Archive for Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Statehouse Live: Battle begins in House over public unions

January 30, 2013


State Reps. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, and Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, talk Wednesday after preliminary passage of a bill that unions said would restrict their ability to participate in the political process. Kleeb carried the bill in the House. A final vote is scheduled on the measure is scheduled for Thursday.

State Reps. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, and Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, talk Wednesday after preliminary passage of a bill that unions said would restrict their ability to participate in the political process. Kleeb carried the bill in the House. A final vote is scheduled on the measure is scheduled for Thursday.

— A bill that opponents and supporters agreed would weaken the ability of public employee unions to participate in politics won preliminary approval on Wednesday.

Backed by the powerful Kansas Chamber of Commerce, House Bill 2023 would prohibit the Kansas National Education Association and state and local government unions from deducting voluntary paycheck donations from members that are used for political advocacy.

The measure advanced on a 66-54 nonrecord vote. A final vote is expected Thursday.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who opposed the bill, said there may be a chance to defeat the legislation when it comes up for a final vote. Sixty-three votes are needed in the 125-member House to approve a bill.

"I think it will be very close," Davis said.

State Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, said the bill was needed to help the "silent majority" of public workers who don't want to join the union but felt they must to avoid pressure. He said government employees have limited income and the bill would give them the opportunity to keep more of their paycheck. "Things are tight out there," he said.

But several opponents said no teacher or government worker has come forward to say they were intimidated into signing the deduction for a small portion of their salary going toward a political action committee.

"No one is coerced to join the union," said state Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, and a 38-year member of the NEA. Trimmer said when he was a teacher, $1.67 each month of his salary would go toward the NEA political action committee.

State Rep. Brandon Whipple, D-Wichita, said his district is the most unionized in the state and no one there has told him of being "forced or tricked or bullied" into joining the union.

But other bill supporters said the government shouldn't be involved in making deductions from the checks of public employees for the purpose of political activity. Trimmer said the cost of administering the deduction was minimal.

Kleeb maintained that public employees could continue to make personal donations to candidates if they wanted. He noted that in other states that have passed similar laws, membership in the teachers union fell off significantly.

State Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, said if the bill becomes law it will limit constitutional rights of labor organizations.

He told the freshmen legislators, "Your first vote on the first bill of public policy of the 2013 session will be to limit the rights of free speech."

At least two more bills opposed by unions are in the pipeline for consideration. Similar measures had been stopped in recent years in the Senate but the Kansas Chamber and other conservative groups helped flip the Senate into conservative control this session.

Prior to debating the bill, several Republican legislators who supported it said that they heard of teachers being pressured to join the KNEA.

"We've received a lot of stories about that," Kleeb told the House GOP caucus early Wednesday.

State Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, said some teachers join the NEA to avoid being ostracized or intimidated.

But state Rep. Amanda Grosserode, R-Lenexa, said when she taught fifth-grade she didn't join the NEA and felt no pressure. "I have never felt that," Grosserode said.


Larry Sturm 5 years, 4 months ago

Kansas chamber of commerce needs to stay out of politics.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

They certainly have no right to prevent others from enjoying the same rights of participation that they expect for themselves, which is what this bill seeks to do.

Greg Cooper 5 years, 4 months ago

As a matter of fact, the purpose of unions is exactly that of the PACs of the world. Why do you, in your clearly non-partisan way of thinking (NOT), believe that a huge number of workers who pay taxes and vote not be allowed the same right?

cellogrl 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm a teacher and a union member and I was never pressured to join. Union membership is voluntary. Why so they feel the need to protect us from ourselves? They don't. They don't like that we aren't silent on issues that affect us and/or our students.

Mike1949 5 years, 4 months ago

It is a matter of taking away freedom. That is what the republican party is all about. Dictatorship!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

"We've received a lot of stories about that,"

And I'll bet that none of those supposedly telling all of these stories will be called to testify, nor will those accused of putting all this pressure on be allowed to give their version of what happened, likely because it wasn't much more than handing someone a brochure that stated the benefits to teachers of maintaining an effective union.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Or "we heard a lot of stories about that" was just that. Stories. My cousin's cousin's wife's aunt's dog's former owner's niece said she heard some teachers were pressured to join.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for private sector unions, if that's what the people want. Not so much public sector unions.

