Iowa lawmakers are off today for the Martin Luther King Junior Day holiday, but will begin talking about veterans legislation, and illegal immigration when they return Tuesday. The Veterans Affairs Committee of the Iowa House will consider a bill that strengthens Iowa’s job protections for returning soldiers.
House Democrat leader, Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines, says new wording in the legislation would mirror federal law. He says it would protect veterans coming back from Iraq to be sure they had comparable jobs with comparable pay, and ensuring the federal law is enforced at the state level. The House will also discuss a controversial immigration bill that creates tough new penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
The CEO of a company would face a $10,000 fine and repeat offenders could face a year in jail. The bill also includes a protection clause for whistle blowers who report illegal hires. Democrats says the bill is a priority, but it is already drawing criticism from Republicans. Senate Republican Leader Ron Wieck of Sioux City.
Wieck says Republicans in the Senate do not believe "the strategy of attacking business in the state of Iowa, the CEO’s, and dropping the load on them is the answer to all the problems." Wieck has appointed his own three-member task force to write more comprehensive immigration legislation that deals with law enforcement, schools and social services.