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Nebraska Legislature Votes to Override Governor Rickett’s Veto of LB 947

on Friday, 22 April 2016 in Labor & Employment Law Update: Sarah M. Huyck, Editor

LB 947 makes it possible for young immigrants who are lawfully authorized to work, typically Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) recipients, certain asylum seekers, and those under temporary protected status, to obtain professional and commercial licenses and credentials required by the state to enter approximately 170 different occupations, including everything from teaching to tattooing.

Nebraska legislators passed LB 947 on April 13, 2016 with a 33-11 vote. Governor Ricketts vetoed the bill on April 15. On April 20, the unicameral voted 31-13 to override the Governor’s veto. The bill included an emergency clause which means it takes effect immediately.

Employers should be aware that this statute extends eligibility for professional or commercial licenses to individuals who establish that they have lawful work authorization. The statute does not change the requirements of a particular license or credential that are unrelated to the lawful presence requirements described in LB 947. However, the license or credential shall only be valid for the period of time during which the individual’s employment authorization document is valid.

The majority of individuals impacted by this statute are those individuals brought to the United States unlawfully as children who are now recipients of the DACA program. DACA is a discretionary determination to defer removal action for a period of two years for an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. DACA participants do not accrue unlawful presence while in the program but DACA does not excuse previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence. In addition, DACA does not confer any lawful status. After two years, participants must seek renewal. DACA does not confer legal permanent resident status or provide a path to citizenship but it does provide eligibility for employment authorization.

Employers should continue to follow their standard onboarding process for new employees and complete Form I-9 as they would for any employee. Employers must take care to comply with DOL guidance and avoid discriminatory or perceived discriminatory conduct. The “I-9 Basics: Compliance Is Tougher Than you Think” and the “Immigration Law Update” sessions of the 28th Annual Labor Law Form held on May 5, 2016 will address Form I-9 compliance in addition to LB 947.

Kara E. Stockdale

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