Spring break is over and the second half of the legislative session begins with the General Assembly racing to complete work on dozens of bills prior to the May 18th adjournment date.
Among the many bills awaiting action is SB 348 - the Missouri Omnibus Immigration Act – an immigration reform bill sponsored by Senator Chris Koster (R-Harrisonville) . Koster’s legislation aims to crack down on illegal aliens and businesses that hire the illegal workers.
Koster says cracking down on illegal workers is the will of the people, even though the business community is not sold on the idea. The business community has raised concerns that the onus of verifying who is legal and who is undocumented would fall unfairly on employers. Koster wants employers to use the federal Basic Pilot Program, which uses technology to allow businesses to conduct these checks very quickly.
Koster’s bill is a bipartisan effort, with pro-labor Democratic Senator Tim Green (D-St. Louis) on board. Koster expects to have this bill, as a stand alone piece of legislation or as an amendment to another bill, to get a vote in the Senate. That vote would put Senators on record as being for or against the idea.