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Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2013

House committee approves bill that would prohibit teachers union from using voluntary paycheck donations for political advocacy

January 24, 2013, 3:44 p.m. Updated January 24, 2013, 7:22 p.m.

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— A House committee on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit the Kansas National Education Association from taking voluntary paycheck donations from teachers and using those funds for political advocacy.

Supporters of House Bill 2023 said teachers were being coerced into signing over funds for political campaigning.

“There is peer pressure,” said state Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia. “This is just a step in allowing them the freedom to chose who they want to support in a political contest.”

But opponents of the measure said it would make it more difficult for teachers and the state employee organization from participating in the political process.

“I am appalled that this committee would target a specific group of Kansans to deprive them of their rights, and I wonder who is next,” said state Rep. Annie Tietze, D-Topeka.

State Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said the bill was deceptive, heavy-handed, punished teachers and violated the Constitution.

But Republicans on the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee accused Democrats of exaggerating.

They said teachers can still make political donations, but under the bill they would not be allowed to voluntarily have a portion of their paycheck deducted for political purposes.

Burroughs, however, said the motive behind the legislation couldn’t be exaggerated since a representative of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce testified that the bill was needed to eliminate public unions.

On Wednesday, Eric Stafford, senior director of government affairs for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, told the committee, “I need this bill passed so we can get rid of public sector unions.”

Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, said he believed the full House would debate the measure next week. The committee approved the measure 10-5 with only Republicans voting for it.

Comments

Larry Sturm 1 year, 10 months ago

Another way for government to add corruption to politics.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 10 months ago

Why don't we abolish the Kansas chamber of commerce?

Clearly4Kansas 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree, the govenor needs to issue an executive order decertifying public sector unions.

JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

"Excellent. Next step decertify."

Which accomplishes what?

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

Here's a link to the major contributors to the KS chamber of commerce:

http://www.kansaschamber.org/membership/cornerstone-members/

These are the corporate powers behind the attack on freedom of speech for working Kansans.

If we can't influence politics with money we spend, we can certainly do so with money we DON'T spend.

Just sayin'.

costello 1 year, 10 months ago

I would like a FULL list of all members. A list of alternative businesses who don't belong to the Kansas Chamber would be helpful too.

Just looking at grocery stores, HyVee, Dillons, and Aldi are all on that list. I also sometimes buy groceries at Target and Walmart, both on the list. I make one trip a month to Costco which I don't see on the list, but it's too far away to make a regular grocery store for me. It also doesn't have everything I need. I shop at the Merc sometimes, but it's expensive. Is Checkers a non-Chamber member? The grocery stores in Baldwin City and Overbrook? What about Price Chopper?

I see no point in quitting Dillons only find myself driving a long distance to shop at a different store which is a Chamber member but not on that 'Cornerstone' list.

deec 1 year, 10 months ago

Call them and ask the manager or owner. If they refuse to say, boycott them as well.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 10 months ago

Look guys. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are all already owned by the company store. Unless you spend you dollars only at Starbucks and Costco (maybe Trader Joes), then we are paying "the Man" who turns around and contributes to the wackos on the right. Wal-Mart, Target, Jimmy John's, Papa Johns, Dominoes and even the toilet paper you use (the Kochs) all back the most extreme anti-worker, anti-union, anti-tax agendas of the Right. Our solution is to get "their" money out of politics and to elect representatives that stand up to corporations and business. What too many people fail to understand is the GOVERNMENT is the buffer between the people and business. Businesses don't need much government, but people do. It's our government that we choose to use to regulate and tax business and to prevent their undue influence in government. The policies that benefit the people will in the end benefit business. It is not true the other way around.

costello 1 year, 10 months ago

My home phone is AT&T - on the list. I'm thinking about switching to Sage. How do I find out if Sage is a Chamber member or owned by a different Chamber member?

optimist 1 year, 10 months ago

This seems logical to me. Deducting this money directly from their checks does the same thing as deducting taxes directly from our paychecks. It lulls us into a sense of not missing it and not expecting anything in return. I think we should all have to cut the check to the government every paycheck. I bet we demand better government then and I'm betting teachers get better representation this way. Besides there is a cost to deducting this money directly and that cost is born by the tax payer and I for one prefer not to pay for it. There is absolutely nothing preventing teachers from cutting a check out of every paycheck to the NEA.

