Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Supporters concede Kansas union PACs bill stuck in senate committee

March 18, 2011


— Some supporters conceded Friday that the Kansas Legislature isn't likely to pass a proposal this year to prohibit public employee unions from automatically deducting money from members' paychecks to finance political activities.

The measure has already been approved by the House but has inspired strong opposition from labor organizations, who believe it's designed to lessen their influence. Supporters say it protects workers from having money deducted for activities they don't support.

The bill is before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, but the panel had its last scheduled meeting of the year Thursday. Lawmakers don't expect to adjourn their annual session until early May, but their deadlines required most committees to finish their work this week.

"Every bill we have in committee will be in committee for consideration next year," said Chairwoman Terrie Huntington, a Fairway Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a Lindsborg Republican, said he's heard no talk among Senate leaders about pushing Huntington to hold an extra meeting to deal with the bill yet this year because legislators must concentrate on closing the state's projected $493 million budget shortfall.

Rep. Anthony Brown, a Eudora Republican who is chairman of the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee and a strong supporter of the bill, said he'll work with Huntington over the next couple of months to help smooth the way for passage next year.

Derrick Sontag, state director of the anti-tax, small-government group Americans for Prosperity, which backs the bill, said: "They ran out of time, but it was a good discussion to have."

The House approved the bill last month amid heated protests, though its version went further, also imposing the ban on private-sector unions.

Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, took the unusual step of referring the bill both to Huntington's committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. He said Friday he did so because it touched on subjects covered by both committees.

The Commerce Committee this week rewrote the bill to allow private-sector unions to continue making paycheck deductions, but requiring them to get each member's permission in writing each year. Some backers said the distinction between private-sector and public employee unions is justified because, with public employee groups, government agencies are involved in the deductions as they handle payrolls.

Private-sector unions didn't see the change as much of a concession and still strongly oppose the bill. Public employee groups believe they're being singled out.

"This is a blatant attempt to simply silence opposition to the corporate agenda," said Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the Kansas-National Education Association teachers union. "Workers should have a voice."

The Commerce Committee endorsed the bill Tuesday, holding its hearing and its vote in the same hour to get the measure to the Ethics and Elections Committee more quickly. But Huntington's committee already had a full calendar for its remaining meetings.

Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, the ranking Democrat on the Commerce Committee and a strong opponent of the bill, said, "That's good news."

Commerce Committee Chairwoman Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, isn't giving up on trying to pass the measure this year. One option is to persuade House and Senate negotiators working on a bill on a related topic to add the proposal to their legislation and bring such a package to the Senate for an up-or-down vote.

But Brown said such an approach "seems to be a far stretch."

"Obviously, I would have liked to have had the bill passed this year, but it still remains alive," he said.


cato_the_elder 3 years ago

Turns out Captain_Kangaroo thinks the reason that labor organizations are fighting this legislation so vigorously is because only deductions for public employee labor organizations are being targeted. Thus, he must believe that those same labor organizations wouldn't fight this if all similar payroll deductions were targeted.

What a laugher. Move over, Tomato - Mr. Greenjeans' best pal has once again demonstrated that he's as naive about labor relations and public employee labor unions as you are.


Bob_Keeshan 3 years ago

Turns out Lester_the_Maddox is opposed to all payroll deductions.

As such, he should understand why the " labor organizations fighting this so vigorously," it is because only deductions for labor organizations are being targeted.

He can't see that because he is blinded by his ideological slant against unions.


Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Blind Government loyalty is NOT patriotic!

Questioning government authority daily is patriotic!

Blind government loyalty is dangerous to OUR democracy, OUR quality of life and OUR tax dollars!

Don't get duped again!

Beware of what this will do to Kansas..... read it carefully


Roland Gunslinger 3 years ago

Standby for a detailed list of all spelling and grammatical errors as that seems to be the modus operandi for the antagonist in this thread when he has no argument against real facts.


dpowers 3 years ago

I am in a public union, Cato, and yes, I do have a choice. What tomato grower says is correct.


tomatogrower 3 years ago

And yes, my last paragraph was meant to be insulting, Cato. It just mirrored your petty MacDonald's swipe at BobK. I wouldn't want to be a waitress for you. Your statement has proven what you think of working class people. Many people who are such snobs to people who work for a living are usually either trust fund babies, or are just peons themselves, trying to prop up their egos. Which one are you Cato? Why do you snub people who work for a living?


Bob_Keeshan 3 years ago

Corporate employee PACs yes, Unions no.

Employee deductions voluntarily placed into a fund for corporations to spend on candidates and make endorsements are OK.

Employee deductions voluntarily placed into a fund for unions to spend on candidates and make endorsements should be illegal.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.


cato_the_elder 3 years ago

"Workers should have a voice."

They have a voice. What many of them want is a choice.


Crazy_Larry 3 years ago

And this will help the State of Kansas, how? What's the issue? Who's crying out for this change? Not much detail in the article...nothing noting the pros and cons. Do they actually believe citizens don't realize that money's being electronically transferred from their paycheck? This is, as someone already pointed out, "a blatant attempt to simply silence opposition to the corporate agenda." Republcrackhead's are trying to weaken the opposition and establish a permanent majority. Wake up, meatheads! How's the oligarchy working out for you?


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