State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, today announced that the bill he co-sponsored with state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Berks/Lehigh (H.B. 1170), which would create the Construction Industry Employee Verification Act, was voted with overwhelming bipartisan support (23-1) out of the House Labor and Industry Committee today.
The Act would require employers in the construction industry to use the E-Verify program to ensure that their employees are authorized to work in the United States
“This bill would prevent unscrupulous employers from hiring individuals not authorized to work in the United States,” Galloway said. “These employers are hurting the construction industry by driving down wages, creating an unlevel playing field for other employers, and depriving the government of revenue that would be used to fund programs like unemployment compensation.”
The bill would prevent employers from unknowingly hiring an unauthorized employee by having to verify their work eligibility through the E-Verify program. The employer would be required to keep a record of the verification while the employee worked for them, or for three years, whichever is longer.
Under the bill, if the attorney general receives a complaint that an employer has hired an unauthorized employee, the attorney general would work with the federal government to determine the veracity of the complaint. If the employee is found to be unauthorized, the attorney general would notify United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the unauthorized employee, as well as bring action against the employer in the county in which the unauthorized employee is or was employed.
Penalties for the offending employer would include a 3-year probationary period for each business location where an unauthorized employee worked. In addition, these employers would have to submit quarterly reports about each new employee hired. Agencies would suspend each license an employer holds if the employer does not submit verification that they have terminated the employment of the unauthorized employee within three days.
The bill is on its way for consideration by the full House.
Galloway said Democrats and Republicans have found common ground on one of the most divisive issues of our time.