The Legislature finished the 55th day of the 90-day session last Friday, and passed 12 bills on Final Reading. One of the bills passed was Legislative Bill 403, which prohibits public benefits for illegal aliens, and requires their verification for benefits, public employment, and state tax incentives. I voted for the bill and it passed with a strong 44-0-5 vote.
The bill prohibits state agencies and political subdivisions of the state from providing public benefits to a person not lawfully present in the United States. This also includes no involvement in any public retirement system.
The way the public benefits prohibition will be implemented is by requiring state agencies and political subdivisions to verify the legal presence of each applicant through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program -- S.A.V.E. -- operated by Homeland Security. This should help make sure that U.S. citizens and those who are legally in the country are the only ones eligible for public benefits.
In addition to public benefits, LB 403 would require every public employer and public contractor to register with and use E-Verify, which is the work eligibility program with Homeland Security, to verify the eligibility of all new employees. The Nebraska Department of Labor will also provide private employers information about E-Verify and encourage its use among the private sector.
Though this portion does not go far enough in my opinion to require private employers to use E-Verify, it is a step in the right direction.
The last segment of the bill would direct the Tax Commissioner to not approve or grant to any employer any tax incentive unless the taxpayer provides evidence that they have electronically verified the work eligibility of all new employees in Nebraska. This would apply to all incentives applied for under the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act, Nebraska Advantage Act, Nebraska Advantage Research and Development Act, or the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act. Again, I believe this is a good idea to ensure we are not rewarding businesses, which do not follow the law, with tax incentives.
This is an important beginning step forward for Nebraska regarding illegal immigration, as we make sure we are not providing an incentive for more illegal activity through public benefits for illegal aliens.
If you have comments, concerns, or questions, do not hesitate to contact me.