>The Georgia Senate passed HB87 last night without the E-Verify provisions that so many in the ag community had worried about. The debate on the bill lasted almost 3 hours with several amendments being argued on the floor. Issues with the way the bill parallels the AZ law, racial profiling, litigation and job destruction were all discussed. The Senate Ag Committee chair offered the amendment that did away with the E-Verify provisions but another amendment almost put the provision back in.
The debate got into the parliamentary weeds when the amendment that eliminated E-Verify was followed by some that modified it. The amendments that eventually passed did NOT put E-Verify back in but they did modify the eliminated section (see I told you it got into the weeds). The modifications but a date for which the employers counted the number of full time employees and another moved the number from 5 to 25 for mandatory E-Verify.
The bill now heads back to the House where they can let it die, agree with the changes, or send it to conference. The most logical option would be to send it to a conference committee. The issue is that there is only one legislative day left and the General Assembly hasn’t been very successful in conference committees in that the Republican party in Georgia is divided on many issues and the Lieutenant Governor is in the middle of the debate. This has led to very few conference committees this year. This whole issue will be done, one way or the other by Thursday when the session is scheduled to end.
This is a very polarizing issue. As Georgia tends to be a leader in some respects, the fate of this bill may have some influence on similar bills in the region such as the bill in Alabama’s legislature that we reported on earlier this week.