SACRAMENTO -- Illegal immigrants living in California will soon be able to get driver's licenses.

Thursday night's passage of AB60 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, capped years of Democratic effort -- most notably by former assemblyman and state Sen. Gil Cedillo, now a Los Angeles city councilman. The state Senate approved it 28-8, the Assembly 55-19.

Gov. Jerry Brown immediately issued a statement indicating he'll sign it. "This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally," he said. "Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due."

Supporters from both parties said undocumented immigrants already drive in California, and roads will be safer if all drivers are trained, licensed and insured.

The bill was almost derailed by the concerns of immigration advocates that the licenses issued to illegal immigrants would be marked differently than those issued to others.

"As an American Jew, I am very sensitive to the 'mark' issues raised by the well-intended opponents of this measure," state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Thursday while arguing for passage of the bill.

But while the yellow Stars of David that European Jews had to wear during the Holocaust were tools for furthering discrimination and genocide, these licenses will help end discrimination, Steinberg said.

Nine other states have similar laws, six of which were enacted this year.

Josh Richman covers politics. Contact him at 510-208-6428. Follow him at Twitter.com/josh_richman. Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.