Indiana State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) has successfully negotiated a compromise on his legislation cracking down on illegal immigration in Indiana.
Senate Enrolled Act 590 is now awaiting Gov. Mitch Daniels’ signature in law after Senate lawmakers Friday (April 29) voted 35-15 and members of the House voted 68-30 to approve the compromise language.
The new law will impact the RV industry in Elkhart County where numerous workers are believed to have illegally entered the U.S.
“Lawmakers today sent a clear message that Indiana will no longer be a sanctuary for people who are in our state and country illegally, because of our federal government’s failure to act on illegal immigration,” Delph said in a news release. “Through the legislative process, we have made compromises on both sides of this issue to come up with a final product that expands the use of the federal E-Verify system and adds tough sanctuary language to our state code.”
Delph said his legislation requires all state agencies and local units of government to use the free federal E-Verify system to confirm the citizenship or legal employability of all new hires after June 30, 2011.
The legislation also bans state and local governments from entering into or renewing contracts unless the contractor verifies they do not employ illegal immigrants through the E-Verify system.
“We also put in penalties for business owners in Indiana who knowingly hire illegal immigrants by no longer allowing them to deduct expenses associated with that employee in the calculation of their state income taxes,” Delph said. “Hoosier business owners who verify the work status of an employee using E-Verify would be immune from the tax penalty.”
Delph said his legislation also requires the Indiana Office of Management and Budget to calculate what illegal immigration costs Indiana taxpayers and make a written request to the U.S. Congress for reimbursement.
“Currently, there are no hard figures on what the true overall cost of illegal immigration is on Hoosier taxpayers,” Delph said. “It’s vital that we get more concrete figures, so Hoosier taxpayers do not continue to pay the tab for the federal government’s incompetence and inaction on this issue.”
SEA 590 includes several other provisions targeting illegal immigration across Indiana. Here are some of the key elements:
- Disallows state agencies and local governments from awarding a grant of more than $1,000 to a business unless they sign and show documentation that the business is enrolled and participating in the E-Verify program.
- Grants state agencies or local governments authority to terminate a public contract without penalty if the contractor knowingly employs illegal immigrants.
- Requires an agency or political subdivision to verify the eligibility of an individual over the age of 18 who applies for federal, state or local public benefits including health-care services, college scholarships, grants and financial aid.
- Mandates the Indiana Department of Correction make a reasonable effort to verify the status of criminal offenders committed to a correctional facility.
- Requires the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD) to verify citizenship before determining eligibility for unemployment benefits.
- Authorizes DWD to file civil action to recoup unemployment benefits from employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens.
- Prevents a governmental body in Indiana from enacting a law or policy restricting law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials on illegal immigration.
- Prohibits law enforcement from requesting verification of the citizenship or immigration status of an individual from federal authorities if the individual is reporting a crime, is a witness or a victim of a crime.
- Establishes penalties for someone who knowingly or intentionally transports, conceals, harbors or shields from detection an illegal immigrant for commercial or private financial gain.
- Makes it illegal to use or accept identification issued by consulates for purposes other than provided in federal law.
Those who want to read the bill in its entirety can visit www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2011&session=1&request=getBill&docno=590.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has a list of more than two dozen bills it is hoping to see action on now that House Democrats have ended their month-long walkout.
Representatives of the two political parties reached a compromise this week that led to an end to the walkout that had ground the legislative session to a standstill.
The proposals range from charter schools, to a reduction in the state’s corporate income tax rate to the abolishment of township boards.
The chamber describes the proposals in a news release as “key pro-jobs, pro-economy bills.”
Following are some of the highlights of bills that could affect the RV industry:
Labor Issues/Employment Law
- HB 1203 and SJR 10: Provide right to a vote by secret ballot in union organizing elections.
- HB 1538: Prohibits a local unit of government from establishing a local minimum wage that exceeds the state or federal minimum wage.
Public Works Projects
- HB 1216: Prohibits “union-only” project labor agreements on public construction projects. Eliminates the requirement of setting a common construction wage on all school and university projects. For other local units of government, raises the threshold for which a common construction wage hearing must be held from $150,000 to $350,000 (per latest negotiations); to be phased in over two years.
Tax and Fiscal Policy
- SB 589: Reduces the Corporate Income Tax rate from 8.5% to 6.5%.
- HB 1435: Extends the time period to amend personal property tax returns from six months to one year.
- HB 1007: Allows for a county option exemption of new business machinery and equipment, plus also simplifies and enhances existing property tax abatement provisions.
- SB 159: Allows the state to have an opportunity to retract an environmental rule in the event the state has adopted an Environmental Protection Agency mandated rule and then is directed to withdraw that rule.
- HB 1130: Allows a business the opportunity to correct a violation found by an inspector without incurring a fine if the violation is deemed to not present an unreasonable threat to public health or the environment.
- SB 200: Allows the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to develop and issue NPDES general permits under federal law, resulting in a more timely and fair process consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency.
- SB 346: Establishes a clear starting point for the statute of limitations in cases where a cleanup is needed. Result: substantial savings in unnecessary legal fees while expediting the cleanup of releases from underground storage tanks.
- SB 433: Addresses a number of issues that will eliminate and/or clear up concerns that impair the Indiana Department of Environmental Management from efficiently performing its assigned tasks.