SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Springfield residents will vote on a controversial bill that would require businesses to check the status of workers before hiring them.

The City Council voted 4-4 Tuesday against the ordinance. The Springfield News-Leader reports that under the rules governing initiative petitions, the tie vote sends the ordinance to voters, either in February or March.

The proposal would require Springfield employers to use the federal government’s E-Verify program to check employees’ status. Those that don’t could be fined $499 and have their business license suspended.

The Ozarks Minutemen proposed the regulations. It says it is designed to prevent the hiring of illegal workers. The group is not affiliated with the Minuteman Project, which patrols the U.S.-Mexico border to look for illegal immigrants.

Opponents have said the proposal would unfairly target Hispanics and be a burden to businesses.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press


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