Will the General Assembly reverse the 2018 GDOT carve-out on E-Verify for contractor bids?

Politics, State & National

Written by D.A. King

**note this article ran in Insider Advantage.

In last year’s legislative session Republican state Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) introduced legislation that gutted the process intended to ensure that the Georgia Department of Transportation hires contractors that are using a legal workforce. In the haste and bedlam of 2018’s Sine Die, Senate Bill 445 sailed through both the House and Senate.

It is notable that SB 445 went through the Senate Transportation Committee, as Senators Brandon Beach, Butch Miller, Frank Ginn and Mike Dugan were bill signers, in that order. All are transportation committee members — with Beach as chairman.

On SB 445, Chairman Beach made it clear in his committee that “it’s a DOT bill” (professional transcription here. – two-minute archived committee video here).

Now that the cat is out of the bag on this caper- and we have a new governor — one “important issue” for the 2019 session should be to see if lawmakers will reinstate the bidding system for GDOT that all other public employers and their contractors are still supposed to follow.

We recognize many readers will view this as a dry topic – the only folks who may have a concern are those who don’t want their taxes used to pay illegal aliens on GDOT projects.

After mandates were put into place in the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 (SB 529) to require all public employers and contractors to use E-Verify, adjustments were made in HB2 of 2009 to deal with the obvious problem that some public contractors were bidding on – and winning – contracts with bids that were based on the cost of black market labor before they swore on an affidavit that they were using E-Verify. This allowed contractors to hire a crew for a job that could not be verified as eligible to work using the E-Verify system, which can only be used for newly hired employees after receiving authorization from the feds to use the online system.

The 2009 solution to this chicanery was to change the law so that bids are not considered unless and until the E-Verify affidavit is presented.

In his quick presentation of the measure, Sen. Gooch told the committee the changes to the GDOT bid rules were being proposed to make life easier for contractors.

“Section 3… makes clear that the deadline for a bidder to supply their signed notarized e-verify affidavit is prior to contract award as opposed to the bid submission. This has caused a problem with some of the contractors that submitted their e-verify affidavits but they didn’t reach to the department either by mail or by other means of delivery in time for the bid, um, deadlines and therefore they were disqualified from bidding on the work. Now essentially requires ’em to submit those E-Verifies prior to the contracts being awarded” said Gooch (emphasis mine).

It is hard to accept that this is a constructive or plausible reason to make changes to the GDOT bidding system, as the existing law is clear that bids and E-Verify affidavits may be submitted electronically. If a contract bidder is indeed an E-Verify user, he can easily send that documentation along with his bid from his computer.

This writer asked GDOT for comment on this curious scenario.  One of the questions asked for verification that SB 445 was in fact a GDOT bill, as Chairman Beach told the committee. That question went unanswered.

This is not the first adventure in state law on E-Verify, bids, and contractors for GDOT.

CBS Atlanta 46 TV News did a series of stories on GDOT’s violations of the bidding/E-Verify law in 2010 that illustrated the lack of concern for the hard-fought mandate designed to make Georgia unwelcoming to illegal employers and illegal labor – and to safeguard taxpayer dollars. We have archived some of those reports:

* “Activist: GDOT Is Breaking State’s Immigration Law – Violation May Make It Easier For Contractors To Hire Illegal Immigrants. Here.

* “CBS Atlanta Asks If GDOT Contractor Is Hiring Illegal Workers.” CBS Atlanta 46 news video here.

* “GDOT Didn’t Know About The Illegal Immigrant Labor Law.” Here.

* “Federal Document Shows GDOT Contractor Lied On Affidavit
Company Swore To Check Employee’s Legal Status in Federal Database.” Here.

* “GDOT: Worker May Have Been Illegal. The Georgia Department of Transportation said Wednesday that one of its subcontractors may have been in the country illegally. The admission came after a CBS Atlanta investigation…” (No link)

* “GDOT Admits Mistake For Breaking Immigration Law: GDOT Commissioner Dodges Tough Questions About Hiring Illegal Worker.” Here.

IAG will follow up on this later in the legislative session, there is more.

You read it here first.

D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society and proprietor of ImmigrationPoliticsGA.com. He has worked on the law featured above since 2006.

Temporary foreign nationals drivers license “proper” ID at Georgia polls

Opinion

Written By: D.A. King

This seems far, far away from “voter suppression.” The drivers license Georgia issues to
non-citizens – including illegal aliens who have already been ordered deported – is
acceptable and “proper identification” when casting a ballot.

