Government
11:23 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Kansas House Passes Automatic Union Contribution Bill

The Kansas House has passed a bill that restricts one type of political fundraising used by public employee unions. The bill would ban public sector unions from making automatic withdrawals from employee paychecks for political purposes. 

The measure passed the House on a 68-56 vote.

Under current law, public employees can voluntarily donate to their union’s political advocacy fund out of their paycheck. Supporters of the bill say it keeps workers from being pressured into making the contributions.

Reid Petty is a Republican from Liberal.

“It gives teachers the right to decide where their money is spent, and if they want it to go toward a political action committee or not. This bill does not keep union members from writing checks and/or setting up automatic bank drafts to support a certain PAC,” says Petty.

Critics of the bill point out that joining the union is voluntary, as is making the automatic contribution. They say the measure is aimed at limiting the political influence of public employee groups. 

Mark Farr is a high school teacher in the Nickerson-South Hutchison district. He’s currently on leave to work with the Kansas National Education Association, a teacher’s union.

“This is nothing more than limiting the rights of our teachers to be active in the political process.”

The bill will now go to the Senate.