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.

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.

Opinion: Florida, and Nation, Need Immigration to Fill Worker Shortage and Fuel Our Economy

Originally Published in the Sun Sentinel, October 22, 2018

 

The Department of Labor recently reported that in August, U.S. businesses had over 7 million unfilled positions. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, there are about 240,000 open jobs in our state, and fewer than 60,000 people receiving unemployment benefits. These statistics highlight a worker shortage crisis that over time will negatively impact our state and national economies, our ability to generate wealth, and even our national security.

The problem is so severe that if you gather 20 CEOs in a room and ask about their biggest challenge, 18 of the 20 are likely to say it is finding good employees.

How did we get to the place where businesses cannot find the employees they need?

The U.S. economy is enjoying a nearly 10-year run of economic growth that has generated many new jobs. Meanwhile, retiring baby boomers are vacating existing jobs at the rate of 10,000 per day. This combination of economic growth and retiring baby boomers has resulted in a very low unemployment rate, with more jobs available than people qualified to fill them.

Click here to read the complete article in the Sun Sentinel.

Bill Yeargin is CEO of Correct Craft, a marine industry company based in Orlando with six manufacturing plants around the U.S. He also is a member of the Florida Council of 100.

Immigration Reform: Impact on Florida

 

Visit the U.S. Chamber’s website to learn more about immigration reform and to see how reducing legal immigration by 25% would affect the economy and legal immigration in Florida.

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.

Overall Voters Feeling Good About Florida’s Direction, But Undecided In 2018 Governor’s Race

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 11, 2018) – A majority of Florida voters believe Florida is headed in the right direction, according to the latest statewide political poll released by the Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI).

In its first statewide poll of the New Year, 56 percent of likely voters believe Florida is headed in the right direction. Although the majority of voters approve of Florida’s direction, the views differ based on party. Republicans are especially optimistic at 76 percent, more than half of NPA’s (56 percent) believe Florida is moving in the right direction, while less than half of Democrats (34 percent) believe Florida is headed in the right direction.

More than half (57 percent) of all registered voters approve of Governor Rick Scott’s job performance. Among parties, Republicans overwhelmingly approve of his performance by 82 percent, while 30 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of NPA’s approve.

Ten months before electing a new Governor, voters from both parties are beginning to consider which candidates they will support, although there are more undecided than decided candidates.

Among candidates on the Democrat ticket, Gwen Graham leads with 14 percent, however 64 percent of voters remain undecided. Philip Levine garners 7 percent, Andrew Gillum garners 6 percent and Chris King garners 1 percent.

On the Republican ticket for candidates, 23 percent support Adam Putnam and 18 percent support Ron DeSantis, while 50 percent are undecided.

 

“Voters will elect a new Governor, all new members of the Florida Cabinet and 140 members to the Florida House and Senate. It’s still very early in what will be a busy 2018 election cycle. In the coming months, voters will begin to take a much closer look at the candidates for office,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President, Political Operations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

On the issues that matter to voters, education tops the list at 17 percent, followed by jobs and the economy at 13 percent and healthcare at 12 percent. Immigration and global warming remain a concern – garnering 5 percentage points each. While issues like guns, terrorism and marijuana barely register among voters.

When considering constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot, Amendment 1 would pass if voted on today, while Amendment 2 is inching closer to the 60 percent threshold for passage.

Amendment 1 calls for increasing the homestead exemption:

  • 61 percent of voters support increasing the homestead exemption for homeowners.
  • 69 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of NPA’s and 52 percent of Democrats support increasing the homestead exemption for homeowners.

Amendment 2 would make a 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent:

  • 54 percent of likely voters support making the 10 percent cap on annual non-homesteaded property tax permanent.
  • 58 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of NPA’s and 50 percent of Democrats support making the 10 percent cap on annual non-homesteaded property tax permanent.

Beyond the Florid Chamber’s political polling, voter registration indicates interesting trends:

  • 42 percent of all new voters registered since January 1, 2018 are registering as NPA’s
    • 27 percent are registering as Democrats
    • 27 percent are registering as Republicans
  • 54 percent of new Hispanic voters are registering as NPA’s
    • 32 percent are registering as Democrats
    • 14 percent are registering as Republicans

 

ABOUT THIS POLL:  The Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted on January 2-5, 2018 by Voter Opinions during live telephone interviews of likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent. The sample size included 235 Democrats, 259 Republicans and 106 Others for a total of 600 respondents statewide. The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber are consistently drawn from likely voters and newly registered voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

 

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

 

 

Florida Chamber Supports Smarter Immigration Policy

 

Download Letter    Add Your Name     Immigration Policy

 

There’s a lot going on in Washington, D.C., and one specific area within immigration is the fate of 800,000 children in a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I want to share with you a letter of support the Florida Chamber of Commerce has sent to Florida’s Congressional Delegation.

