Archive for Friday, February 1, 2013

Fighting continues over anti-union bill

February 1, 2013


— Democrats on Friday offered to fix a Republican-stated problem with the Kansas National Education Association, but a key Republican dismissed the proposal.

The dispute is over a bill that would weaken the KNEA’s effort to participate in politics.

House Bill 2023 would prohibit the ability of teachers and public union members to have automatic payroll deduction that would go to a political action committee.

The bill was approved in the House on Thursday with only Republican support and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Several Republicans stated they opposed the KNEA payroll deduction because tax dollars were used to pay for the administration of the transaction.

“I believe that the government should not be allowed to support or facilitate in any form or manner political activities of any public entity,” said Rep. Shanti Gandhi, R-Topeka.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said to address that issue, he would introduce an amendment to the bill when it is considered by the Senate that would require the KNEA to pay the local school boards for the transactions. His proposal would then do away with the rest of the bill. He said the transaction costs are minimal, about 6 cents per deduction.

“I think it is important that that argument be addressed,” Hensley said. “Whether that is enough to call off the dogs, I don’t know.”

But Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, who carried the bill in the House, said the bill “really wasn’t about governmental costs.” He said it was about protecting individuals from pressure to make the political donations.

Opponents of the bill said no one was being coerced to pay into a PAC.

Hensley said the bill is part of a “national playbook” among states with Republican governors to silence union members in the political sphere.

“It’s pretty shameful,” he said.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Here's an amendment that the Republicans should like. Hook every teacher and public employee in the state up to a taser, and every time they say something that ALEC wouldn't approve of, give 'em a full dose.

rtwngr 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, okay, if you think it's a good idea. Go ahead.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

I didn't say I think it's a good idea. I was just saying that it'd be a more effective way of silencing public employees than merely attacking their ability to engage in the democratic process on something approaching equal footing with the Kochs, ALEC and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Brock Masters 5 years, 3 months ago

Yep, not good government. Lead don't bully. Government should never be about my way or the highway.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

Very good, young man. No spelling errors. You get a smiley face and a red foil star.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

"But Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, who carried the bill in the House, said the bill "really wasn't about governmental costs." He said it was about protecting individuals from pressure to make the political donations"

This man Marvin is making up stories what some would call lying.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

but other Republicans say it is about governmental costs.

"Several Republicans stated they opposed the KNEA payroll deduction because tax dollars were used to pay for the administration of the transaction."

You'd think they could get at their excuse for this bill straight. They must be getting their Koch approved talking points mixed up.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Brownback and ALEC have no use for republicans or democrats..... only their agenda.

Richard Brown 5 years, 3 months ago

Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, "said it was about protecting individuals from pressure to make the political donations". I find this totally shocking. I've been a public school teacher for 25 years and have never been pressured or even asked to make any political donations whatsoever. Nor have I ever been pressured to join the union. In spite of the fact that all teachers gain great benefit from union efforts, some join, some don't. Rep. Kleeb has completely made this issue up.

This is not about protecting teachers. It's about disabling us as a political force. That way, Republicans can outlaw unions, cut our pay and benefits, cut state funding for education in spite of what the courts say, thereby completely gutting the high quality of eduction in Kansas in order to provide tax cuts for the rich. Some might call this short sighted.

kseagle 5 years, 3 months ago

All unions should be completely outlawed! There are laws on the books to deal with everything the unions were originally striving to achieve. Therefore, unions have out lived their purpose and should be abolished and removed from our society. They serve no useful purpose.

chootspa 5 years, 3 months ago

If they serve no useful purpose, why do people still join? But ok, let's ban them. Let's also ban all professional organizations, lobby groups, PACs, political parties, and advocacy groups. If we're getting rid of the right of free assembly, might as well do it for everyone.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

And yet, there are more and more companies who are not paying living wages to their employees, even though they could afford to. There are companies who are having their employees work off the clock, and dropping them as soon as they qualify for insurance. Sure, who needs unions anymore. Companies don't even think they need workers anymore. They all built it themselves. They didn't need no stinkin' workers. They were just being generous.

KSManimal 5 years, 3 months ago

kseagle, you do realize that to outlaw unions you would first have to repeal the 1st Amendment; right?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Pointless harassment by the governor and the state legislature is always a troubling situation.

cabocrazed 5 years, 3 months ago

Excellent point. I've always wondered what the fear was writing a check every month - like any other bill, contribution, expense, etc.

Anyone one with an opposing opinion care to enlighten me?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

"I've always wondered what the fear was writing a check every month"

It's not fear. It's just avoidance of a needless hassle to make sure an essential obligation is paid for.

