SACRAMENTO — In 2012, the governor and Legislature overhauled California’s public pension and workers’ compensation systems. They made it illegal to carry rifles openly in cities. They allowed certain illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and qualify for state college financial aid.
Voters made laws, too, approving Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary quarter-cent hike in the sales tax, among other measures, in a bid to help resolve California’s dire fiscal situation.
Controversy surrounded the bid to permit perhaps hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to qualify for state driver’s licenses. The new law applies to those given a work permit as part of an Obama administration program that suspends deportation for many people who arrived illegally as children.
Also contentious was the Dream Act, approved in 2011 but taking effect today, allowing students in the country illegally to receive taxpayer-financed aid to attend universities and colleges. The California Student Aid Commission expects about 20,000 people to apply for such assistance,said executive director Diana Fuentes-Michel.