Representative Courtney Combs, a Republican from District 54 in Butler County, has introduced H.B. 184 to the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill would require all employers in Ohio, both public and private, to register and participate in E-Verify, a voluntary, federal program designed to supplement the I-9 employment verification process for all new employees. We have written a more extensive article on E-Verify for interested employers.
As introduced, H.B. 184 would require all employers to certify their participation in the E-Verify program on state income tax forms. As a result, although the bill does not provide direction to the Department of Taxation on the enforcement mechanisms for this provision, it would appear that some additional burden of enforcement would also be imposed upon the Department of Taxation. Presumably, failure to register for the E-Verify program would not excuse a non-compliant employer from its income tax obligations. Additional responsibilities for the administration of federal immigration laws are also assigned to local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Corrections in other parts of this bill. Congress is expected to address immigration reform over the next several months, so the future of State initiatives such as H.B. No. 184 is not clear.