(Greensburg, PA) – State Senator Kim Ward (R-39th) renewed her call today for legislation mandating the use of the federal E-Verify system for all publically funded construction projects. The importance of the legislation was highlighted by a recent report in the December 28, 2010 Greensburg Tribune Review that stated illegal workers were travelling to work on a low income housing project financed by Homes Build Hope, a subsidiary of Adelphoi USA. The project is also being run through Westmoreland Community Action Inc. in Jeannette, PA.
Ward stated that she will be reintroducing her E Verify bill in the Pennsylvania Senate when session starts in January. The bill would require all employers that are part of a publically funded project to have documented certification from the federal government’s E-Verify program available on site for inspection. These certifications would state that all employees are legally permitted to work in the United States. Penalties and fines would also be imposed on general contractors if their sub-contractors violated the provisions of the bill.
“At a time when a city like Jeannette is struggling to avoid bankruptcy, it is a shame that a project being financed using public dollars in the heart of their community may be using illegal workers in lieu of unemployed area residents,” stated Ward.
“It’s time that we start looking out for the residents in our communities, and start holding these contractors accountable when they are benefiting from taxpayer funded projects ,” she added. “I intend to contact the governing agencies overseeing this project to determine if these reports are true, and what safeguards are in place to prevent this abuse of public funding,” she concluded.
Last session, Ward introduced Senate Bill 1149 that amended the state’s Procurement Code to require that contractors performing public works projects use the federal E-Verify system to confirm that their employees, and their sub-contractor’s employees, are legal workers. This would be mandated for all projects throughout the state utilizing taxpayer funds. Ward plans on introducing the same bill when the Senate Session commences on January 18, 2011.
Contact: Tom Aikens