In the private sector, unions and companies develop an adversarial relationship, not too dissimilar to that which is the legal system. Strong advocates for both argue their respective positions, with justice being the desired and hoped for outcome. However, in the public sector, that adversarial relationship has become distorted, as politicians receive financial benefits from unions. There is no "the company" when it comes to public sector jobs so there is no strong advocate for the company's position. It would be as if only the defense or only the prosecution was allowed to present it's case. At a minimum, there is the appearance of a conflict of interest.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Under the current administration, the hostility towards government employees is quite open, so to say there is no adversity is just plain wrong.

And I disagree that adversity is a necessary or even good thing in employer/employee relationships. That's not to say there won't be conflicts, as their interests don't completely coincide. And those conflicts are precisely why government employees need unions-- so that they don't get picked off one at a time in selective, arbitrary and/or non-transparent actions by supervisors.

Having public employee unions also protects the interests of the public. Employees who are disgruntled because supervisors are allowed to mistreat them with impunity are not going to do a good job of serving the public who pay their salaries.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Right about the current administration being hostile towards unions. But that's only right now, right here. In other times and in other places, public sector unions are in bed with whatever administration is in power. The adversarial relationship that exists is now between public sector unions and Republicans. But when Democrats are in power, then you've got the fox guarding the chicken coop.

The adversarial relationship is how the system has evolved over many years. Whether or not it's the best system is open to debate. That it is the system we have can't be disputed.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

There's nothing at all necessarily adversarial between labor and management.

In fact, they depend on one another, and when they work together to achieve common goals, like the success of a business, things work quite well.

When the relationship becomes adversarial, that affects those goals negatively.

I read that Toyota prevented unionizing by the simple practice of treating their workers well, so that they didn't feel a need for a union.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the legal system shouldn't be an adversarial system either. But it is. Maybe it would be better not having such a system. But it is the system we have.

Be clear, I have no objection to private sector unions if the workers want them. It's none of my business. My objection is to public sector unions.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

The legal system is set up in an adversarial manner.

There's no corresponding system for employers and employees, who can establish whatever relationship they like with one another.

Do you have an adversarial relationship with your employees? And, if so, why?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Sometimes I do. Why? I think it comes from a lack of information, but let's face it, people are not always entitled to full disclosure. If I spend a certain amount on rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, licenses, etc., that's not information I would share with employees. No more than they would share with me what they spend their wages on. Neither is the business of the other.

Employees, especially newer hires, have little idea how much I spend on worker's comp. or for advertising. It's not that they don't care. It's just that they don't think in those terms. They see how much money comes in on a daily basis, they see how much they get, and assume I pocket the rest. As employees stay longer, they tend to see more accurately.

As an aside, as I frequently give little stories to illustrate my point. You mentioned that the legal system was set up to be adversarial, yet employee/owner or more precisely union/company relationships are not necessarily set up that way. Here's the story. I was listening to a political analyst many years ago. He said that if you took the U.S. Constitution and set off to Antarctica to form a new country, it would evolve into a two party system, just as we have here, despite it not being established in the Constitution. It just happens. So too, in my opinion with unions and companies. Yes, it doesn't have to be that way. But it does work out that way.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Public employees are entitled to a full disclosure of the finances and processes used to calculate their wages, so this argument for an adversarial relationship doesn't apply.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

The issue of full disclosure, at least as I was using the term here, was not intended to be about public employees and their jobs in government. It was merely a response to a question by Jafs about my business.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

To be fair, the adversarial relationship you've created with your employees is also by your own choice. Other business owners may choose a different path.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

To be fair, I have a very friendly relationship with my employees, much of the time. I've had them over my home for events, exchanged gifts at the holidays and birthdays. However, when it come to financial decisions I make, "sometimes", the relationship becomes adversarial. Not to the point where we're each hiring representatives. But we do have disagreements. When that happens, I assume the role of business owner and reserve the right to make the final decision.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

The fact that they or you don't know exactly how much each spends on various things doesn't mean you have to have an adversarial relationship, in my book.

I don't agree that things just happen that way - I think that it results from a series of actions on either side. As an employee, I have found that employers often expect you to do more for less, and squeeze the life out of you, without the attendant respect, appreciation, and just compensation. I'm sure there are similar stories from the other side, of lousy employees, ones who steal, etc.

If you've ever seen the show "Undercover Boss", you'll see how many good hardworking people out there are struggling to make ends meet, and are being paid ridiculously low wages, while the CEO's are woefully out of touch with the realities of their business.