 

America is the land of opportunity, freedom and earned success.  Diversity is a uniquely American value and it is a privilege to be an American citizen.  We are a nation of laws as well as a nation of immigrants.

With the recent announcement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Florida Chamber of Commerce respectfully encourages Congress and the administration to work together to quickly find a legislative solution before the program expires.  Without a legislative solution, 800,000 DACA recipients will lose their ability to work and legally study, and it will leave many Florida employers, workers and students without certainty.

Florida is a proud leader in private-sector job creation as well as forward looking policy decisions. Florida is inextricably connected to the global economy and we are actively growing and securing our future. Florida’s nearly $1 trillion GDP will see private-sector job growth of two million new jobs by 2030. Immigrants have made positive contributions to Florida’s economic growth, fueling Florida’s entrepreneurial spirit, creating jobs, diversifying our economy and have provided global competitive advantages that have helped make Florida a recognized international business center.

Decades of unsuccessful immigration policy has created an environment for positive change. The Florida Chamber believes Congress and the administration should work in a bipartisan effort to provide clear direction and leadership for the hard working, law abiding, established individuals in our communities under the DACA program. However, we do not support illegal immigration or a pathway to citizenship for convicted felons.

The Florida Chamber supports an earned pathway to citizenship for immigrants that pass criminal background checks as well as supports policies that reduce illegal immigration and improve on border security.

 

 

 

The Facts Are Clear:

  • There are approximately 800,000 DACA individuals.
  • In Florida, voters overwhelmingly support – by 82 percent – allowing DACA recipients to remain in the United States.
  • Regarding citizenship, 85 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents (NPAs,) and 59 percent of Republicans support a pathway to citizenship.

 

The Florida Chamber stands ready to work with you and the administration toward a constructive solution that is in the best interest of Florida and the nation’s economy.

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Poll Shows Floridians Overwhelmingly Support Cell Phone/Cable TV Tax Cut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (June 1 , 2015) – By a margin of nearly five to one, Floridians support cutting taxes on cell phones and cable television, according to the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll released today.

“Lowering the cost of living and the cost of doing business through targeted tax reforms is a top priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce,”  said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of the Florida Chamber Political Institute. “Clearly, voters agree with Governor Scott and the Florida Chamber that lowering cell phone and cable TV taxes will put money back into the pockets of Floridians and help make Florida more competitive.”

Of the 605 Florida likely voters polled, more than 70 percent support a reduction in the Communications Service Tax (CST), while 15 percent oppose and only 12 percent were unsure. The CST tax cut is among proposals lawmakers are expected to consider during the June 1-20, 2015 Special Legislative Session.

Right/Wrong Direction and Financial Situation:

With more than 865,000 private-sector jobs created in the last five years, and an unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, the Florida Chamber’s poll also shows Florida voters still believe Florida is headed in the right direction, and that they are financially better off today than a year ago.

  • Right/Wrong Direction: 
    42 percent agree Florida is headed in the right direction. This number remains about the same as 2014 when 43 percent said Florida is headed in the right direction and 41 percent saying wrong direction. (Cross-tabs included)
  • Financial Situation: 
    40 percent of voters believe their financial situation is better today than a year ago – an eight percent jump from this time last year. (Cross-tabs included).

    • Feb/March, 2015– 36 percent better off; 25 percent worse off.
    • Feb/March, 2014 – 28 percent better off; 36 percent worse off.

Top Issues on the Minds of Florida Voters:

While the top three issues continue to be jobs/economy, education and healthcare, there has been significant changes in the numbers.

  • Jobs/Economy
    19 percent of Florida voters cite this as their number one issue – down 10 percent from May 2014.
  • Healthcare
    17 percent of the voters rank this as their number one issue – slightly up from 13 percent in May 2014.
  • Education
    16 percent of likely voters rank education as their top priority – remaining steady from previous polls.
  • Balance the State Budget, Crime and Immigration
    were the other issues selected by Florida voters.

