By MARC KOVAC
Undocumented workers would be banned from receiving state workers’-compensation payments if injured on the job, under legislation OK’d by the state Senate on Thursday.
Senate Bill 238, sponsored by Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, passed on a party-line vote of 21-12 and heads to the Ohio House for further consideration.
Existing law already prohibits unemployment and Medicaid payments to undocumented immigrants, but it does not make those individuals ineligible for workers’-compensation payments.
State law also does not require the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to check whether injured workers are legally living and working in the United States.
Under Seitz’s bill, the bureau would be required to check documentation of workers before issuing benefit payments. The legislation also would prohibit employers from attempting to have undocumented workers covered under the state’s workers’-compensation law.
“We want legal immigrants to come to this country,” said Sen. Tim Grendell, a Republican from Chesterland, who supported the bill. “They’re welcome here. That’s why we have a Statue of Liberty. But we need to uphold the rule of law for those who come illegally into our country.”