The illegal alien lobby is back with a vengeance. You may remember SB 60, the idiotic bill that Joe
“Gray” “Gris” Davis signed in hopes of heading off the recall that ended his career last fall. You know the rest: referendum proponents easily gathered the signatures they needed, and the new governor used them to persuade the Legislature to repeal its own bill, promising to work with them in future bills that address its security issues. Among these issues was the fact that pre-1993 licenses, like the ones that would have been issued under SB 60, imply that illegal aliens are in fact legal residents. Soon it became clear that the Governator would not sign a bill that did not distinguish illegal aliens’ licenses from those of citizens or lawful resident, a requirement which long-time illegal alien lobbyist/legislator Gil “Ha, ha, just kidding about that ‘public safety’ thing” Cedillo decried as a deal-breaker. As recently as Thursday, the Orange County Register declared the concept dead.
So if you are like most rational human beings, you probably thought the Fake IDs for Illegal Aliens Act was dead and buried for at least the year, if not for the remainder of Schwarzenegger’s term. Think again. Since February, Ass. Bill 2895 was a bill relating to domestic violence, which had nothing whatsoever to do with driver licenses for illegal aliens. Suddenly, on Friday, the Legislature gutted and amended the old bill out of existence, replacing it with a new bill to issue driver licenses to illegal aliens. You know “illegal aliens,” right? You know, the guys who aren’t supposed to be here, but are anyway? They’re the same guys who cryptostupid people often refer to as “undocumented workers,” regardless of whether they actually work, and regardless of whether or not adequate documentation exists to prove the illegality of their presence in this country. Once that domestic violence bill had been beaten to death by the very woman it had trusted to protect it, the abuser turned murderer easily sailed through both houses of the Legislature, on a near-party line vote. On the one hand, every single Republican – including the moderate ones that an Angry Rottweiler or a Spoon might otherwise decry as a RINO – cast a vote against this monstrosity. On the other, only three Assembly Democrats – and none in the Senate – did, with three other Democrats in each house (and again, no Republicans) abstaining.
No biggie, you might say. After all, Ahnold has already assured us that he would never sign a turkey like that, right? Right. Trouble is, he doesn’t have to. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware that something else is going on next week which just might lure Mr. Schwarzenegger out of the state. Once his plane crosses the Nevambleda state line, guess who becomes acting governor? That’s right, MEChA-Man himself!
Lest you harbor any illusions that MEChA-Man would hesitate to usurp the governor’s power and sign a driver licenses for illegal aliens bill himself if given the chance, take a gander at this L.A. Times article, which I obtained from the Save Our License email alert. Money quote:
On Saturday, Cedillo and members of the governor’s staff acknowledged that approval of the bill by Bustamante was a possibility, however remote.
Asked about such a move, the lieutenant governor declined to state any intention.
“I’m very supportive of the bill,” Bustamante said through a spokesman. “As to whether I would sign it or not — that calls for an extreme amount of speculation.”
Actually, no, it doesn’t. Based on a statement like that, I have to conclude that Bustamecha is either being deliberately coy, or he is planning on signing the bill and faxing a copy of his middle finger to the real governor’s hotel in New York. It wouldn’t take any speculation on his part to say what his intentions are. Thus, the real governor has to consider that there is a real possibility MEChA-Man will hijack the process and sign this horrible bill if given the chance. Given that possibility, here are the Governator’s options, as I see them:
- Veto the bill before leaving. This would be the ideal option, of course. I’m not sure it really is an option, though. According to the Legislature’s web site, Ass. Bill 2895 has not yet been enrolled or sent to the governor for signature. He can’t veto what isn’t on his desk, and the bill may not reach his desk until it’s too late to catch a flight to his scheduled speech. Even that assumes he hasn’t left already, which he probably has, as his original itinerary had him leaving yesterday. If he’s left, it’s a bit late to exercise that option, though theoretically he could fly back briefly just to veto it, and then fly back to New York again. Massive jetlag, but minor compared to traveling 45 years back in time, so it’s doable.
- Skip the convention. Short of actually signing Ass. Bill 2895, this is the worst option of all. For all we know, maybe Cedillo, Nunez and the rest knew their bill wouldn’t stick and the whole idea behind this stunt was to put the national GOP convention in disarray. If he takes that bait, the terrorists will have won.
- Stick to the Original Schedule. This option all but invites MEChA-Man to “make Schwarzenegger’s day.” It’s high stakes poker, in a way, but the stakes aren’t really as high as they may look at a glance. After all, if the bill were signed during Schwarzenegger’s absence, he could suspend enforcement pending a referendum that would easily qualify for the ballot, even more easily than the last effort, in which Schwarzenegger played no role. So in a sense, the bill wouldn’t really do anything, except to “get out the vote” among Republicans, independents and sane Democrats, and maybe even spark a new recall effort against that moron who never should have been elected to the position in the first place. I’d like to think it may lead to a reform allowing statewide recalls of individual legislators, but that may be a bit too much to hope for.
UPDATE: Dan Weintraub says no way, no how, citing a KTKZ interview in which the governor’s ommunications director, Rob Stutzman, assured listeners that the governor will veto AB 2895 and “won’t let anyone else get their hands on it before he does so.” I’m not convinced, for two reasons. First, Weintraub names the wrong bill, SB 1160 (the original Cedillo bill), and dismisses as a “rumor” and a “tale” the possibility that Cruz Bustamante might sign the bill – a possibility Bustamante himself refuses to rule out. These two errors suggest that Weintraub has not been following this issue as closely he ordinarily would. Second, neither Weintraub nor Stutzman has offered any explanation at all as to what, exactly, a governor can do from outside the state to prevent the Legislature from sending an enrolled bill to the desk of the acting governor. Until Ahnold’s plane touches down in Kalifornia, I don’t rule anything out.
UPDATE x2: Weintraub has fixed the reference to the bill number, but has not explained how, or even if, a governor absent from the state can prevent a lieutenant governor from doing anything that the governor himself could do while inside the state. Meanwhile, this idle radio talk show rumor has spread to the pages of Weintraub’s own newspaper, which reported as recently as Tuesday that Gil Cedillo was still urging Cruz Bustamante to sign the bill (h/t: Lonewacko) if it reached his desk before Schwarzenegger returned. Forget Weintraub and Stutzman’s glib assurances, folks. This one ain’t over till it’s over, and may not even be over then.