Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed this legislative year "very impressive," and said actions taken in the state Capitol this session were aimed in part at helping change and shape national policy on issues ranging from the environment and climate change to immigration reform and the minimum wage.

Brown, speaking at an event in San Francisco on Friday afternoon, said his decision to embrace driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants -- a shift from his campaign position in 2010 -- was spurred by "the foot dragging on the part of Congress in not creating immigration reform.

"Because Congress has been so slow, I think they need a good push, and that's what I think this Drivers License bill does," Brown said.

"It says California recognizes these human beings are very important to our communities, to our economy and hopefully the people in Washington will get the message."

Brown said he's spoken with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) about the need for federal changes on immigration policy and said, "I do think he's moving in the right direction."

He defended a bill to regulate a method of oil extraction known as fracking, despite protests from environmentalists that the bill on his desk doesn't go far enough. "Doing nothing is the worst approach," he said.

"Doing a comprehensive scientific study on oil drilling, fracking and various technologies that are associated with it is absolutely in the public interest, and that's what we're going to do."

Brown deflected questions about a legislative proposal to rename the Western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a move a Brown spokesman said the governor opposed earlier this week.

"I think we've had enough talk on that subject," the governor said.

anthony.york@latimes.com

@anthonyyorklat