A bill that would require Iowa businesses to use a federal program to verify employees are allowed to work in the United States has advanced through a Senate subcommittee despite concerns from business groups and county prosecutors.
The bill voted out of a subcommittee Wednesday prohibits businesses from knowingly employing workers with no legal residency status or citizenship. It requires county attorneys to take action against employers, but a lobbyist for the prosecutors say they have no staff to pursue such cases.
Under the measure, employers found in violation would have to fire all those unauthorized to work or lose their business license. A second offense would bring a permanent business license suspension.
The bill requires businesses to use the E-Verify federal system to check worker documentation. Business groups say the system is unreliable.
Sen. Julian Garrett, a Republican, says more than 20 states have similar measures.