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· November 29, 2012

Ohio Senate GOP In Search of Solution to Immigration Problem That Doesn’t Exist

Tuesday, the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee heard supporter and opponent testimony during the third hearing on SB 323, a workers’ compensation bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Seitz (R – Cincinnati). The bill would  “prohibit illegal and unauthorized aliens from receiving compensation” under Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Law. While it might sound like a good idea to make sure the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) isn’t issuing payments to people who aren’t supposed to be here anyway, the devil, as they say, is in the details. In this case, SB 323 would make it more difficult for injured workers to collect the state-administered benefits that their employers are required to pay for. The bill would require injured workers to prove that they are authorized to work in the United States before they can receive benefits. Given that this bill has received three hearings in the Ohio Senate, this must be a big problem for Ohio, right? Nope. Seitz said at an earlier hearing that the state does not collect data on the immigration status of injured workers receiving compensation, so there is no way to know whether even a single cent of state BWC funds has ever benefited an undocumented worker. Tomorrow, I’ll share another couple of big problems with this bill.

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