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JIC Post:From SignOn San DiegoSACRAMENTO – Some of the biggest bills of the year, including measures to legalize gay marriages, promote solar power, raise the minimum wage and allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, cleared hurdles Thursday in the California Legislature. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation by Assemblyman Mark Leno that would require the state to recognize same-sex marriages, sending the bill to the full Senate. Advertisement The Assembly narrowly rejected a same-sex marriage bill by Leno in June, but the San Francisco Democrat amended another one of his measures that was pending in the Senate to legalize gay marriage. If the Senate approves the amended bill, it will have to go back to the Assembly for another vote. The Senate committee also sent the full Senate a bill by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Santa Clara, that would raise the state's minimum wage by $1 an hour, to $7.75. It would also require annual increases in the wage each year to keep up with inflation, starting in 2008. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that would allow illegal immigrants to get California driver's licenses. The licenses would have to be of a different color or design than driver's licenses held by other motorists and they could be used only for driving, not as widely recognized identification documents. The bill moves to the Assembly floor. The Assembly committee also approved a bill backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would offer subsidies to homeowners and businesses that install solar power energy systems. But the bill was amended to establish licensing requirements for contractors that install the systems and to require payment of prevailing union wages for installation of solar systems on nonresidential property. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger, Bill Maile, complained that the amendments changes would add to the cost of installing the solar panels, but he wouldn't say if the amendments would cause the governor to drop his support for the bill.
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