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Illinois/ Capital Connection

February 3rd 2017

February 03, 2017

 

Senate could vote on budget framework
Through budget cuts and critical structural reforms that will bring stability to the state, the Illinois Senate could vote next week on a bipartisan budget framework that would produce a balanced state budget, move Illinois forward economically and in job creation, and turn Illinois around fiscally. Read more
Watch now:  Senate GOP lawmakers Chris Nybo (Lombard) and Karen McConnaughay (St.Charles) joined Chicago Tonight to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
Read more: A budget resolution can’t come too soon—this week Fitch Ratings downgraded Illinois’ $26 billion in general obligation bonds to BBB from BBB+.

Education Funding Reform Commission issues framework for school funding solution
After more than 75 hours of meetings over the last six months, a group of 25 lawmakers issued their recommendations for how the General Assembly could craft a bipartisan solution to create more equitable and adequate funding for Illinois students. Read more
Read more: Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) says now the real work on education funding begins.
Read more: The commission’s fruitful discussions have established an excellent basis for work on a lasting solution, said Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles).

Make the right call this Super Bowl Sunday
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reminds you there is only one right play – pass your keys to a sober driver if you plan on drinking alcohol as part of your Super Bowl celebration. Read more

Top: Senator Paul Schimpf talks spending cuts and reforms with Mayor Stephens on WXAN. Bottom: Senator Dale Fowler started off one morning this week with Tom MIller on Newsradio WJPF.
In the news
State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) says he’s optimisticlawmakers can find common ground and compromise. (Mt. Vernon Register-News)
State Senators Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and Paul Schimpf toured the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna this week. (The Gazette-Democrat)
State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) seeks expansion of plan to make life-saving allergy medicine less costly. (WCIA)
State Senator Paul Schimpf stresses importance of job-creating reforms. (WBGZ)
State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) says school funding commission has made “great progress.” (WJBC)
State Senator Dale Fowler joined WJPF’s Tom Miller on the Morning Newswatch to talk about the state’s challenges. (WJPF am 1020/am 1340)
State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) seeks to get in touch with area residents. (WGEM)

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Source: Will County News

Texas and E-Verify: Cheap labor vs. rule of law

Texas and E-Verify: Cheap labor vs. rule of law

By   /   February 1, 2017  /

Photo by Kenric Ward

Photo by Kenric Ward

NO CHECKOUT: Texas doesn’t require businesses like HEB to clear their hires through the E-Verify employment database. Without such checks, immigration-enforcement groups say the Lone Star State will remain a magnet for illegal workers.

 

While Texas officials talk tough about sanctuary cities, their record on employment of illegal immigrants is much softer.

“Those wishing to regain control of illegal immigration have always known that one key to doing so is to turn off the jobs magnet that draws many illegals here,” said David Ray, spokesman for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lists implementation of E-Verify employment vetting as a top legislative priority this year. Senate Bill 23 would require Texas businesses to use the federal database as a precondition to receiving state contracts.

But Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Joe Straus have not signed on to the idea, lending credence to enforcement advocates complaints that the state’s Republican leaders are more comfortable with talk than action.

Meantime, SB 23 is encountering pushback from Democrats and others who vilify E-Verify as a “show-us-your-papers” system.

E-Verify compares information applicants submit on their I-9 employment-eligibility documents to 80 million records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and 445 million records at the Social Security Administration.

JoAnn Fleming, executive director of the conservative activist group Grassroots America, says Texas’ current laissez-faire policies exploit workers.

“The Chamber of Commerce, labor lobbyists and economic developers with liberal media complain about exploited workers. OK, exploited by whom? By companies willfully ignoring immigration laws,” she told Watchdog.org.

Illegal immigrants employed at Target and H-E-B stores were highlighted in a Texas Tribune article last month.

San Antonio-based H-E-B has been cited as a key opponent of legislation banning sanctuary cities. In a statement, the grocery chain said it “does not hire illegal immigrants.”

“It’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ system that allows employers to benefit from cheap immigrant labor,” the Tribune report found.

“Undocumented workers would not be exploited if the cheap-labor lovers weren’t hiring them,” Fleming said. “Employers are breaking the law and the people in charge of enforcing the law aren’t enforcing it. It is an ugly cycle of exploitation of human beings.”

While the number of illegals working in Texas is unknown, officials estimate state and local agencies have spent $2.8 billion tending to undocumented individuals since 2013. Costs range from $1.4 billion at the Texas Department of Public Safety to $181.2 million by K-12 public schools.

“Texas taxpayers are carrying a tremendous financial burden,” said state Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie.

Fleming asserts that Texas’ “incremental” moves against employment of illegals are going nowhere.

“If the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker got together and agreed on a comprehensive E-Verify bill, this problem would be solved,” she said.

SB 23, the E-Verify bill by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, is another small step.

It builds on his 2015 measure, SB 374, which requires all hires at state agencies or public colleges to be run through E-Verify. SB 23 would extend that requirement to companies seeking contract work with the state – but goes no further.

According to the Legislative Budget Board, the state has more than 30,000 active government contracts with private businesses, valued at more than $91 billion.

AP file photo

AP file photo

APPLAUSE LINE: Gov. Greg Abbott got a standing ovation at his State of the State address for talking tough about sanctuary cities.

During the 2015 session, Abbott was asked why he backed legislation that did not include an E-Verify requirement for state contractors. He answered that the watered-down bill would “impose no burdens on the private market.”

In his State of the State address on Tuesday, Abbott drew a thunderous standing ovation in calling for an end to sanctuary cities in Texas. They are “unacceptable,” he declared, adding, “it’s time for Texas to take a stand.”

But the Republican governor made no mention of E-Verify or sanctions against employers who hire illegals.

Straus did not respond to Watchdog’s questions about E-Verify or SB 23.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton repeatedly took the federal government to court over the Obama administration’s border-busting immigration and refugee policies. Now that the state’s GOP leaders have a White House ally in President Donald Trump, activists expect them to stop suing and start acting, beginning with a statewide universal E-Verify requirement.

“No more smoke and mirrors,” Fleming challenged.

Seven states currently require all private employers to use E-Verify in hiring. Seventeen have laws similar to SB 23.

More than 246,000 employers across the U.S. are enrolled in E-Verify, and roughly 1,300 firms join the program every week, according to government records.

“It’s not until E-Verify is mandatory that we’ll be able to effectively turn off the jobs magnet of illegal immigration,” FAIR’s Ray said.

Kenric Ward writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Contact him at kward@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @Kenricward.

Source: Will County News