BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1024
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 1024 (Gonzalez)
          As Amended September 6, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |     |(May 16, 2013)  |SENATE: |29-5 |(September 11, |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
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                    (vote not relevant)

          Original Committee Reference:    H. & C.D.  

           SUMMARY  :  Provides that upon certification by the examining  
          committee that an applicant who is not lawfully present in the  
          United States has fulfilled the requirements for admission to  
          practice law, the Supreme Court may admit that applicant as an  
          attorney at law in all the courts of this state and may direct  
          an order to be entered upon its records to that effect.

           The Senate amendments  delete the Assembly version of this bill,  
          and instead substitute the current provisions of the bill.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

           COMMENTS  :  The federal Personal Responsibility and Work  
          Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), Pub. L. No. 104-193,  
          110 Stat. 2105 (Aug. 22, 1996) prohibits certain categories of  
          individuals not lawfully present in the United States from  
          receiving certain public benefits, including "any grant,  
          contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license  
          provided by an agency of a State or local government or by  
          appropriated funds of a State or local government."  (8 United  
          States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1621(c).)  PRWORA provides that a  
          state may render "an alien who is not lawfully present in the  
          United States . . . eligible for any State or local public  
          benefit for which such alien would otherwise be ineligible . . .  
          through the enactment of a State law after the date of the  
          enactment of this Act which affirmatively provides for such  
          eligibility."  (8 U.S.C. Section 1621(d).)  Consistent with that  
          provision, this bill seeks to expressly extend eligibility to  
          obtain a license to practice law to individuals who are not  
          lawfully present in the United States.









                                                                  AB 1024
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          The Supreme Court is currently considering and has not rendered  
          a decision whether Sergio Garcia is eligible for admission to  
          practice law in the State of California.  (See In re Sergio C.  
          Garcia on Admission, S202512, May 15, 2012.)  Mr. Garcia has  
          reportedly been unlawfully present in the United States for  
          approximately 20 years, and is currently petitioning the federal  
          government for an immigrant visa.  During his time in the United  
          States, Mr. Garcia has graduated from law school, passed the  
          California Bar Exam, and has been found by the Committee of Bar  
          Examiners to have met all the necessary requirements for  
          admission to practice law in the State of California.  However,  
          given his immigration status, it may be uncertain whether the  
          Supreme Court can admit Mr. Garcia consistently with federal  
          law.  Indeed, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an amicus  
          brief in the Garcia case opining that 8 U.S.C. Section 1621  
          precludes issuance of a law license to Mr. Garcia, but also  
          noting that federal law allows California to enact a law making  
          undocumented immigrants eligible for this public benefit.  

          Although some have argued that existing law should be  
          sufficient, this bill seeks to clarify the question by expressly  
          providing that the Supreme Court may admit an applicant who is  
          not lawfully present in the United States as an attorney at law  
          in all the courts of this state upon certification by the State  
          Bar examining committee that the applicant has fulfilled the  
          requirements for admission to practice law.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Kevin Baker / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 


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