It's great that those CEO's wind up helping the employees they come into contact with, but I always wonder about all of their other employees, and why they can't just compensate them all adequately, so they don't need the somewhat feudal largesse of the employer to make it.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Just a little personal story, Jafs. In the past, I've told employees some personal history. I told them that my wife and I, married and partnered for two decades before we purchased our own business. We both worked two jobs, saving as much as we could. We delayed beginning having a family for many years, we becoming parents very late in the game. But over those years that we did work hard and saved all we could, never taking vacations, not even a honeymoon. We rarely missed even a day of work. When as older parents we had our first child, my wife took one full day off after childbirth, then back to work for her. But we were able to save a quarter of a million dollars to buy that first business. From my experience with employees, once I mention that amount, that's all they hear. The years of hard work go in one ear and out the other. Delaying having a family, no vacations, none of that sticks. All I hear is, "Wow, you're rich". Then all the assumptions come that because of the significant value of the business, it must be doing well and they want their share. When I then compare my investment to the company vs. theirs, a lifetime vs. six months, yes, I can justify the fact that I make substantially more money in the long run than any of them, even if on any given day, it may seem we are working equally hard. If someone thinks that unfair, whether it's an employee or a poster here, well, I will have to politely disagree.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago


Doesn't really address my point at all. Obviously it's a bit of a mistake to share that story with your employees.

I think that determining fair in this context is as hard as determining it in taxes.

Personally, I'm more interested in win-win situations, in which both employer and employee feel they're working together to benefit the business and each other, and both can live on the money they make. Combined with providing quality goods and services at reasonable prices to customers, that's the positive scenario of capitalism, in which everybody benefits.

Unfortunately, it's not very common these days.

And, though I understand your point, those employees may have done very similar things to you, just at different businesses, and haven't realized those gains.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

It also says a lot that you're hiring the sort of people who think a quarter million dollars sunk into a business makes someone super rich.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

What does it say about the "sort of people" I hire? That they come from humble beginnings, as if that's a bad thing. Or that they don't have Ph.Ds, nor will they ever likely get one, as if that's a measure of a person's worth?

It seems somewhat arrogant to judge people you've never met. But, hey, if that's the "sort of person" you aspire to be ...

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, it's totally different from making judgements about people based on the behavior of people you met in San Fran Poor People Make Terrible Choices Cisco. The academic jealousy is unbecoming, though. You could have walked uphill both ways with two jobs and only one day of maternity leave to get through grad school if you'd chosen.

What it says is that we live in a cultural hegemony where people from "humble beginnings" are unable to realistically envision a scenario in which they have enough money to start their own business. And they're probably right. You don't pay them what they think they're worth, but you don't feel you have the means to do better. All sides are probably right on that one. This isn't a healthy or sustainable situation for any of us.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I came from exceedingly humble beginnings as did my wife. As did Bill Clinton. As did Ronald Reagan As did many successful people. If it's you who believes that people who come from humble beginnings cannot achieve success, then you would be wrong. If it's people from humble beginnings themselves, then they're selling themselves short.

Academic jealousy, hardly. George Bush graduated Yale, Bernie Madoff graduated Hofstra. Bill Gates dropped out. A sheepskin is just a small measure of a person's worth. That guy involved in the Colorado shooting was applying for doctoral programs. I'd rather associate with an honest, hard working high school dropout any day. And I did walk up that hill many days as I attended class and then down the hill in my cap and gown. Whatever.

If you've been reading a related thread, I told Bozo that I pay my employees anywhere from minimum wage to four times that amount. If a person feels they deserve more money, achieve the skills necessary to be rewarded at that level. I have a history of paying what people are worth.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

There's a difference between impossible and improbable. I won't tell you that people don't write best selling novels, either. I'll just tell you that most writers end up with day jobs, even if they're brilliant and work very hard.

Are there self-inflicted wounds from low expectations? Sometimes, yes, but that's not the whole picture. You can do things to increase your likelihood of wealth, but you start the race at a disadvantage. You've been sold a bill of goods. We all have, and the system depends on your ability to toss up a few examples of people who do actually "make it" to prove it can be done. That's how cultural hegemony works.

We cherish those rags to riches stories. They feed our fantasies. This generation is now less likely to have that upward mobility than any other this side of the Great Depression. That's not a helpless whine or a proclamation of destiny. That's a simple statement of fact. I can show you the statistics. The days when hard work and talent were routinely rewarded are long gone. We do not live in a meritocracy, no matter how much you will it to be so.

