One Leavenworth County commissioner said Monday he would like to see more regulations in place to ensure that contractors and subcontractors are following state and federal laws on work status.
Commissioner Dennis Bixby suggested that as part of the county's annual mowing bid public works require companies to use E-Verify, a federal web-based program that allows employers to check the citizenship status of their employees. Participation is voluntary, but federal law does require that employers hire only those authorized to work in the U.S.
Bixby asked first if the county participates in any such program now.
“I'm sure we require proof of insurance or things like that, but do we have anything in our policies that require E-Verify for our contractors or their subs?” Bixby asked.
County Engineer and Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier said contractors and subcontractors are required by the county to conform to state and federal laws regarding employee status. Bixby then asked if the county checks later to make sure that they are.
“They sign a statement that they do,” comply, Spickelmier said of those contractors. “I don't go and ask for a green card, if that's what you mean.”
Kansas lawmakers last year decided not to include an E-Verify requirement in the state budget, though several states in the country do have that requirement, to varying degrees. Neighboring Missouri passed a law in 2008 requiring all public employers and government contractors to use the system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while states like South Carolina and Mississippi require all employers over a certain size to use the system.
Bixby's proposal was met with some trepidation. Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked if the program would be effective.
“Is the government enforcing that well throughout our nation? I'm just curious,” he said.
“Based on personal experience, I would say absolutely not,” Bixby said. “But it starts somewhere, and that's with me.”
A motion to solicit bids for the county's mowing services and include language advising bidders that they could be subject to E-Verify checks passed unanimously.