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Skelton: Lawmaker may finally fulfill pledge to dying wife

September 6, 2012 | 11:00 am

Assemblyman Cedillo fulfills promise to dying wife

Skelton hedThis post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Last week California lawmakers approved a bill allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, ending a years-long quest by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles).

That bill represented a promise Cedillo made to his dying wife a decade ago, George Skelton writes in Thursday's column.

Before his wife, Ruby Oliva, died of cancer, Cedillo said, she urged him to continue living a happy life. “Then she grabs me by the collar of my shirt and says, 'But first you have to finish passing this bill. Get that done first, OK? Promise me,' " Cedillo said.

If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill (AB 2189) could allow an estimated 450,000 young illegal immigrants to drive legally if they qualify for a federal work-permit program under a new Obama administration policy.

"Watching the good-natured Cedillo over the years has provided a lesson in legislative commitment and perseverance," Skelton writes. "Legislators of both parties applauded him after his bill passed the Assembly, a rare demonstration of respect and affection."

All of Skelton's columns are here.

For the record, 3:17 p.m., Sept. 6: A previous version of this post referred to "illegal lawmakers." It should have said "illegal immigrants."


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Credit: Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) in the Assembly chamber Aug. 29. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press