TOPEKA | Efforts to do something about illegal immigration came to life this afternoon after being stymied most of this legislative session.
A House committee agreed to a very narrow proposal that would require the state to enroll in the Internet-based E-Verify program to determine the eligibility of its employees to work in the United States. The program would start next year.
The proposal doesn't go nearly as far as other proposals that, among other things, would have been similar to a controversial Arizona law requiring police to verify of the citizenship of anyone they detain if they suspect the person is here illegally.
The House Federal and State Affairs Committee held a week of hearings on various immigration proposals back in February but had not moved a bill.
Leaders in the House have been very wary about an immigration debate this year when there have been so-many big ticket issues like taxes and schools on the legislative agenda.
House Speaker Mike O'Neal has made it clear he only wanted an immigration proposal that would have a lot of support and not engender much controversy.
The E-Verify proposal approved by the committee was probably one of the narrowest proposals that the Legislature considered this year.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers are still pushing for a bill that would be far more expansive than what the committee passed late Thursday afternoon.
Republican state Rep. Charlotte O'Hare from Johnson County is advocating a broader E-Verify bill that would cover all public employers as well as any business that gets a government contract in excess of $5,000.
The bill backed by O'Hara would allow the government to withhold 25 percent of a contract if a business violates the law.
The full House is expected to vote Friday about whether to hear the broader E-Verify bill.
Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/immigration-gets-life-kansas-legislature/#storylink=cpy