BILL SUMMARY for SB09-023
SENATE COMMITTEE ON STATE, VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS
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02:51 PM -- Senate Bill 09-023
Senator Schultheis, prime sponsor, presented Senate Bill 09-023, concerning the verification of job eligibility status of new employees. He said that there is growing concern with unemployment in Colorado. He said that filling out the E-Verify form for verification of employment status is simple. He noted that Senate Bill 09-023 imposes additional requirements on employers beginning in January 2010, and that new requirements will be phased in by employer size. He commented on the fines in Senate Bill 09-023, and said that he said that he believes the E-Verify system is working well.
The following persons testified in regard to Senate Bill 09-023:
03:08 PM -- Trudy Haines, Fort Collins, representing herself, supported Senate Bill 09-023. She said that the State of Colorado should enforce current law and that illegal immigrants are a burden on the state's infrastructure. She said that employment violations by illegal immigrants hurt the state's minorities and the unemployed.
03:12 PM -- Stan Weeks, representing the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, said that the federal program is working well. He commented on the requirements of the federal E-verify program. He said that the state has not imposed a single fine for violations of Colorado law in this regard.
03:15 PM -- Glen Colton, Fort Collins, representing himself, reiterated that the federal program is working well and is simple to use. He said that the program is effective at reducing the number of illegal workers in the state and would save the state significant resources.
03:18 PM -- Christa Huff, Castle Rock, representing herself, commented on damage to her property that was inflicted by an illegal immigrant. She said that she was accused of attempting to kill this man and was arrested. Later, the charge was dropped. She said that this man would not have been on her property if the use of the E-Verify system was required.
03:22 PM -- Frosty Wooldridge, Louisville, representing himself, spoke of crimes that have been committed by illegal immigrants in Colorado in recent years. He spoke of the burden of illegal immigrants on Colorado taxpayers. He said that these persons cost the state $20 million annually for incarceration.
03:26 PM -- John Brick, Wray, representing himself, spoke of his past work in the construction industry and said that many jobs are being taken by illegal immigrants. He said that the state should punish unscrupulous workers and employers.
03:29 PM -- David Rupert, Arvada, representing himself, commented on a recent experience he had while re-roofing his house. He said that he paid more to have the work performed by a company that could verify the status of its workers. He said that the taxpayers subsidize illegal workers and that the issue of illegal immigration is a national security issue. He said that the State of Colorado should not bear the burden of illegal immigration.
03:32 PM -- Jim Neubecker, Fort Collins, representing himself, reiterated the problem of unemployment in Colorado and the impact of illegal immigration on the level of unemployment in the state. He said that the State of Colorado must address unscrupulous contractors.
03:35 PM -- Herbert Johnson, Evergreen, representing himself, commented on his past military service, and said that the United States is threatened by illegal immigration. He said that there are as many as 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States and he reiterated that the E-Verify system is working well.
03:39 PM -- Julie Gonzales, representing the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said that she has concerns with the economic costs of Senate Bill 09-023 and believes that it will lead to litigation. She supported Senate Bill 09-023.
03:41 PM -- Erin Yourtz, representing the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition, supported Senate Bill 09-023 and said that the E-Verify system is not functioning well and results in unjust firings. She commented on the costs of using the database to businesses and administration of the program. She commented further on the risk of employer misuse of the E-Verify system.
03:47 PM -- Tony Gagliardi, representing the National Federation of Independent Business, opposed Senate Bill 09-023. He said that he believes that illegal immigration must be dealt with, but that the revocation of a business license is too extreme a remedy.
03:50 PM -- Larry Hudson, representing the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, said that state immigration legislation upsets a careful balance in this policy area which is determined at the federal level. He said state involvement creates inconsistency in policy among the states. He said that it is clear at the federal level that the E-Verify program is voluntary.
03:53 PM -- Marcel Pitton, representing the Brown Palace Hotel, opposed Senate Bill 09-023 and said that it is too vague.
03:54 PM -- Christine O'Donnell, representing the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, said that lodging operators in her industry go great lengths to hire legally. She said that Senate Bill 09-023 will be disruptive to the industry.
03:59 PM -- Lacee Artist, representing the Colorado Restaurant Association, opposed Senate Bill 09-023.
Senator Williams laid Senate Bill 09-023 over to the next meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee for action only.