Pennsylvania House Passes E-Verify Legislation

capdomejpg-44a2513002f80be5Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed two proposals (House Bills 1502 and 1503) that would require certain Pennsylvania employers to verify the employment eligibility of construction and contracted public workers via the E-Verify or Social Security Number Verification Services (NVS) systems.

One bill pertains to public works contractors and their subcontractors doing business with the State and would require verification of their workers’ employment eligibility either through E-Verify (for new hires) or NVS (for existing employees). The companion bill carries the same employment verification requirements for private-sector construction companies “whether or not the work is for a public body or paid for from public funds.” Both bills offer protection to employees who report or participate in an investigation relating to an alleged violation.

If the Senate passes the bills (we will keep you posted), employers who violate these rules could face stiff penalties, including the forfeiture of state licenses or certifications and debarment from state projects.

Washington’s Pierce County mandates E-Verify for contractors

Washington State’s Pierce County has approved a resolution which will require most private employers seeking business with the county to use E-Verify. Under the new law, the county will also participate in E-Verify and ensure that all of its new hires are run through the system.

The ordinance (2009-74s) specifies that businesses must confirm they are enrolled in E-Verify if they are seeking county public works contracts worth more than $100,000 or any other County contract in excess of $25,000. The law also exempts contracts that involve work outside of the U.S; last less than 120 days; or relate to commercially available off-the-shelf items (COTS).

One final note: the law also indicates that the County must include specific written notice in all relevant requests for bids or proposals that contractors may be required to enroll in the E-Verify program as a condition of award.  Contractors are exempt from the requirement if they receive requests for bids or proposals not containing such notice.

The ordinance is made available below.

Washington State County to require E-Verify for certain contractors

The Vancouver Columbian reports that Washington State’s Clark County has approved a resolution which will require companies awarded public works or service contracts that are equal to or over $1,000,000 to use E-Verify. Commissioners passed the new rule on a 3-0 vote after a hearing on Tuesday. Given the high dollar threshold, the resolution will likely affect only large road projects and a few social service contracts.
Clark County now joins the growing number of local governments who have enacted or are considering resolutions, making E-Verify mandatory for certain companies and situations. As previously reported, Michigan counties have approved E-Verify mandates for local contractors, while LA County in California is considering such a proposal.

The Columbian reports that Washington State’s Clark County has approved a resolution which will require companies awarded public works or service contracts that are equal to or over $1,000,000 to use E-Verify. Commissioners passed the new rule on a 3-0 vote after a hearing on Tuesday. Given the high dollar threshold, the resolution will likely affect only large road projects and a few social service contracts.

Clark County now joins the growing number of local governments nationwide who have enacted or are considering resolutions, making E-Verify mandatory for certain companies and situations. As recently reported, Michigan counties have approved E-Verify mandates for local contractors, while LA County in California is considering such a proposal. The city council in Huntsville, Alabama also recently instituted a new policy requiring city vendors to use E-Verify starting January 1, 2010.

LA County considers mandatory E-Verify for contractors

Today, Los Angeles County supervisors voted to explore requiring local contractors to participate in E-Verify as a condition of doing business with the county. According to the motion agreed to today, the Board will review the E-Verify system and report back in two weeks with recommendations. Los Angeles County is one of the largest counties in the nation, consisting of 88 cities and 10 million residents (as of July 2008). Most of the cities contract with the County to provide a wide array of municipal services.

On the California state level, E-Verify has come under attack by legislators who question its effectiveness and have put forth a bill which would prohibit the state, or a city, county or special district from requiring employers to use E-Verify as a condition of receiving a government contract, applying for or maintaining a business license, or as a penalty for violating licensing or similar laws. The bill (AB 1288) recently passed a Senate vote and now moves back to the Assembly where it was introduced.

In the meantime, E-Verify remains a voluntary program for employers in California. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, California has the second largest  number of employers enrolled in E-Verify at 10,476 as of July 2009. Arizona leads the charge with roughly 31,000 employers enrolled.

Michigan counties to require E-Verify of local contractors

Two counties in Michigan recently passed resolutions requiring certain local contractors to use E-Verify for all new hires. According to a local news article, Macomb county will require all contractors doing at least $20,000 worth of business with the county to use E-Verify. The resolution will only apply to service contracts and is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2009.

In a similar move, Oakland County, Michigan passed a resolution last week which will mandate every future services contract (including both new and renewing contracts) to include an E-Verify (or other DHS employment eligibity system) requirement for new hires starting October 1, 2009. The resolution also specifies that the county will not enter into future contracts with organizations that do not comply. The official press release from the county Board of Commissioners is available here.

According to the sources mentioned above, there’s support for similar measures being adopted by other Michigan counties as well as the state government. The patchwork of E-Verify mandates continues…