February 2, 2024 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber opposes e-verify mandate on all businesses

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry led the opposition this week to a new business mandate proposed in HB 2489, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy (R-St. Louis County).

The Immigrant Employment Registration and Taxation Protection Act places new, duplicative requirements on businesses, imposes a felony for a second violation of the proposed law and potentially discourages individuals in the job market from choosing to come to Missouri.

Similar legislation, requiring all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every employee who is hired, passed the House in 2023. The bill was heard by the House Special Committee on Innovation and Technology. 

Phillip Arnzen, director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber, expressed numerous concerns from the business community about the burdensome mandates in the bill.

“This is a new business mandate that is not necessary,” Arnzen testified. “It is already against Missouri and federal law to hire illegal workers.”

Public employers and those with state contracts already participate in the e-verify program.

“Requiring all businesses to run e-verify and complete the paperwork would particularly impact small businesses,” Arnzen continued. “It’s the small, local businesses who hire one or two people a year – they are the ones that are going to be impacted the most.”

The legislation would create a Class D felony for a second violation (following the loss of a business license for 120 days for a first infraction). Arnzen warned that careful consideration should be given before adding a new felony penalty on businesses into law.

In addition, the Department of Labor would be required to maintain a database of qualified immigrant workers. Arnzen said there appeared to be no limitations on public access to that database.

“We’re trying to recruit workers to come to Missouri,” he added. “If a person in the Kansas City area, for example, had a choice of which state to work in, he or she might choose Kansas because they don’t want their information to be in that database.”

For more information, contact Arnzen at parnzen@mochamber.com or call 573-634-3511.

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