I was surprised and disappointed with Rep. Knowles' recent vote against House Bill 400, which targets illegal workers. Fortunately for Pennsylvania workers, House Bill 400 passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
This bill targeting illegal workers was introduced in the House by a Democrat and also passed by the Republican controlled Senate. It doesn't get anymore bipartisan than that.
Having been a reform candidate for state representative in the 124th District, I have been an outspoken critic of the legislature. This time they got it right.
What could Rep. Knowles have been thinking when he cast his no vote against a bill that clearly prevents illegals from taking jobs away from Pennsylvania workers?
House Bill 400 cracks down on unscrupulous construction companies that hire undocumented workers and misclassify them as independent subcontractors to skirt the rules.
In 2005, at Highridge Business Park, 120 illegals were rounded up by Federal and Local authorities while working on a Walmart warehouse under construction.
If house Bill 400 had been in effect then, those illegal workers would not have been on that jobsite. These 120 illegals were all hired as independent subcontractors. No social security taxes, wage taxes, or income taxes were ever collected from them.
Rep. Knowles responded to his vote by saying the bill didn't go far enough to cover other industries. If Rep. Knowles thought it didn't go far enough, voting against it certainly was the wrong thing to do. Rep. Knowles should have used his power to offer amendments to the bill.
Rep. Knowles also said "there are some pretty stiff penalties." He can't be serious, that is an insult to every law abiding Pennsylvania worker. The penalties can't ever be too stiff for unscrupulous people who conspire to allow illegals to steal jobs away from our citizens.
Illegal is illegal, I expect more from my State Representative.
West Penn Twp.