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 664||HB 1265|
|Requires E-Verify for all government contractors and subcontractors?||Yes||Yes|
|Requires E-Verify for Florida Businesses?||Yes||Yes|
|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 employees||No.|
|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:|
• Attorney General
• State Attorneys
• Statewide Prosecutor
|May the State Remove Business Licenses for Non-compliance?||Yes||Yes|
|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?||Yes||Yes|
|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 email@example.com soon.
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.