Columbian (Washington) (02/12/12) Ray Legendre
Although three counties and 11 cities in Washington State have followed in the footsteps of Clark County in requiring that its contractors use the federal E-Verify system to make sure public works projects employ legal workers, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent them from doing so. Under House Bill 2568, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (D-Seattle), cities and counties could not require the use of E-Verify.
Supporters of the legislation say mandating E-Verify would cost more than $2 billion and hurt industries that rely on migrant workers. Officials whose jurisdictions use E-Verify, however, say it ensures compliance with federal law. In 2009, a joint legislative task force said the state lost $111 million in revenue from the construction industry, amounting to 5% of total lost revenue, due to illegal workers.