I'm sure you have a sheepskin, but I seriously doubt you've got a hood. You've even joked about being a drop-out. Not that it matters - you're strawmaning if you think that's my only measure of a person's worth. It has been a frequent theme of your jabs, so I my guess is that there's some resentment fueling it.

However, college is part of what keeps the American Dream just a dream for people with "humble beginnings." Sure, you can go off and get a degree from Yale like Bush, but it sure helps if your folks have a heap of money and connections - and then look at all the doors it opens when you leave.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Can you tell me when exactly in the entire history of the state of Kansas that Democrats have been in power? By "in power," I mean in power like the Republicans are now - in control of the House, Senate, and governor's seat. When has that happened? As far as I can tell, it has never happened in this state.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 4 months ago

Even with two state employee unions, state employees haven't had raises in 8 years. The distribution of power is lopsided in kansas, but it is heavily tilted toward the kansas chamber of commerce and away from people who have dedicated their careers to serving the people of kansas.

KSManimal 5 years, 4 months ago

"I'm all for private sector unions, if that's what the people want. Not so much public sector unions."

You don't have to like them. The 1st Amendment doesn't read "Congress shall make no law.......speech, press,....assembly, ...petition the government.....UNLESS jhawkinsf isn't "for" the group exercising the aforementioned rights."

adastraperapathy 5 years, 4 months ago

Do public sector union members make up the majority of the electorate?

Of course not.

Does the party that supports public sector unions have any real power in this state? And how often does the Democratic Party control the agenda in this state? Even during Democratic governor administrations, the legislature of the state of Kansas is almost always Republican (has the state of Kansas ever had a Democratic legislature and Governor?)

And yet somehow, they have the power to get whatever they want from government, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

But let's go ahead and pretend Unions are high and mighty so that it's easier to ignore the real corrupting influences and power imbalance in Kansas.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 4 months ago

Somewhat unrelated ... but what is happening with the new judicial selection discussion/vote today?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

ALEC Private Schools

Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

ALEC Education "Academy" Launches on Island Resort by Dustin Beilke

Today, hundreds of state legislators from across the nation will head out to an "island" resort on the coast of Florida to a unique "education academy" sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There will be no students or teachers. Instead, legislators, representatives from right-wing think tanks and for-profit education corporations will meet behind closed doors to channel their inner Milton Friedman and promote the radical transformation of the American education system into a private, for-profit enterprise.

What is ALEC Scoring on Its Education "Report Card?" Little is known about the agenda of the ALEC education meeting taking place at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. The meeting is not open to the public and recently even the press has been kicked out of meetings and barred from attendance. So to understand the ALEC agenda with regard to education, it is important to examine ALEC's education "scorecard."

Imagine getting a report card from your teacher and finding out that you were graded not on how well you understood the course material or scored on the tests and assignments, but rather on to what extent you agreed with your teacher's strange public policy positions. That is the best way to understand the American Legislative Exchange Council's 17th Report Card on American Education released last week.

The report card's authors are Matthew Lardner, formerly of the Goldwater Institute, and Dan Lips, currently of the Goldwater Institute and formerly of the Heritage Foundation. They give every state's public schools an overall grade based on how they rate in 14 categories. Homeschooling, alternative teacher certification, charter schools, private school choice, and virtual learning make up 7 of the 14 categories. Of the other seven categories, two rate the states' academic standards and the other five have mostly to do with the way states retain "effective" teachers and fire "ineffective" ones.

ALEC's education bills encompass more than 20 years of effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding....

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

It was 4 Votes(66-54 is no Land slide) from not passing and this is only the beginning. Constitutionality will be the next test. If it were constitutional, They( 66 Cowardly Kansas Legislature Members) would not need back stair exits with No Name tag and Heightened security. Mighty proud of the 54 that voted against this measure. No cowards in that group.

Claudean McKellips 5 years, 4 months ago

Working hard to move my money away from those businesses that belong to the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. No sense subsidizing the loss of our own good, middle class jobs. Shop local.

nascar 5 years, 4 months ago

I'll be shopping at Checkers and the Merc. Dillons, HyVee, and Aldi are no longer a viable option.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 4 months ago

Paycheck protection is controversial in the state capitol, but elsewhere there is very broad support. Our (Kansas Policy Institute) public opinion poll conducted over the weekend included a question on this issue. 12% of respondents say retain the current system. 39% said withhold only regular dues (which is what the current legislation would do) and 30% said withhold no dues.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives, Moderates, Liberals...all come to the same conclusion. Among self-identified Democrats, 17% say withhold all dues, 45% say regular dues only and 19% say withhold no dues.

