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Rep. Stan Lee pre-files E-verify bill for Kentucky businesses

If passed Kentucky would join Arizona, 16 other states that require verification of employees working in the Commonwealth

Representative Stan Lee, R-Lexington (45th District)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (December 14, 2011) – Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington (45th District) announced today he is pre-filing legislation for the 2012 Legislative session that if passed would require companies doing business in Kentucky to E-verify their workers are legal U.S. citizens, or otherwise risk the loss of their business licenses and permits.

“This is yet another way to make sure that employees working in Kentucky are in the U.S. legally while employed on projects either funded by public or private funds,” said Rep. Lee in filing the bill.  “It is unfair to those firms who hire legal U.S. citizens to have companies that use illegal aliens to profit from doing business in the Commonwealth.”

Rep. Lee’s proposal is similar to a law passed in Arizona in 2007, called the Legal Arizona Workers Act, which requires every employer in Arizona to use E-verify to confirm whether an employee is authorized to work in the United States.  The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the Arizona law in the case Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4018.  The high court stated that a state may require employers to use E-verify to confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States.  The high court further upheld the loss of license penalty provisions of the bill.

Besides Arizona, the states of Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi require public and private employers to use E-verify to confirm a worker’s status, and Georgia, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Colorado mandate public employers, state agencies and/or state contractors use E-verify.

Under Rep. Lee’s bill, any company employing illegal aliens in Kentucky would have their state, county or city issued license or permit revoked for six months for each offense.  Each additional illegal worker identified would be considered a separate charge under this proposal.

“If a business uses E-verify, then they are safe and will have an absolute defense to the penalty provisions in the bill,” Rep. Lee added.  “It is the goal of this bill to encourage all businesses, either based in Kentucky or who do business in Kentucky to use E-verify to make sure none of their employees are in our country illegally.   The federal government has failed to act, and this is a state solution that has already been declared Constitutional.”

The bill is pre-filed as BR 53 for the 2012 Regular Session.


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