But Republicans like their public servants powerless, meek and silent. After all, when you wanna kick one (or all) of the servants around, you don't want a struggle or any noise.

somebodynew 5 years, 3 months ago

It is not a fear. So how about United Way stop asking for payroll deduction ?? People can just write a check every month, just like any other bill. They know people won't do it, not out of fear, just forgetfulness.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 3 months ago

I've actually been pressured by management in Topeka to make a donation to the united way because each secretary wants their agency to raise more for bragging rights. I've never been pressured by the union though.

texburgh 5 years, 3 months ago

But this bill also specifies that the check must be annotated to indicate that permission is given to use the money for political activities. If this is not about preventing teachers from giving to a PAC, why must the republican nanny state direct how a check is to be written?

KSManimal 5 years, 3 months ago

KRichards, this bill goes FAR beyond issues of paycheck deductions; to flat-out revoke 1st Amendment rights for public employee unions. Since the JW and other media outlets continue to IGNORE this part of HB 2023; I will share it here again:

"It shall be a prohibited practice for a public employee organization to endorse candidates, or spend any of its income, including any income in the form of or derived from any dues, fees, assessments or any other periodic payments, directly or indirectly, to engage in political activities as defined in paragraph (2). (2) For the purposes of this section, "political activities" means any activity carried out for the purpose of influencing, in whole or part, any election for a state, local government or board of education office, including activities or causes of a partisan political or ideological nature engaged in by a public employee organization for such purpose, and including contributions to a political committee, continuing political employee committee, or both, for the purpose of aiding or promoting the endorsement, nomination, election or defeat of any candidate for public office of the state or of a county, municipality or school district, or the passage or defeat of any public question."

Now....a direct question for the LJW: why have you NOT reported on this part of the bill? The bill is three pages long, and only the first paragraph on the first page says anything about payroll deductions. This bill isn't about payroll deductions, it's about outlawing free speech for unions. It's a disgrace to our nation that it would even be introduced or considered, let alone passed.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Yep-- in direct violation of the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United, which equated money with speech, and gave unions the same rights to spend unlimited cash that corporations have.

But it could be that ALEC has ordered the legislators in its employ to create bills like this to allow the Supreme Court to revisit Citizens United so it can strip unions of the rights that they granted to corporations.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

These republican politicians are outright scoundrels. First, they claim that the reason for the law was because taxpayers shouldn't fund the administrative costs. Then, when an amendment is offered providing payment of the costs by the union, they change their story, and claim the purpose behind the bill is to prevent undue pressure and harassment, although they offered nary a single teacher to give testimony that they had been harassed.

Intellectual dishonesty and democracy are not compatible. We're losing our democracy in Kansas, folks.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 3 months ago

Agree with you on everything except the part about us"Losing" our Democracy. Losing something is like"Whoops, must of fell out of my Pocket. Oh well." Our Democracy is Being "Taken" from us in a methodical,cold and calculating way. Democracy is Literally Under Attack here in Kansas.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Charter Schools Are No Better than Public Schools, and Don't Expect Them to Change

by Jim Horn

"While the report recognized a robust national demand for more charter schools from parents and local communities, it found that 17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts, with 46 percent of charter schools demonstrating no significant difference."

For the rest of the article.

Jaime Baggett 5 years, 3 months ago

They want the teachers to have to write a check because they are sure this will downsize enrollment. They believe that making a teacher write a check to the union instead of getting an automatic deduction will deter them from joining or remaining a member. That is the bare bones. That is why they are doing this to public school teachers. They are trying to break us down so we cannot have a voice.
I would also like to add, as a public school teacher, that I have never been harassed or persuaded or pressured into joining my union. I have, however, been pressured on many levels and more than once to have an automatic deduction from my check for United Way. I am for United Way and KNEA, but putting pressure on us has never come from KNEA.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

"Several Republicans stated they opposed the KNEA payroll deduction because tax dollars were used to pay for the administration of the transaction."

I'm sure the several Republicans who are opposing have the exact figures of how much of our tax dollars being used to pay for the administration of the transaction, right?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 3 months ago

KNEA. Should just start offering EFT to their members. That's how I pay a lot of bills. Having said that, the wacky GOP in this state needs to go. They will destroy our beloved state.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

The wording in the law (see KSManimal's post above) might even prevent that. It's so broadly worded that it appears to prohibit teachers from organizing in any way to engage in the political process.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 3 months ago

The state can't prohibit me from directing my private bank from sending money anywhere I want thru an EFT process. That clearly would be illegal and tyrannical.

