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Introduced Version House Bill 2664 History

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H. B. 2664

 

         (By Delegates Moye, Barker, M. Poling, T. Campbell

                    and D. Poling)


         [Introduced January 20, 2011; referred to the

Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then the Judiciary.]

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §21-1B-2 and §21-1B-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to verifying legal employment status of workers; providing new definitions; requiring employers to register with and utilize the electronic verification of work authorization program of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996, Public Law 104-208, Division C, Section 403(a); 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a, and operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, known as the E-Verify Program; and providing dates by which employers are to meet the verification requirements.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §21-1B-2 and §21-1B-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 1B. VERIFYING LEGAL EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF WORKERS.

§21-1B-2. Definitions.

    (a) “Employer” means any individual, person, corporation, department, board, bureau, agency, commission, division, office, company, firm, partnership, council or committee of the state government, public benefit corporation, public authority or political subdivision of the state or other business entity which employs or seeks to employ an individual or individuals.

    (b) “Commissioner” means the Labor Commissioner or his or her designated agent.

    (c) “Unauthorized worker” means a person who does not have the legal right to be employed or is employed in violation of law.

    (d) “Records” means records that may be required by the Commissioner of Labor for the purposes of compliance with the provisions of this article.

    (e) “Knowingly” means, with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that a person is aware by documentation or action that the person’s conduct is of that nature or that the circumstance exists. Failure to request or review documentation of an employee’s legal status or authorization to work is deemed to be “knowingly”.

    (f) “License” means any permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter or similar form of authorization that is required by law and that is issued for the purpose of operating a business in this state.

    (g) "Status verification system" means the electronic verification of work authorization program of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996, Public Law 104-208, Division C, Section 403(a); 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a, and operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, known as the E-Verify Program.

    (h) "Unauthorized alien" means an alien as defined in Section 1324a(h)(3) of Title 8 of the United States Code.

§21-1B-3. Unauthorized workers; employment prohibited.

    (a) It is unlawful for any employer to knowingly employ, hire, recruit or refer, either for him or herself her or on behalf of another, for private or public employment within the state, an unauthorized worker who is not duly authorized to be employed by law.

    (b) Employers in the State of West Virginia may only hire employees who are citizens of the United States of America or are authorized workers. For purposes of this section, an authorized worker is an individual who was lawfully present in the United States and permitted to work at the time of employment and for the duration of employment, or was permanently residing in the United States under color of law and permitted to work at the time of employment and for the duration of employment.

    (b) (c) Employers shall be required to verify a prospective employee’s legal status or authorization to work prior to employing the individual or contracting with the individual for employment services and may only hire employees who are citizens of the United States of America or are authorized to work. Every employer shall register with and utilize the status verification system to verify the federal employment authorization status of all newly hired employees. For purposes of this section, a legal alien is an individual who was lawfully present in the United States at the time of employment and for the duration of employment, or was permanently residing in the United States under color of law at the time of employment and for the duration of employment.

    (c) (d) For purposes of this article, proof of legal status or authorization to work includes, but is not limited to, a valid social security card, a valid immigration or nonimmigration visa: which includes including photo identification, a valid birth certificate, a valid passport, a valid photo identification card issued by a government agency, a valid work permit or supervision permit authorized by the Division of Labor, a valid permit issued by the Department of Justice or other valid document providing evidence of legal residence or authorization to work in the United States.

    (d) (e) For purposes of enforcing the provisions of this article, and notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the commissioner or his or her authorized representative may access information maintained by any other state agency, including, but not limited to, the Bureau of Employment Programs and the Division of Motor Vehicles, for the limited purpose of confirming the validity of a worker’s legal status an individual’s eligibility or authorization to work. The commissioner shall promulgate rules in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to safeguard against the release of any confidential or identifying information that is not necessary for the limited purpose of enforcing the provisions of this article.

    (f) State of West Virginia agencies and political subdivisions, public contractors and private employers with two hundred fifty or more employees shall meet verification requirements not later than January 1, 2012.

    (g) Employers with at least one hundred but less than two hundred fifty employees shall meet verification requirements not later than January 1, 2013.

    (h) Employers with at least thirty but less than one hundred employees shall meet verification requirements not later than January 1, 2014.

    (i) Employers with six or less employees may apply to the Labor Commissioner for a waiver.

    (j) All employers shall meet verification requirements not later than January 1, 2015.




    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require all employers in West Virginia to verify legal employment status of workers by requiring employers to register with and utilize the electronic verification of work authorization program of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996, Public Law 104-208, Division C, Section 403(a); 8 U.S.C. Section 1324a, and operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, known as the E-Verify Program. The bill provides new definitions and also provides dates by which employers are to meet the verification requirements.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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