Florida E-Verify Proposal to Amend State Constitution Moving Froward
Legislative Update by Shari Rendall | November 6, 2017
The Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) worked with Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) and Floridians for E-Verify Now to win an initial E-Verify victory in Florida. On October 25, six days before the deadline to submit proposals, Commissioner Rich Newsome sponsored an E-Verify proposal for the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). If the proposal makes it through the process, all Floridians will vote to have the measure amended to the state constitution in 2018.
The CRC meets once every 20 years to examine Florida’s Constitution. It is comprised of the Florida attorney general, 15 governor appointees, nine Florida senate president appointees, nine Florida speaker of the house appointees, and three Florida chief justice of the court appointees.
There are two methods to get an amendment through the CRC and onto the ballot. First, the public may submit amendments. If a public amendment does not receive the necessary 10 votes, it will fail and, if not sponsored by a Commissioner, it dies. The second, more direct way to get an amendment before the voters is to have a Commissioner sponsor it. Once the Commissioner sponsors an amendment, it will go through Committee process. Ultimately, the full Commission will consider will vote on it. The amendment requires 22 Commissioners to vote in favor of the proposal for it to be3 placed onto the ballot.
When Governor Rick Scott (FL) was first elected in 2010, he recognized that illegal aliens cost the state $billions and take jobs away from Floridians. He issued an executive order mandating that all contractors that do business with the state must use E-Verify. However, in 2012, Governor Scott backed away from his support of E-Verify telling a cooperative of Florida citrus growers that he wouldn’t support E-Verify legislation if it reached his desk.
While Governor Scott flipped his position on E-Verify after being elected, the Florida Legislature seems unlikely to enact E-Verify legislation anytime soon. Bills that have included E-Verify provisions haven’t made it through both Florida houses.
If Floridian jobs and wages are to be protected, the Commissioners need to support Commissioner Newsome’s E-Verify amendment to ensure that it is placed on the 2018 ballot. Stay tuned for new details as the E-Verify proposal goes through the CRC committee process.