Starting September 2015, the E-Verify requirements outlined by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry late last year will finally go into effect, with some tweaks.
In December 2014, Perry issued an executive order requiring all state agencies, as well as businesses that enter into contracts with those agencies, to use E-Verify to confirm staff and subcontractors' employment eligibility. At the time Perry, who had previously been dismissive of the background verification program, explained that various updates had been made to the application that made it more effective. The executive order was issued shortly before the former governor's final term was up, and since then, some changes have been made to the requirement.
Bill introduced mandating E-Verify for state agencies
The updated E-Verify requirements came in the form of a bill introduced by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, (R-Georgetown). The new bill makes a specification that ensures its requirements are similar to federal guidelines, which prohibit employers from checking the employment eligibility of current workers . Additionally, it limits these E-Verify requirements to state agencies and excludes businesses that enter into contracts with them, unlike Perry's original order.
"The main issue I had with the executive order is [that] it said you had to use it on all existing employees, which is not appropriate," noted State Rep. Tony Dale, (R-Cedar Park), a sponsor of the bill, according to the Texas Tribune. "Going forward, state agencies will have very specific guidance on what they should and shouldn't do."
"Only state agencies will be required to use E-Verify."
Senate bill to override Perry's order, take effect in September
The bill, meant to serve as an update to Perry's executive order, was signed into law this June and will go into effect September 1 after being signed by current state Gov. Greg Abbott. The legislation had been part of Abbott's campaign platform while he was running for governor last year.
It will override Perry's executive order. For now, only state agencies will be required to use the background verification program, but support for E-Verify is strong in Texas. The mandatory use of the background verification program could eventually be expanded to private employers, should that support remain or grow.
E-Verify is designed to help employers remain compliant with hiring regulations, and is consistently updated to ensure efficacy. The federal employment eligibility verification solution is required in several states and mandatory for government agencies in even more. Texas may soon require E-Verify statewide should the mandate for state agencies work well, and hiring managers would do well to learn how to use the background check program.