- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Republican lawmaker wants to require all Missouri businesses to use a federal E-verify system to check whether potential employees are authorized to work in the U.S.

Harrisonville Rep. Rick Brattin pitched the idea Tuesday to a state House committee.

Current state law requires businesses with government contracts, tax breaks or grants to use the free E-verify program.

Brattin’s bill would expand that to all businesses in 2018. It also imposes harsher penalties for hiring employees not authorized to work and could mean businesses lose their licenses for repeated violations.

Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist Sara Baker spoke against the bill. She told lawmakers that E-verify disproportionately flags errors for women and foreign-born applicants. She says that’s because of name changes related to marriage or divorce and hyphenated names.

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