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Public Forum to Allow Both Sides of the E-Verify Debate

A public forum will be held Tuesday night, designed to inform voters about the pros and cons surrounding the ongoing E-verify debate.  If passed, the ordinance would require any Springfield business to use the federal E-verify system on all new employees, to determine their legal eligibility to work.  The ordinance would also impose fines for not complying.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann spoke with an organizer of the event to learn more. 

The League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri, and the Springfield-Greene County Civility Project, are co-sponsoring the community forum.  The intended goal is to share nonpartisan information with voters, so they’re ready for next week’s election.  Gail Melgren is a member of the League of Women Voters, and chair of the event.  She says the shared mission of the forum’s organizers is to promote civil discussion and to better educate voters about both sides of the issue.

 “We’ve got a League of Women Voters member; she’s a retired army nurse and retired professor from Missouri State University. And she’s going to be our moderator.  We’ve got two folks lined up to speak for the issue, and we’ve got two folks who are going to speak against the proposed ordinance,” says Melgren.

Melgren says the Springfield city clerk will explain the initiative petition process, and how the ordinance got onto the ballot.  There will also be an attorney to speak about the legal facts of the issue.  She says the public will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

“I would really encourage folks to come out and participate.  We’re hoping to kind of create a public commons, you know, places where people don’t just communicate with each other electronically anymore.  But come face to face, sit and listen, and discuss an issue,” Melgren says.

You can find a link to more information below.  For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

Click here to learn more about the forum.