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

This bill goes WAY beyond issues of paycheck deduction, and is a blatant assault on the 1st Amendment. You should read it.

boltzmann 1 year, 10 months ago

But if that is the case, then they need to go after ALL voluntary deductions by state employees - for example, to the United Way or voluntary 403B's - and not just unions because they don't like them.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Following ALEC guidelines.

ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in drafting bills to:

---attack workers’ rights.

--- roll back environmental regulations.

--- privatize education funded with our tax dollars.

--- deregulate major industries.

--- passing voter ID laws.

Nonetheless, this year’s annual ALEC meeting boasts the largest attendance in five years, with nearly 2,000 guests in attendance. Center for Media and Democracy organization released 800 model bills approved by companies and lawmakers at recent ALEC meetings. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/secretive_corporate_legislative_group_alec_holds

TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments, public schools,SRS services etc etc to private industry = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

texburgh 1 year, 10 months ago

A major corporate backer of the Kansas Chamber PAC is Crossland Construction. Crossland makes much of its income off of government contracts - most notably building public school buildings. They contribute tens of thousands to the Chamber PAC of MY TAXPAYER MONEY. Yet they are not held accountable. I'm not giving them my bond money of my own free will. Don't I get a say?

Of course I don't. The Chamber and Crossland only support Republican right wing extremists. All Kansans support that!

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

The liars, er, I mean "writers" of this legislation claim it's about paycheck deductions. While the bill does go after paycheck deduction; there is FAR MORE involved here.

The bill prohibits the use of dues dollars (a.k.a. any and all money the union has) for ANY political purpose...even "indirectly" and also prohibits the use of dues dollars to advocate for "ideology"....even 'indirectly."

Since the entire KNEA staff and leadership are paid with dues dollars....it makes no difference that PAC money can still be collected through other means. Who will do the PAC work? Furthermore, since "ideology" is forbidden....this effectively allows ZERO opinions to be expressed by any KNEA staff or elected leadership.

This is a blatant 1st Amendment violation; as the liars, er,...I mean authors of the bill know full well. By the way...who wrote the bill? Oh, I see....NOBODY signed their name to it. It just magically appeared from the committee (ALEC......).

Paul Decelles 1 year, 10 months ago

KSManimal, Exactly. Everyone focuses on the payroll deduction aspect of the bill but Scott should have focused on the third page which clearly says:

oldexbeat 1 year, 10 months ago

Koch Suckers of Kansas United LLC is the author. Get over it -- the rich own the state. The working poor pay for it and the little tiny middle class is about to become the working poor -- they just don't see it yet.

That's the scene. Done Deal. Voting will be privatized next. Pay to Vote. Surely that is coming. Go Brownbackistan, and the Cult of Koch.

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

If you aren't already registered, then you already have to pay to vote. Birth certificates & passports aren't free. Neither are the time & travel (&/or postage, etc.,) for obtaining them.

Welcome to Brownbackistan.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

It's all about cutting wages while corp USA reaps evermore profits. Neither the USA nor corp USA are broke.

All Work and No Play http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speed-up-american-workers-long-hours

Local and mainstream media are not necessarily a friend to the working class. Other sources are which offer in depth coverage on many issues regarding the middle class whether upper middle or lower middle.

http://www.democracynow.org/

http://www.inthesetimes.com/

http://www.jimhightower.com/

http://www.motherjones.com/

http://www.thenation.com/

http://www.alternet.org/

http://www.dollarsandsense.org

http://www.commondreams.org/

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources

JonARoss 1 year, 10 months ago

If the republicans are so worried about tax payer's money in Kansas why do they continue to pass legislation that is obviously in violation of the constitution of the United States and then spending millions and millions trying to defend it in court?

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

It's a way of channeling public money to the private law firms--all staunch Republican supporters--who will be paid huge amounts of money to help argue the state's case. It's a political payoff.

chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

It's really better for them when it's unconstitutional. That way they can keep campaigning on the issue without actually solving it.

JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

Yep, I'm pretty sure this one is blatantly unconstitutional.

JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

Wasn't there another bill a few days ago seeking to ban political advocacy by unions in general? Come on are these idiots even trying to pass laws that don't violate the constituion?

