SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to remove the term “alien” from the California labor code to describe foreign-born workers.

Brown announced Monday that he signed SB432 by Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia.

READ MORE: Dozens of Dogs, Cats Removed From Danville Home

Mendoza said removing the term “alien” was an important step toward modernizing California law because it is now commonly considered a derogatory term with very negative connotations.

The state began using the term “alien” in 1937 to describe people who are not born or naturalized citizens in the United States.

READ MORE: Oakland Church Group Hosts Party to Preach Anti-Violence by Practicing Community

In 1970, the Legislature repealed labor code that discriminated against immigrant workers by requiring that citizens be given preferential treatment for employment. However, the term can still be found in other portions of the labor code.

The new law takes effect next year.

MORE NEWS: 18-Year-Old Man Shot Dead, Another Wounded Saturday in Bay Point

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.