impact to the electrical grid,” he wrote. “I enthusiastically support this bill.”
The legislation prohibits common interest developments, such as condominiums and homeowner associations, from preventing the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
“This legislation ensures that people who live in condominiums and other common interest developments have the ability to charge electric cars,” said Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, the author of the bill. “By making electric vehicles a practical option for more consumers, we are helping California move toward cleaner, more fuel-efficient automobiles.”