- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A noncontroversial bill by an Asian lawmaker has passed after exposing racial divides in the California Assembly when black and Latino lawmakers withheld votes following an affirmative action fight.

AB2013 passed Thursday on a 57-1 vote after failing to advance in April. It would replenish permits available for low-emission vehicles to drive in car pool lanes.

Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance, the bill’s author, told the Sacramento Bee the withheld votes were meant to send a message to the Asian lawmakers who questioned a constitutional amendment that would restore affirmative action in college admissions. He says he supports affirmative action.

Before the April vote, Assembly Speaker John Perez declined to take up a SCA5 repealing prohibitions on race-conscious admissions amid pressure from Asian constituents and lawmakers.

The bill heads to the Senate.

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