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Schwarzenegger scores victory in repeal of license law

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Monday with legislative leaders, including John Burton, D-San Francisco.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Monday with legislative leaders, including John Burton, D-San Francisco.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger
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(CNN) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger scored a major political victory Monday, as the state Assembly followed the Senate's lead and repealed a controversial law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

The law was passed just three months ago with the support of recalled Gov. Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger made repealing it a key promise in his campaign to replace Davis in the October 7 recall vote.

"This is one of those rare moments when legislators recognized the will of the people of California and did the right thing," said Sen. Rico Oller, a San Andreas Republican, who sponsored the repeal bill. "The repeal ... was one of several campaign promises made by Governor Schwarzenegger, and I'm pleased to have played a role in making that happen."

Oller's spokesman, Bill Bird, said the repeal was "the first piece of major Republican legislation to get out of the state of California in five years."

"It's a unique moment, and I sincerely hope there are many more," he said.

The Assembly vote was 64-9 in favor of repeal. The Senate passed the measure 33-0 last week. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is expected to sign the repeal before the end of the week.

The law, which would have gone into effect January 1, allowed people to obtain a California driver's license without providing any proof of identity or residency. Davis, who had opposed the measure in the past, switched his position in the middle of the recall election -- a change of course widely seen as an effort to woo Hispanic voters.

Schwarzenegger came out against the measure, saying that providing driver's licenses to people without appropriate background checks or safeguards presented an unacceptable security risk. He called a special legislative session to deal with the repeal, telling legislators that if they didn't act, he would go to the voters to get the law repealed in a referendum.


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