A new immigration enforcement bill in the Pennsylvania state legislature took an important step forward on Tuesday, earning approval from the House State Government Committee, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The bill, pushed by state rep. Daryl Metcalfe, would penalize professionals in one of more than 25 occupations licensed by the state for "knowingly" hiring an undocumented worker. It would require companies licensed by the state, such as architecture firms and nursing homes, to verify via federal immigration officials that newly hired employees were legally residing in the United States, according to the Post-Gazette.

The legislation is part of a 15-bill package, authored by Metcalfe, called "National Security Begins At Home." "We need to shut down the magnets that bring illegal aliens to Pennsylvania," such as jobs and welfare benefits, Metcalfe told the newspaper.

Another bill would require state employers to use a federal software program called E-Verify to ensure workers are American citizens or legal immigrants by providing their Social Security numbers.

The committee-approved bill will now head to the full state House for a vote, the Post-Gazette reports. Final action is expected some time this fall.