Lawmakers Considering Two E-Verify Bills

As you know, the Florida Chamber has long advocated for Congress to fix our broken federal immigration system, preferring a comprehensive, federal solution to a state-by-state patchwork of proposed fixes. The Florida Chamber has also consistently opposed any measure that unreasonably burdens Florida businesses.


Both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate have primed two proposals for the consideration of their respective chambers, but the measures are still far apart. Senate Bill 664 was amended in the last committee stop with several new provisions. The House Bill has not changed since its last stop. Below is a summary of both bills.

SB 664HB 1265
Requires E-Verify for all government contractors and subcontractors?YesYes
Requires E-Verify for Florida Businesses?YesYes
Can Other Systems Be Lawful Under Certain Circumstances?Yes, under a “substantially similar” system as defined by Department rule.Yes, if employee can provide the same documentation required by the Form I-9.
Small Business Exemption?Yes, for businesses under 50 employeesNo.
What State Entities Have Access to My Employee’s Data?If your business does not use the E-Verify system, the following entities may ask, and businesses must provide, the complete copies of all records used to establish identity:
• Any state agency
• Any federal agency
If your business does not use the E-Verify system, the following entities may ask, and businesses must provide, any documentation relied upon for verification of identity:
• FDLE
• Attorney General
• State Attorneys
• Statewide Prosecutor
May the State Remove Business Licenses for Non-compliance?YesYes
Is a New Cause of Action Created Against Employers?No, this provision was removed during the committee process.No, this provision was removed during the committee process.
Are Safe Harbors for Liability Created for Law Abiding Businesses?YesYes
Can Anyone File a Complaint Against My Company?Yes, any individual with a “good faith belief” may file a complaint against a business alleging the hiring of unlawful workers.No

We have ten days left in regular session. If your business would be negatively impacted by these proposed bills, please contact Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com soon.

Florida-Only E-Verify Proposal on Senate Committee Agenda Tomorrow

On February 18, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will hear legislation mandating private sector use of the federal E-Verify program, Senate Bill 664. The text of the bill, which was amended to address several business-sector concerns at the last committee stop, can be found here.

An amendment has been filed to remove the agricultural exemption that was added in its first committee stop and additional amendments are expected as this legislation progresses. This is its second of three committee stops in the Senate. The House companion bill has not been heard yet, although that may soon change. The House bill has also yet to be amended and retains several anti-business provisions. The full text of that bill can be found here.

The Florida Chamber continues to have reservations on this Florida-only mandate, believing that comprehensive immigration reform must be done at the federal level rather than through a series of state-by-state fixes. We will continue to work with legislative leaders in both the House and the Senate to ensure that any law will not unfairly harm Florida’s competitiveness or economy.

Share Your Thoughts

Please let us know how SB 664 will impact your business. You can contact Policy Director Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Senate Committee Passes E-Verify Proposal

On February 11, 2020, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an E-Verify proposal, SB 664, but not before making dramatic changes.

The original deeply problematic bill was amended to include important provisions, including safe harbor provisions for businesses following the law as well as protections for small businesses.

The Florida Chamber shared its support of the amendment, sponsored by Senator David Simmons, in advance of the committee meeting, and Florida Chamber Policy Director Christopher Emmanuel testified in support of the amendment during the committee meeting.

“The amendment provides significant improvements to the original bill,” Emmanuel shared with lawmakers and told the Miami Herald.

The Florida Chamber will always have reservations on state-specific mandates, especially on areas of policy that should be handled at the federal level of government. But Senator Tom Lee, the sponsor of the bill, said in committee that this bill is still a work in progress.

The Florida Chamber looks forward to being a part of the conversation.

Share Your Thoughts

Share your thoughts on SB 664 with Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Florida-Only E-Verify Proposal on Senate Committee Agenda Next Tuesday

Senate Bill 664, legislation mandating private sector usage of the federal E-Verify program, will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. The full text of the bill can be found here.

In its current form, Senate Bill 664 requires all employers in the state to use the federal E-Verify program, allows public entities to nullify contracts with businesses based on suspected non-compliance, creates more legal liability through a new cause of action, and threatens government investigations if any person claims to have a “good faith belief” that a business has hired an unlawful worker.

To be sure, this bill is early in the process. Tuesday’s committee is the first hearing E-Verify legislation has received in either chamber this legislative session. The Florida Chamber expects several potential amendments to be filed before Tuesday’s hearing. We will be working with legislators between now and the Tuesday hearing and monitoring any proposed amendments closely.

As you know, the Florida Chamber has long advocated for Congress to fix our broken immigration system, preferring a comprehensive, federal solution rather than a state-by-state patchwork of proposed fixes.

If your business opposes this Florida-only mandate as drafted, please let your state legislators know before Tuesday’s meeting.

E-Verify Legislation Filed in Senate and House

As 2018 winds down, the 2019 Legislative Session is beginning to take shape as bills are continuing to be filed even as we approach the holidays. One notable piece of legislation that was filed yesterday afternoon is SB 164, sponsored by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville). This bill would mandate businesses to utilize the federal E-Verify program for all new hires beginning as early as 2020.  You can read the legislative text of SB 164 here.  This bill is similar to HB 89 filed in the House by Representative Thad Altman (R-Indialantic).

The Florida Chamber has already reached out to Senator Bean, and as this news article reports, the Florida Chamber will remain engaged in ensuring Florida’s businesses remain competitive, while maintaining a lawful, safe, and productive workforce where Florida job creators are not unduly burdened.

Tell Us Your Thoughts

Please contact Chris Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com or (850) 521-1242 with any feedback on how this legislation would impact your business if signed into law.

Tell CRC: No to E-Verify in State Constitution 

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is slated to conduct a final vote on Proposal 6010 (formerly Proposal 29) this week, requiring Florida to adopt legislation regarding employment eligibility verification, better known as E-Verify. This proposal is bad for Florida business as it:

  1. Does not belong in the Florida Constitution. Every state that has adopted E-Verify has done so through legislation, not a constitutional mandate. The constitutional amendment process should not be used as a get-around of the Legislature.
  2. Violates federal immigration law. The federal government is granted the authority to handle immigration law, not the states. Imposing penalties upon a business through this proposal is a violation of the federal immigration law.
  3. Would place significant costs on business for little gain. E-Verify is far from perfect and consistently flags lawful employees. The compliance costs, and penalties associated with it, should not be based on this flawed system.

 

Take Action Now

Contact the CRC and let them know that you oppose Proposal 6010 by calling the CRC at 850-717-9550 or emailing CRC commissioners directly. Their emails can be found here, along with talking points and additional information.

Florida Chamber Staff Analysis: Proposal 29

 

Download Staff Analysis   Constitution Revision Commission   Meet the CRC Commissioners

 

Commissioner Proposal 29 was introduced by Commissioner Rich Newsome for consideration by the full Constitution Revision Commission. This proposal creates a new section of Article X of the Florida Constitution to require employers to use the federal Employment Authorization Program, also known as E-Verify, or face significant penalties. The proposal also gives sweeping, and possibly unconstitutional, powers to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to conduct unannounced inspections and interviews of all employees and managers.

 

Click here to download the Florida Chamber’s Staff Analysis.