‘Sea change’ seen in employer views of E-Verify

Support is growing within the private sector for a dramatic expansion of the national electronic worker verification program, a pair of business groups said Tuesday, citing the results of a new survey.

Known as E-Verify, the mostly voluntary program is designed to keep illegal immigrants out of American jobs by allowing employers to run potential hires through a federal database.

The program has come under fire, both from immigrant groups who warned that glitches in the system could wrongfully keep workers off the job, and from business groups, who said E-Verify would be burdensome.

Now as lawmakers weigh legislation in both chambers of Congress that would make the program mandatory for U.S. employers, there’s new evidence that companies have warmed to the idea.


Senators push expanded oversight of compound pharmacies

A bipartisan group of senators wants to give federal regulators greater oversight of compound pharmacies following bacterial contaminations nationwide that have killed at least 50 people and sickened hundreds more.

Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) released a draft bill on Friday to make the blurry regulatory lines surrounding the pharmacies more clear.


GOP chairman promises drug-tracking law by August

A powerful House chairman vowed Thursday to put legislation on President Obama’s desk that would give regulators more power to track prescription drugs.

“I commit today that I will do all that I can to make it happen,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said during a hearing.

Lawmakers on Thursday examined a draft bill from Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) that attempts to address loopholes in the drug supply system and give regulators tools to close them. However, while testing the waters for an electronic tracking system, the draft bill falls short of implementing one.


Senator: Texas explosion has exposed 'toothless' chemical regulations

A Democratic lawmaker says he intends to strengthen “toothless” regulations surrounding plants that process large amounts of dangerous chemicals.

In the wake of a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, that killed 14 people and left hundreds more injured or homeless, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced a bill that would make avoiding chemical reporting requirements a federal crime.

“The chemical reporting laws on the books today are toothless and do little to help us protect communities from chemical explosions. Facilities that break the reporting rules today essentially get away with just a warning,” he said.

The blast at the plant last week caused a tremor in the earth equivalent to a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.


Legislators want national egg standards

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are pushing to unify the nation's scrambled set of egg regulations.

A bipartisan group led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in the Senate on Thursday that would provide a single national standard for egg labeling and humane treatment of hens.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) introduced a companion bill in the House.

Many egg rules are currently set at the state level, and while most are similar, legislatures and voters in six states have enacted their own rules for egg production.

As a result, farmers have to contend with a patchwork of different standards.