The Florida Senate’s immigration bill, which today drew scorn from business and religious leaders, has been tabled until after lawmakers break for Easter.
Dozens of immigrant advocates flooded a Senate budget hearing to speak against the measure, only to learn the vote would be postponed. They still spoke out against it, and held an emotional prayer in the middle of the hearing.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner said the delay was his idea, and that he wanted to buy lawmakers some time to get Gov. Rick Scott’s input on how to “strengthen” the E-Verify provisions, which may now be the bill’s most contentious section.
On a conference call today with reporters, Brewster Bevis of Associated Industries of Florida said the current employee verification provisions were overly burdensome, which prompted a logical question from another reporter: Where does Scott, who has long called for fewer regulations on businesses, stand on the measure?
Bevis said he supported efforts to give companies alternatives to E-Verify, which he described as a “flawed system” that is both onerous and error-prone. The current bill gives businesses the option of scanning identification cards issued by the federal government or states compliant with the federal Real ID law, but he said that too could be costly for businesses.
Gardiner didn’t say which approach he favored, but he said he would like to hear from the governor. Scott has been a champion of E-Verify, so now he might have to make a decision whether to stick with that program or soften the requirement to avoid placing new burdens on businesses.