The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Republican state senator has introduced a much softer version of his legislation targeting illegal immigration.
Sen. Jack Murphy’s Senate Bill 40 no longer includes penalties for certain private businesses that do not use the federal E-Verify program. That program seeks to verify newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.
He said he would also amend the bill to exempt businesses with four or fewer employees from a requirement to use E-Verify. His original bill exempted only businesses that participate in federal guest worker programs. An exemption is still in place in the new bill for businesses that hire temporary agricultural workers through the federal H-2A visa program.
Murphy also added language to his bill that says government officials could face punishment for the “intentional and knowing failure” to comply with existing E-Verify requirements for certain government contractors. Murphy said he added that language so that government officials would not be punished for honest mistakes.
“The intent of the bill is to get [businesses] to use E-Verify, not to be punitive,” Murphy, R-Cumming, said in an interview Wednesday before introducing his substitute legislation before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, is revising a similar bill that could soon come up for a House committee vote.