House strengthens bill on illegal construction workers
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HARRISBURG -- The state House voted 193-8 to amend, with stronger language, a bill aimed at punishing contractors and subcontractors for hiring illegal workers on construction sites.
The House put language from a bill by Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, into a Senate-passed bill, Senate Bill 637, written by Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland. A final House vote on the amended bill is expected Friday and the bill will then be sent to the Senate for concurrence, which is expected before legislators recess for the summer Saturday night.
Many legislators from both parties commended Mr. Galloway for trying to stop contractors from hiring illegal aliens at low wages and no benefits, which they said is keeping U.S. citizens from getting construction jobs. The current situation is also preventing the state from collecting income taxes from illegal workers -- because they don't report their income -- and is improperly letting contractors reduce their costs by paying low wages, Mr. Galloway said.
The bill requires state officials to make sure that contractors check the Social Security numbers of all workers--to make sure they haven't been stolen--and to use the federal E-Verify system to make sure immigrants have entered the U.S. legally.
First Published June 28, 2012 6:33 pm