Statehouse Live: Bill before Kansas House would restrict employee groups

? As state employees in Wisconsin continue to demonstrate against attempts to remove collective bargaining there, Kansas lawmakers are preparing to debate a bill that would eliminate practices used by organized workers to participate in political campaigns.

House Bill 2130 would prohibit any labor organization, professional employee organization or public employee organization to use dues, fees, or any kind of deduction from a member’s paycheck for the purpose of engaging in political activities. The bill, which could be debated in the House as early as Wednesday, would also prohibit public employee organizations from endorsing candidates.

The measure is supported by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

In written testimony to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Derrick Sontag, Kansas State Director for AFP, said the bill “simply gives union members a choice, a choice to fund or not fund the non-bargaining and administration aspects of their union while still retaining their membership.”

The measure is opposed by the Kansas AFL-CIO, Kansas Organization of State Employees, Kansas National Education Association and other labor groups.

Andy Sanchez, executive secretary-treasurer of the Kansas AFL-CIO, said the bill “actively seeks to restrict people from participating in the electoral process by effectively silencing the voice of working people.”