Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Statehouse Live: Committee chairwoman says business-backed, anti-union bill needs more study

February 6, 2013


— After two Senate committee meetings on a business-backed bill aimed at curbing political action by state workers’ unions, the committee chairwoman said Wednesday the legislation needs to be studied more before a vote.

“We need to work through some issues,” said Commerce Chairwoman Julia Lynn, R-Olathe.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has been pushing House Bill 2023, which its representatives said is aimed at preventing the Kansas National Education Association from collecting voluntary paycheck deductions for political purposes.

But opponents of the measure say other language in the bill would essentially prevent public sector unions that represent state and local government employees from political participation.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, supports the measure aimed at paycheck deductions, but said, “What I don’t want is something that weighs down this bill and goes to court and delays this bill.”

Eric Carter, speaking on behalf of the Kansas Chamber, said the bill was constitutional.

“It is well settled law that this is constitutional, period,” Carter said.

But state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, disagreed. Holland said he was concerned that under the bill, public sector unions and their political action committees “are totally being excluded from participation in the political marketplace.”

The dispute is over language in the bill that says public employee organizations are prohibited from spending any income from dues, fees or periodic payments to engage in political activity. The bill defines political activity as actions meant to influence elections and activities of a partisan or ideological nature.

Holland said that portion of the bill was taken from model legislation prepared by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that Holland called a “corporate bill mill.”

ALEC describes its mission as promoting free markets, limited government, federalism and individual freedom “through a non-partisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government and general public.”

Wagle said the allegation that the bill will inhibit free speech “cost us some votes” when the measure was approved last week by the House.

Lynn said HB 2033 needed more vetting, but she didn’t indicate how long that would take.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, who is a teacher in the Shawnee Mission school district, said teachers are pressured to join the KNEA. KNEA officials have denied that allegation.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

Another attempt to silence teachers. House Bill 2085 would dramatically limit bargaining, strip teachers of a voice in evaluation procedures, and prohibit exclusivity- in other words teachers would not be permitted to choose a bargaining agent. Petition Background

The anti-teacher forces in the Kansas House of Representatives released a bill that effectively dismantles collective bargaining for teachers.

Support The Teachers Petition


bobberboy 1 year, 2 months ago

Mike Oneal is running this show - he used to be speaker of the house - now he is the head of the kansas chamber of commerce - he wants to get rid of all the unions - because that's what the koch brothers want him to do. Anyone remember the run in he had with the state union workers when he was still in office ? Well he kind of got burnt on that and he's been very upset about it ever since !!


1 year, 2 months ago

@Trabert I posted this in a different thread 1 Feb. You ignored it then, I'm sure you'll ignore it now. It's not as detailed as KSManimal, but your survey was biased, if not rigged.


@Trabert Your survey may not be rigged, but it is poorly written in that it is biased in favor of the responses you wanted.

Your questions 3 & 4 indicate the courts "decided" how much school funding should be. This is not the case. The courts said the funding level provided by the State Legislature was unconstitutional, you know this. Your question is designed to elicit a negative response, the response you wanted.

You indicate that "total taxpayer funding" is $12K plus. From where did you get that number? The only thing the State Supreme Court said was that the State's funding per pupil was unconstitutionally low, and said the State needed to fund education at $4492 per pupil. That's a lot less than $12K+.

Both of these questions are biased, hence the remaining questions are suspect also. Disgusting display on your part. Next time ask decent questions, unless you're afraid of the data.

Your survey was conducted of 500 adults. What where the demographics by county and city? if you can't provide that, then your sample is a puposeful sample as you asked those most likely to provide the response you wanted. Include the count as well as the percent.

As always, anything you and the KPI produce is suspect.

I further add: Question 10 is not germane to the survey which is ostensibly about public employees being able to tell their bean counters to send their dues to the union from their paycheck.

Scale should be 5-point with Not Sure (bad choice of words) in the middle, not 4 with Not Sure at the end as an afterthought.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 2 months ago

Bring on the attorneys, the only job program the gov has succeded at. Unconstitutional, I suspect.


ATR920 1 year, 2 months ago

Situveux please actually read the bill and the article before you post your nonsense. Even the republican chair women believes that the bill may violate rights. You have to actually read the entire bill. The parts alec and davey t want you to ignore.


