The bill has already been approved – and vetoed – four times.
But California's Latino Legislative Caucus expects it to become law next year when Gov.-elect Jerry Brown takes office.
In its current form, the bill would let undocumented college students apply for financial aid from a pool of money that is private but administered by state colleges and universities.
"I expect Jerry Brown to sign it for a simple reason. He stood up at the Fresno debate (against GOP rival Meg Whitman) and said he would," said Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, chair of the Latino caucus and author of the bill.
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While a more conservative Congress is likely to ratchet up tough talk on illegal immigrants, California, the country's most heavily immigrant state, is poised to go in a different direction.
Brown won on Nov. 2 with decisive support from California's increasingly muscular Latino electorate. The voting bloc includes many naturalized U.S. citizens, and the Field Poll estimates its share of registered voters has grown to 22 percent.
The state's Latino caucus worked to turn out voters for Brown and expects the Democrat to empathize with initiatives they've supported but seen vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
During the same Fresno debate, sponsored by Univision Spanish-language TV, Brown spent considerable time explaining his views on illegal immigration, as well as recalling his first term as governor.
In the 1970s, Brown appointed the first Latinos to positions of California state power. He signed the nation's only law to give farm workers the right to choose unions.
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