House Bill 36, “Government Contractors Must E-Verify” by Representatives Warren (R-Rowan), Cleveland (R- Onslow), and Folwell (R-Forsyth) has been ratified by the General Assembly, with some surprising last minute changes.
The bill has been revived from almost complete irrelevance to being a power player in the illegal immigration arena. Restored is the provision that requires employers of 25 people or more to use the E-verify system to validate that new workers are either legal immigrants or citizens, as opposed to the 6th edition which only required government contractors to perform the check. While this certainly comes across as a dramatic change, capitulations have been built in to sweeten the deal for some businesses.
New language provides an exception for seasonal workers (employees who work for 90 days or less during the year), allowing employers to gain much needed help without the burden of performing background checks for workers they may only need for a limited time. Farmers worried about losing revenue due to lack of help during peak seasons now can breathe a sigh of relief.
Now sitting on the desk of Governor Bev Perdue, the bill proves a tempting veto candidate should she wish to make immigration an issue during the upcoming election. While the bill’s ratification slipped by unnoticed for the most part, it will quickly come into the spotlight if Perdue’s staff think it is a good way to raise base support in response to declining popularity. With a myriad of other bills awaiting the veto stamp or ever rarer signing, it remains to be seen what will happen to the bill.
For original coverage of the bill click here.