This, according to multiple staffers at the main office of the Cobb Board of Elections and
Registration office in Marietta when asked multiple times by this early voter last week. To
get an answer, I had to explain what a limited term license is.

For those who are not well versed in the topic, the drivers license DDS issues to foreigners
is labeled “LIMITED TERM” across the top, which is the only difference between it and a U.S.
citizen’s drivers license.

Georgia’s temporary “Limited Term” drivers license. Photo: DDS.

The acceptance appears to be in compliance with Georgia law (OCGA 21-2-417) which
merely says “proper identification shall consist of any one of the following: A Georgia
driver’s license which was properly issued by the appropriate state agency;…

This brings to mind the several attempts in the last few years under the Gold Dome to
clarify the limitations of the limited term driver license, which, generally, is supposed to be
valid for the period of an alien’s visa.

In the 2017 General Assembly, House Rep Alan Powell introduced a bill to add “INELIGIBLE
VOTER” – which was a compromise to his original language, which would have added the
term “NON CITIZEN” to the non-citizens drivers license. Powell came under attack from the
anti-borders lobby and their media allies and his attempt at driver’s license/voter ID
reform died in the Republican-controlled House.

More than 20,000 aliens who have received a deferral in deportation proceedings or who
have already been ordered deported also hold the same limited term license according to
information from DDS early this year.

In 2016, the state Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Josh McKoon that would have
marked the limited term driver’s license held by this group with “NO LAWFUL STATUS.”

McKoon rightly contended his bill would help prevent voter fraud and terrorism. The
driving and ID credentials are also accepted as ID to enter federal buildings and to board
airliners in America’s airports.

Including the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), corporate -funded
opponents argued such reform would “stigmatize” people and represented a ‘Scarlett
Letter’ for “immigrants.” The legislation died in the House.

For this writer, the lunacy that a drivers license designed and intended for foreign nationals
is accepted as valid ID to vote in Georgia is surpassed by the fact that literally no official I
have ever spoken to at my Cobb polling place over the years – supervisors included – had
ever even heard of a “limited term” drivers license.

For a memorable first-hand education, readers may want to ask about this when they vote.
Readers who care about vote security may want to ask their state reps and state senators
about this one.

D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society

Editor’s note: A version of this essay recently ran on the subscription website, Insider
Advantage Georgia

Author

“Conservative” Republican Congressman Tom Graves refuses to support English as the official language of the United States.

Opinion

Submitted By: D.A. King

While the political world is focused on the lunacy in Washington DC, conservative, pro-English voters in Georgia’s 14th congressional district may have an interest in Republican Congressman Tom Graves’ very curious and un-conservative anti-English stance.

HR 997 – the English Unity Act – was introduced last year in the U.S. House by conservative Steve King. The legislation establishes English as the official language of the United States. The bill is often falsely  described as “English only” when in fact it is “English as official” – not “only.” Comprende?

Readers can learn more about the official English movement bt visiting the non-profit website, Pro-English.org

Also in the legislation:

*Naturalization ceremonies and official functions of the U.S. government, subject to exceptions, must be conducted in English.

*The bill declares that all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of U.S. laws.

*A person injured by a violation of this bill may obtain relief, including a declaratory judgment, in a civil action. 

*English language requirements and workplace policies, whether in the public or private sector, shall be presumptively consistent with U.S. laws. Any ambiguity in U.S. laws shall be resolved in accordance with the rights retained by the people and the powers reserved to states under the Bill of Rights.

*The Department of Homeland Security shall issue a proposed rule for uniform testing of the English language ability of candidates for naturalization based upon the principles that: (1) all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States; and (2) any exceptions to this standard should be limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as asylum.

The little known fact is that the United States has no official language, despite huge public support for official English. It is worth noting that the U.S. and Georgia Chambers of Commerce are stridently opposed to this nationally unifying concept.

Maybe that is why Graves has repeatedly refused to help with passage of this commonsense and voter-popular bill by co-sponsoring and is on record as telling political pundit Phil Kent that “this is not one of my top priorities right now.”

It wasn’t a priority last year or the year before either.

As readers no doubt are aware, all congressmen enjoy feedback and contact from constituents. Maybe readers can move support for official English up Congressman Tom Graves priority list with a respectful but firm phone call to his Washington DC office. The phone number there is 202) 225-5211.

It could very well be that Mr. Graves doesn’t think you know anything about this issue.

D.A. King of Marietta is president of the pro-English Dustin Inman Society. www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org

 

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