There are two issues in Florida that I feel have been covered annually for the last sixteen years. Lake O’, discharges, algae issues and Everglades Restoration and E-Verify. Thankfully, since 2017, we’ve seen meaningful movement on the environmental issues, and I feel like we’ve begun to turn the corner with the reforms passed and ongoing policy decisions being made. However, when it comes to E-Verify, I’ve lost track of exactly how many proposed bills have been introduced over the years. Zero have passed and E-Verify is liable to be the issue that’s been debated the longest in Florida without any policy changes passing. But there’s a reason it keeps coming up and while history suggests the odds aren’t in favor of E-Verify, the lay of the land has probably never been more favorable for it passing.
First, Governor Ron DeSantis made the case for it in his state-of-the-state address. Having the support of the governor is always critical for any legislation to pass, but there’s more to the story than just voicing support in the case of our current governor. 83% of Governor DeSantis’s agenda passed last year in his first year in office. His support for E-Verify comes with extra credibility and an even stronger mandate for his agenda this time around. Additionally, it’s the next natural step for the state to take after passing the “Sanctuary Cities” reforms last year. Especially since it has overwhelming support in our state.
Last year, Zogby polling, polled the topic of E-Verify in Florida. By a 79% to 13% margin, Floridians supported mandating E-Verify. It makes perfect sense. It’s good for Floridians. E-Verify is a software system that simply verifies that a prospective employee is eligible for employment in Florida. This accounts for work visas and ensures legal status. As Governor DeSantis indicated, it would discourage illegal immigrants from flocking to Florida while ensuring businesses don’t artificially suppress wages/benefits and underpay taxes. This would almost certainly help benefit Floridians most vulnerable in the workforce. So, while the topic of E-Verify might sound like groundhog day, it’s a new day in Florida. One in which the odds for success with E-Verify in this year’s session have never been greater.
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