James Nelson 1 year, 2 months ago

The article says that ALEC claims to be non-partisan. IF there are democrats on their board they would have to be paid to be there. MORE REPUBLICAN LIES.


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

I believe the court was quite clear with the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal elections board. Eric Carter is apparently a fool.


Dave Trabert 1 year, 2 months ago

Oddly, this story does not mention testimony I provided showing broad public support for changing the current practice of withholding dues used for political purposes.

Union members, conservatives, government employees, liberals, moderates...everyone believes the current practice should be changed and by a very wide margin.


UneasyRider 1 year, 2 months ago

Somehow, I can't see anyone sensible that would accept a legal opinion as fact from a Chamber lobby spokesperson. The Chamber person stated as fact that law would be constitutional. "Eric Carter, speaking on behalf of the Kansas Chamber, said the bill was constitutional." I say, prove it in court, while costing taxpayers a lot of money and losing.


situveux1 1 year, 2 months ago

The comments attacking Smith for being a teacher and a legislator are comical.

Just how does he get paid for being in Topeka? He shouldn't be allowed to vote because he's a teacher!

Too funny. Odd I never heard anyone complaining when other teachers were elected. Of course, they were Democrats. I'm sure his party affiliation and prior votes has nothing to do with the "outrage."

Or better yet, where were all you people when John Vratil was in both the Senate and on a local school board? No conflict of interest there. Of course, he was "for the children" so that makes everything okay, doesn't it?


Brad Greenwood 1 year, 2 months ago

Unlike other districts around the state, we haven't heard one peep from the Lawrence school board or superintendent about all this teacher-bashing by the state. It'd be kind of nice to know where they stand on all this.


Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

Smith should not vote on the bill because he is a teacher and a member of congress this is a double standard.


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

Just how can this be considered a Pro-Taxpayer bill when it has nothing to do with tax payers? It certainly doesn't increase or decrease taxes at all. Some people just find it necessary to believe in goblins.


Steve Bunch 1 year, 2 months ago

Smith was a sympathetic figure when his teenage daughter was abducted and murdered a few years ago. I'd argue that he traded on that sympathy to get himself elected. I also have heard that he uses his social studies classes as a platform for his rightwing opinions, not that such behavior historically has been uncommon among high school teachers. He has an agenda, and it's not primarily about education.


question4u 1 year, 2 months ago

"...state Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, who is a teacher in the Shawnee Mission school district, said teachers are pressured to join the KNEA."

Three guesses as to why there isn't any mention of the proof that Smith offered to back up his claim.

Last year Mike O'Neal claimed that union members had made sexist remarks to a female legislator. He would not identify the legislator and did not produce any witnesses, but he claimed to be investigating the matter. He got plenty of press for his unsubstantiated comments. I bet someone a hundred dollars that six months later O'Neal would still not bring forward any evidence at all to support his claims. I knew that my money was safe After all, it was O'Neal.

If Smith has any integrity he will provide evidence of his claims. The people of Kansas should expect more than anecdotes and hearsay from their representatives, but clearly they don't.


Thom 1 year, 2 months ago

Pro-taxpayer bill? Where did you get that idea? Autie is right. Once it's paid, it NO LONGER BELONGS TO THE TAXPAYER. Get a clue!


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

Why do they call it an anti-union bill when it is actually a Pro-Taxpayer bill?


gatekeeper 1 year, 2 months ago

"Meanwhile, state Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, who is a teacher in the Shawnee Mission school district, said teachers are pressured to join the KNEA. KNEA officials have denied that allegation."

Funny, I was never pressured to join. There are many benefits to being in the union, but never once was pressured by anyone, just given the needed information so I could join and have a voice.


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

HB 2023 is purely in violation of the 1st amendment of our Constitution. All that baloney about tax dollars is meaningless because once that employee is paid, that money is has lost all public identity. I don't see how those educated lawyer types can't see that.

And Mr. Smith, riddle us this, if you are a teacher in the Shawnee Mission district how can you spend the entire semester at another job? How does you contract get adjusted for something like missing half the year? Do you declare a Kobach and get paid anyway? I guess that lays the basis for introducing SB 119, the Feather Your Nest bill.


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