The poll of 605 respondents, conducted on May 14-20, 2015 during live telephone interviews of likely voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The sample was drawn from frequent voters and respondents were again screened for voter registration during the interview. The sample was balanced according to all known demographic factors. Sixty-four percent of the respondents were interviewed via landlines and 35 percent via cell numbers. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.5 percent, with a 95 percent confidence level.  This poll was conducted by Florida Chamber Political Institute, a research arm of the Florida Chamber.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

New Florida Chamber Political Poll Shows Strengthening Voter Confidence & Governor Scott Outpaces Opponents in Head-to-Head Matches

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (August 18, 2014) – While jobs and the economy continue to rank as top issues among Florida’s likely voters, the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll shows likely voters have a more positive view of the future and favor Governor Rick Scott in the state’s top leadership race.

“While top concerns for voters remain jobs and the economy, their support of Governor Scott is a signal they approve of his strong ability to create private-sector jobs,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of the Florida Chamber Political Institute. “This is evidenced by the fact that 43 percent of the voters believe Florida’s unemployment rate is lower since Rick Scott took office.”

Additional Polling Data Shows:

  • Of the 627 Florida likely voters polled, 29 percent rank job creation and the economy as their top issues, and
  • For six straight months, a plurality of voters believe the Sunshine State is headed in the right direction – 43 percent. (Based on Florida Chamber polling conducted in February 2014, June 2014 and August 2014.)

Governor Rick Scott’s job approval rating continues to remain positive, with 50 percent of likely voters approving of the job he’s doing. At the same time, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s favorability continues to drop – down to 36 percent from 41 percent in June.

In Head-to-Head Matchups:

  • Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist: Scott earns 44 percent to Crist’s 41 percent.
  • Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist vs. Adrian Wyllie: Scott earns 41 percent, Crist gets 35 percent and Libertarian Adrain Wyllie earns 4 percent.

 

Crosstabs

Candidate Dem Rep Other Male Female
Scott 11 73 31 47 35
Crist 70 8 25 30 41
Wyllie 2 3 14 6 2
Other 6 3 10 4 7
Undecided 11 13 17 13 15

 

“I believe a major reason Charlie Crist is visibly losing support is because voters are beginning to realize that Rick Scott’s private-sector pro-jobs plan is working and that Florida continues to move in the right direction,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

On the national level, President Obama’s job approval rating remains upside down as 41 percent approved and 54 percent disapprove.

The poll, conducted on August 10-13, 2014 by Cherry Communications during live telephone interviews of likely voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Additional Results Show:

  • Education, healthcare, and immigration round out the top three issues voters are most concerned about – 19 percent, 6 percent and 6 percent respectively.
  • By a margin of 36 percent to 25 percent, voters believe they are financially better off than they were a year ago.

 

Please Note: The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber Political Institute are consistently drawn from likely voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters. Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

 

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber and U.S. Chamber Partner for Immigration Reform

Inaction by Congress is Not A Path Forward

The problems with our immigration system have grown and multiplied, and have become a threat to the productivity of key industries in Florida.

Today, the Florida Chamber of Commerce joined with our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and the American and Florida Farm Bureau Federations in urging Congress and the administration to work together to enact immigration reform during a Day of Action – an effort that included events in Washington, DC and in more than 60 congressional districts across 25 states.

The Florida Chamber supports a comprehensive, federal approach to immigration reform – one that serves our nation’s best interest and is crucial for Florida as we position ourselves to win the global race for talent and jobs. Proper immigration reform efforts will serve to protect and complement our workforce and generate greater productivity and economic activity that will lead to new innovations, businesses, and jobs in communities across Florida and the U.S.

Currently, Florida lacks an adequate population of skilled workers in technology, science, education, health and engineering, and long-term forecasts indicate the problem will grow more severe. Immigration reform provides a way to further aid Florida’s recovering economy, create valuable and needed jobs and make our state more competitive.

A consistent federal policy of enforcement that does not place unreasonable burdens on employers will help ensure continued competitive growth. Florida’s economy depends on strong international relationships for its trade, manufacturing and agriculture industries. A consistent federal policy will help Florida’s employers avoid undue burdens and costs.

 

Get Involved:

Join us in supporting reforms that will improve our competitiveness by contacting your members of congress and urging them to support immigration reform.