KS Governor Laura Kelly Folds to Big Business Pressure, Vetoes E-Verify

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed an E-Verify bill that came to her desk on April 26, 2021.

Congress created E-Verify in the 1990s and it allows employers to electronically verify the work authorization of their would be employees. States have gradually adopted laws that mandate businesses to use E-Verify. This kind of legislation addresses one of the migrant magnets to the US — work opportunities — and makes it more difficult for businesses to hire illegal aliens under the table. 

States like Florida and Pennsylvania have recently implemented E-Verify mandates, with the caveat that neither made all employers in their respective states use it. Additionally, states like Iowa have seen E-Verify pushes to crack down on illegal workers.

In the case of Kansas, the E-Verify bill being proposed counted on bipartisan support. According to David Jaroslav of the Federation of American Immigration Reform, “Kansas’ proposal was simply to require E-Verify for state agencies and for contractors doing more than $50,000 worth of business with the state.  The legislature included the E-Verify language in the state’s budget.”

The main sponsor of Kansas’s E-Verify provision was a Democrat, State Senator Tom Holland, who declared that it would guarantee “that Kansas taxpayer dollars are going to projects that are being staffed by people who can legally work here in the U.S.” 

Holland continued, “I think it’s important we show and we provide that transparency to our Kansas taxpayers.” The Democrat State Senator tacked on E-Verify language to the state budget in March and was able to stay in place as it moved through both chambers of the Kansas state legislature.

The budget featuring E-Verify language was passed on April 9 in the House by a vote of 71-52 and in the Senate 21-14. Hopes of passing E-Verify were dashed on April 26 when Governor Kelly line-item vetoed 18 provisions in the budget, and the E-Verify language was among the items struck down. Yaroslav noted that Kelly never even mentioned the benefits of Kansas passing E-Verify, and instead called for E-Verify to be addressed exclusively in a separate bill. 

She commented, “[a]lthough I welcome policies to help improve oversight and accountability for state operations and contracts, blanket policy changes to the state’s administrative processes should be fully vetted by stakeholders, legislators, and the public through the traditional legislative process.”

Yaroslav pointed out that overriding a veto will be a tall task for the Kansas legislature:

The Kansas state constitution requires a two-thirds supermajority in each chamber to override a veto.  This would require at least 12 representatives and four senators to change their votes, which is highly unlikely.

The Kansas legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 15.

Woke corporations want nothing but endless streams of cheap labor, which is why E-Verify is so important. This policy is a commonsense first step in checking the massive influx of illegal labor that functions to undercut the labor of American workers.

Republican states that don’t have E-Verify on the books should do everything possible to pass this law.

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