Construction E-verify expansion to become law

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A bill to expand the E-Verify program in Pennsylvania has passed the House and Senate and will become law.

​House Bill 1170 requires private employers in the construction industry to run new hires’ information through the federal E-Verify program. It is already required in public construction projects.​​

Failure to use E-Verify when hiring new employees will result in action against that company’s licenses.

​​Supporters of the bill say unauthorized labor drives down wages and hurts companies and employees.​​

“The issues we face with unauthorized workers across our commonwealth hurt all of those across the industry,” said Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks), the bill’s prime sponsor. “We’ve heard, anecdotally, lots of instances where those unauthorized employees are being exploited or taken advantage of if they’re injured on the job, for instance. Then what happens to them and the medical care they receive?”

​​Gov. Tom Wolf did not sign or veto the bill, his notable omission allowing it to become law.

​​”The governor understands there are strong opinions about the need to protect people coming to the United States seeking a better life and to protect construction employees from unscrupulous construction businesses that pay them less than they deserve,” Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said.

Abbott said the issue was one that was tenuous and complicated, adding, “Going forward, the governor will continue to work to address the problem of misclassifying workers as independent contractors and continue to invest in education and skills training to create the strongest workforce in the nation.”​​

The law will go into effect in one year.​

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