In addition to the 1st Amendment, this law would violate Due Process including the 14tg Amendment and represent a Bill of Attainder. The citizens of Kansas should sue these idiots personally for being incompetent expletives.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 10 months ago

You hit it on the nail, Jack. The key word here is "voluntary". If this passes into law, it will never pass Constitutional muster.

sciencegeek 1 year, 10 months ago

What teachers union are you talking about? I know many, many teachers, and their "union" is largely toothless. None of them have ever paid mandated union dues. Their bargaining unit , at best, keeps them from going rapidly backwards. Huge raises are not the norm! To say that "the vast majority of teachers in the unions are Democrat, and liberal"-where did you get THAT?

This entire post is biased opinion presented as all-encompasing fact. Yet, you are willing to allow their dues to be deducted, which is surprising open-minded. Actually, it's only fair, as long as other people can specify similar deductions. Despite their being blamed for the ills of society, teachers still are human beings and citizens of this state.

KSManimal 1 year, 10 months ago

If you look at the candidate recommendations put out by various groups in the state, you will find that KNEA is the LEAST partisan group of all. About 25% of KNEA-endorsed candidates are Republicans.

How many Democrats are endorsed by the KS Chamber of Commerce? Or the Farm Bureau? Or the right-to-not-control-your-own-body-if-you're-female folks? Don't think too hard on that one.....

oldbaldguy 1 year, 10 months ago

most teachers I know in Kansas are conservative. they voted for these folks. you can't say most are liberal, with the exception of my two sisters in law.

Chris Golledge 1 year, 10 months ago

So, according to Republicans, when it comes to the ability to make political contributions, corporations are people, and teachers are not.

DrQuack 1 year, 10 months ago

Let's get rid of ALL unions. Then we will be free to earn $2.45/hour anywhere in Kansas!

William Weissbeck 1 year, 10 months ago

I never thought I'd see the day when states would be competing for the honor of being called the most vindictive state in America. Clearly Kansas is in the running, along with Virginia (let's rig the next election while the Black state senator is out of town attending the inauguration of that other Black guy), and Michigan (let's adopt Right to Work during the lame duck session because we just got trounced in the election, and we're writing into the law that the people can't repeal it.)

JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

Is it wrong to be hacked when your elected representatives waste time passing laws that are clearly prohibited by the Constitution?

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

"Supporters of House Bill 2023 said teachers were being coerced into signing over funds for political campaigning."

"They said teachers can still make political donations, but under the bill they would not be allowed to voluntarily have a portion of their paycheck deducted for political purposes."

Are our legislators illiterate? And have they not heard of Beck rights? Because that is what is being exercised by the union members who chose not to have a portion of their paycheck deducted for political purposes.

"In Communications Workers of America v. Beck (1988) the Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) restricted unions from collecting dues for political activities if a union member chooses to opt out. The required dues can only be used for collective-bargaining and other representational activities."

http://www.unionfacts.com/article/political-money/understanding-beck-rights/

http://www.unionfacts.com/article/political-money/

A system already exists and union members are aware of it. This bill is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Paul Decelles 1 year, 10 months ago

Katara, don't try to confuse the legislators with facts.

costello 1 year, 10 months ago

I sent messages to both Dillons and HyVee yesterday telling them I wasn't happy with their decision to support the Kansas Chamber. I received a response from HyVee. It's not enough for me, but here it is:

"Hy-Vee wants customers to know that our company does not agree with recent statements made by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s lobbyist regarding public employee unions, and we are not participating in or otherwise supporting any lobbying efforts by the Kansas Chamber in connection with the issue. Hy-Vee is a member of state and local Chambers of Commerce throughout the eight states in which we operate, but that does not mean we are in agreement with every action taken or every view held by these organizations and their representatives. From time to time, Hy-Vee will take public positions on issues that directly impact our business (such as the revision of Kansas laws governing the sale of alcoholic beverages), but our company does not choose sides when it comes to social or political issues that do not affect our operations. We are proud to serve customers representing all walks of life and all positions on the political spectrum, and our focus remains where it has always been: providing all Hy-Vee shoppers with quality products, outstanding values and superior service."

Bob Reinsch 1 year, 10 months ago

Unions stating an opinion in political contests = bad. Corporations doing the same thing = good. Got it.

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