ATR920 5 years, 3 months ago

I too have never been pressured to join KNEA or any pressure to sign up for payroll deduction. But like many teachers on here I have been pressured numerous times by the United Way and even the YMCA!

If this is really a bill looking out for teachers being bullied then they better go attack those thugs at the United Way and YMCA?!

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

This could backfire on them. I just talked to a teacher I used to work with when I was a para. She said she has been paying $20/year to KNEA's PAC, which is the basic rate, but now she is going to start giving $20/month. It would be a riot if all KNEA members started donating even more. Then they could fight against the two constitutional amendments which will absolve the legislature of any responsibility for funding schools. I'm not a member of KNEA, but I think I'll send them some money. Anybody with me?

Liberty275 5 years, 3 months ago

I think you should send all your money. Do you need someone to go to the post office with you?

Stephen Roberts 5 years, 3 months ago

Does any know if Koch Industries allows a payroll deduction to their PAC? If the Unions are allowed to do it, why should ALL other PACs be allowed. Isn't it fair????

sci4all 5 years, 3 months ago

The Leg is messing with paychecks, every one of which is privately held.

ATR920 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a question, I have noticed that many school districts are members in their local chamber of commerce, is that legal? Can a school district be apart of such a politically active group? A group that hates their own employees?

nascar 5 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence Education Association IS a member of the Lawrence Chamber. Keep in mind that the Lawrence Chamber parted ways with the Kansas Chamber some time back. Many members of the Lawrence Education Association have written letters and are moving their money away from companies/ financial institutions such as Cap Fed, HyVee, and Dillons which donate money to the Kansas Chamber.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 3 months ago

Good point. The district can join using their local control.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Privatization is money laundering

Privatization funnels YOUR TAX DOLLARS and MINE into the corporate bank accounts. THIS IS A CORPORATE ENTITLEMENT. Billions and trillions of tax dollars caught the eye of corporate America = easy and guaranteed profits guided by fascist politicians.

Now the corporation becomes evermore dependent on government in addition to skimming tax dollars off the top which get laundered into :

CEO pay packages

Golden Parachutes


GOP special interest campaign cookie jars

Yes our tax dollars are now getting spent recklessly instead of efficiently.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Think long term impact.

It isn't only union wages that go down. It's most wages. If all unions get busted and those millions upon millions are receiving less that translates into most all other workers making less money because workers across America will quit spending money.

When workers quit spending money what happens for the long term?

People go out of business thus more job losses.

Carpenters,plumbers and electricians go out of business because workers cannot afford more houses.

Property values sink because there is no money and foreclosures continue to rise.

New auto sales will slump AGAIN.

MORE retirement plans will go up in smoke because Wall Street will take a dive because spending which drives investors is no where to be found.

Millions more will not be able to pay for medical insurance.

Sales taxes will increase because all other tax sources have gone up in smoke.

Infrastructure will go longer without maintenance and/or replacement.

This is but a short list.

FiremanChris 5 years, 3 months ago

"And thus I clothe my naked villany With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ, And seem a saint, when most I play the devil." - King Richard III

I guess I'll be writing bigger checks to my IAFF local, with the sole intent that anything above dues goes straight into advocacy against these Koch-puppets. Our collective memory is so short when even middle managers and white collar workers forget what it's like to not have weekends or health insurance.

For a party that so readily touts governmental non-intervention and personal rights and responsibilities, this is absurd. If I don't like the political stances of my union or how my dues are being spent, I can freely choose to leave.

This "small government" sure spends a surprising amount of time in people's uterus', bedrooms, and personal checkbooks.

sciencegeek 5 years, 3 months ago

This bill is pro-teacher likes pigs are pro-bacon. The cabal running the state is against public education. what they want is private schools, which of course they and their rich cronies can afford. As to the rest---serfs don't need an education. the less they know the better.

But note: this also applies to police and firemen. Anyone who works for the government is "eating at the public trough", remember. Except them, of course. And those who work for any public entity must give up their rights, because they're paid with tax money. They need to accept their status as second-class citizens and get it over with.

God help us--the Real God, not the one Brownback uses as a political prop.

wastewatcher 5 years, 3 months ago

Why does this paper and this writer keep giving so much ink to the ULTRA LIBERAL HENSLEY and his LAPDOG DAVIS when they are not relevant in the Legislature. Kansans have rejected their EXTREME LIBERAL VIEWS time and time again. Nobody really cares what they think except their VERY LIBERAL FRIENDS and there aren't very many of them.

UneasyRider 5 years, 3 months ago

Fail to see how all capitol name calling makes your posts any more relevant than a well reasoned, well thoughtout response.

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