... repairers will be wise
to familiarize themselves with E-Verify and policy initiatives surrounding immigration reform.
Several states have passed E-Verify legislation and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes it available to employers. U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is free and user-friendly – and, according to the federal government, it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has introduced the Legal Workforce Act, H.R.2884. The bill mandates the use of E-Verify by employers.
Smith commented after the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved the Legal Workforce Act, “Twenty-three million Americans are unemployed or can’t find full-time work. At the same time, 7 million people are working illegally. These jobs should go to American citizens and legal workers. The unemployment rate in the black community is 17 percent and among Hispanics it’s 11 percent. Anyone who cares about helping unemployed Americans should care about opening jobs for them.
“E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify that newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States. The program is free, quick and easy to use. Nearly 300,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify and more than 1,000 new businesses sign up every week. The Legal Workforce Act could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by requiring employers to use E-Verify. It makes no sense to rely on the paper-based, error-prone I-9 system when a successful, web-based program is available. Today it takes an unemployed American nine months to find a job. With E-Verify, we can open up a new job in one to two minutes.”
Smith’s legislation would:
While Smith’s E-Verify legislation has a decent chance at moving to the House floor in 2012, it has lots of hurdles and competition prior to becoming law. With the president already campaigning against the Congress’ lack of action on the administration’s agenda and the Washington Post labeling the 112th Congress’ first year as being less productive than the “do-nothing Congress” that Harry Truman ran against in the 1948 election, there is much cynicism about the potential for major legislative progress in the second session of the 112th Congress. Topping this off is a 26-seat margin in play in the House of Representatives as to what party controls the House. Democrats hope to acquire enough seats to take back the House; Republicans aim to protect their majority. With all of the House seats in play in November, politics will control the agenda. The U.S. Senate finds itself in an even more contentious situation. With a mere net Republican pickup of three seats, Democrats could lose control of the Senate.
In addition to the November elections, there will be a rush to wrap up the legislative year early for members to campaign at home. Finally, the congressional agenda has a full pipeline in 2012. All the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills should move before Oct. 1, 2012. There will be much debate about the levels of funding for federal agencies as well as attempts to change public policy on the spending bills. Transportation legislation, tax cuts (extenders), payroll tax legislation and a host of other “must pass” bills fill the pipeline.
If E-Verify does pass the House, the Senate is likely to have problems moving the legislation even if the Senate leaders opt to bring the bill to the floor.
There is a good chance immigration reform will slide to the 2013 calendar. Whether it’s 2012 or 2013, repairers will be wise to familiarize themselves with E-Verify and policy initiatives surrounding immigration reform.
To view Smith’s legislation as passed by the House Judiciary Committee, visit ASA’s legislative website, www.TakingThe Hill.com.
Taking the Hill
Houston Delays Vote on Shop Licensing Ordinance
The Houston city council has passed a motion delaying the vote until Feb. 15 for the automotive repair shoplicensing ordinance it is considering.
If passed, the regulation would establish guidelines for granting a license to a repair shop.
The regulation, if passed, would require auto repair shops to have insurance. Every automotive repair shop would also be required to have its license displayed in front of the shop, listed on each work order, and be visible on any sort of advertisement used.
ASA has expressed members’ concern for some of the shop licensing proposal’s provisions. The city’s current proposal does not adequately address the differences in collision and mechanical repair facilities. The ordinance in its current form would also place a great deal of paperwork burden and liability on the shop owner yet falls short in other requirements such as technician training and equipment.
ASA’s Houston chapter has sent a letter to Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker and all members of the city council recommending changes to the proposed ordinance. While the ordinance has improved dramatically since ASA began working with the city, ASA believes further changes are necessary in order for ASA to be supportive. ASA’s proposed changes would benefit consumers and the automotive service industry.
ASA has led a grassroots effort by writing the mayor of Houston and members of the City Council, as well as making phone calls, attending town hall meetings, and speaking on the floor of the City Council.
For more information on the Houston automotive repair shop licensing ordinance, visit www.TakingThe Hill.com. – Philip Thompson
Maine State Senator Proposes Vehicle Safety Inspection Bill
Maine state Sen. Garrett Paul Mason, R-17, recently proposed a bill to modernize the motor vehicle safety inspection program. The proposal adopts an electronic vehicle safety inspection program. The text of the proposed bill is available on ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com. - Kaitlyn Dwyer
Bob Redding is the Automotive Service Association's Washington, D.C., representative. He is a member of several federal and state advisory committees involved in the automotive industry.
For more information about the legislative activities of ASA, visit www.TakingTheHill.com.