Rep. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) has been remarkably quiet during this Legislative session. No outbursts, no seating chart troubles, no rumblings of moves by the GOP leadership to expel the pugnacious Marine from the House chamber... come on, Stace! We bloggers count on you for excitement!
But Rep. Nelson is set to rattle cages with his latest anti-illegal-immigration legislation. His House Bill 1175 takes another stab at throwing the book at employers who exploit illegal workers. On its first violation of immigration law, a business faces all sorts of scrutiny and, if it doesn't get rid of all illegal workers and stay clean, court-ordered shutdown. On second violation, the offending business loses all of its licenses.
Rep. Nelson also brings House Bill 1159, which cleverly expands identity theft law to hold employers' feet to the fire on immigration. HB 1159 expands the definition of identity theft to include an employer's acceptance of stolen identity information as hiring documentation. In other words, if an illegal immigrant hands an employer someone else's Social Security Number, and if the employer knowingly accepts that false information, we throw the book at the employer for identity theft. Nice!
Rep. Nelson made similar efforts last year, to no avail. If the amicable quiet in Pierre is a sign that Rep. Nelson has learned to play nicely with others, perhaps others will play nicely with him and hold law-breaking employers accountable for exploiting illegal immigrants.