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County Council

Posted on: February 14, 2012

Council endorses E-Verify; opposes state legislation

Tuesday Feb 14 2012 3:37 PM

The Pierce County Council is sending a message to the Washington Legislature: Don't take away the county's ability to protect local jobs for legal residents, said Councilmember Dick Muri.

The seven-member Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, to approve a resolution opposing legislation being considered in Olympia that would bar counties from requiring private employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check employment status. House Bill 2568, if approved, would nullify a county ordinance unanimously approved in 2009 that requires entities contracting with the county to participate in E-Verify.

"E-Verify has proven successful in preventing identity theft, and it serves our citizens by protecting jobs for legal residents," said Councilmember Muri (District 6), who sponsored Resolution 2012-11 as well as the original 2009 ordinance. "The federal government and a number of state and local governments throughout the country use E-Verify. With the budget problems facing the Legislature, our state lawmakers should be focusing on improving our economy – not taking away a local government's ability to easily and accurately confirm employment eligibility by those who wish to do business with us."

The Lakewood City Council unanimously approved a similar resolution on Feb. 6, noting that the state legislation would undermine the city's right to manage its personnel and contracting.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration operate the Employment Eligibility Verification program, or E-Verify. It's an online system that checks employees' information against government records to determine employment authorization for employers.

The County Council approved Ordinance 2009-74 in October 2009. It requires that certain contractors and subcontractors participate in the E-Verify program if they are doing work costing more than $25,000 for non-public works projects or $100,000 for public works projects.

Dick Muri, County

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