Ohio Senate Drops Plan on Workers’ Comp Benefits for Undocumented Workers

June 23, 2017

The Ohio Senate has rejected a House budget provision that would deny injury benefits to workers living in the U.S. illegally.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Sen. Jay Hottinger, a Newark Republican, said after a hearing Tuesday that the provision is a “pretty big policy issue” that should be reviewed more thoroughly. He says the Legislature needs to ensure the requirement doesn’t have unintended consequences for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Republican Rep. Bill Seitz says the bill only requires the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to verify an injured worker’s legal status. He says it also means workers’ compensation isn’t being taken away from legal immigrants and workers. Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said during a House floor debate in May that money paid to people living in the U.S. illegally are dollars taken from businesses and workers who are here legally.

Democratic Rep. Dan Ramos is Ohio’s longest serving Latino state officeholder. He says the proposal would lead to unsafe working conditions and make it cheaper for businesses to hire workers who are in the U.S. without legal permission.

Hottinger says the workers’ compensation bureau doesn’t collect Social Security numbers and isn’t positioned to know whether someone is in the country illegally.

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