Even union members (not just gov't unions...all union employees) agree. 14% say withhold all dues, 53% say regular dues only and 23% say withhold no dues. Among government employees, 19% say keep the current system, 42% say regular dues only and 17% say withhold no dues.

The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA with +- 4.5% margin of error. Full results, questionnaire and methodology available at

KSManimal 5 years, 4 months ago

This bill isn't about "paycheck protection", Dave, and you know it. And the 1st Amendment is not trumped by KPI's rigged opinion polls, either.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 4 months ago

Why do you say this is a 'rigged' poll?

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

You primed the listener with previous (lopsided) questions about school finances and expenses. You provided some brief background info, but you did not include that the proposed legislation would go further than merely restricting payroll deductions or operationalize what was meant by "political." You also describe the unions as "government unions," as if the government itself runs them, rather than "public sector unions" or some other description. I detect a Luntz phrasing in there. Although you did use the word "voluntary" in the background info, it was only used once, so it would be easy for the person answering to get confused on the point and think that this was a mandated government contribution rather than an automatic bill payment system.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Ah, the word from one of the ALEC members who could have been involved in crafting this particular bill. Good to see that you've got the freedom to lobby for your political objectives, Dave. Wouldn't want to see any big government overstepping their bounds and needlessly passing extra regulations that imposed on your right to advocate for your own self interests.

texburgh 5 years, 4 months ago

Meanwhile, Trabert's Kansas Policy Institute, American's for Prosperity, and the Kansas Chamber are free to collect and spend as much money as they want on the kinds of political activities mentioned in the bill. Trabert will reply that KPI doesn't, but they do. Oh, they don't say "vote for" but they buy such nasty ads that you know what they want you to do. They do this all in secret. They refuse to divulge their funders. They have buckets of cash for flashy reports, bringing high profile anti-government and anti- education "thinkers" to Topeka, they buy quarter page ads in every daily paper in the state and yet they have no source of income. At least none that they will tell you about. No one admits to funding KPI and Diamond Dave Trabert (you should see his cufflinks!). Diamond Dave knows this bill is about silencing public employees, denying them free speech rights. He knows what the effect will be. His buddies at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce told us all - it's about getting rid of public sector unions - the last obstacle to the Koch's complete acquisition of Kansas government. And yes, Eric Stafford now says he didn't mean it. Just like the guy who smacks his wife in "a moment of frustration" and then says he didn't mean it; he has the utmost respect for her. We all know that the truth is the one thing that words spoken in frustration always reveals.

William Weissbeck 5 years, 4 months ago

So if you can already by law "opt out" of paying the political action portion of your dues, and if by law the union must bear the expense of sending you the notices advising you of your right to opt out - why do we even need another law? Could it be that the GOP has figured out that the education unions in most states are the only significant campaign funding source for the local Democratic parties? States like Kansas just don't have the numbers of teamsters, auto, steel or service workers to make any other "union threat." The sad fact is that the few remaining sane Kansans are going to have to open up their ever shrinking wallets to "buy back their government" from the fascists.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Here's the wording of the poll--

"State and local governments withhold voluntary union dues from employees who join government unions, a portion of which is used by unions for political purposes. Which of these best describes what you think governments should do: Withhold the union dues, including the portion that is used for political purposes? Withhold regular membership dues only, so that employees wishing to contribute to money for political purposes would write their own personal checks? Or withhold no union dues, regardless of how the money is used?"

As chootspa pointed out, the wording of this poll was designed to push a particular result. "Government Unions?" Really?

And you also fail to point out that employees already have the right to opt out of paying any dues that go for political purposes.

Bottomline-- you're nothing but a mendacious propagandist.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

Mendacious Propagandist sounds too Polite. Call him what he is:A Bald Faced Liar.

adastraperapathy 5 years, 4 months ago

What freedom are you protecting with this bill, Dave?

No one is forced to do anything (or, at least, you haven't presented any proof that they are), and local and state government administrators could eliminate the deduction option if they want to.

Has there even been any evidence for how this will save the state any money?

If the state is going to keep the option for unions to deduct operational dues, I don't see how the bill saves any government time or money. (Even if they got rid of all of it, it's doubtful they would save much.)

So, just admit, like the Chamber lobbyist, this is your way of making union participation so inconvenient for workers that they just give up.

Just admit that's what you are doing.

Chamber lobbyist, Eric Stafford, "I need this bill passed so we can get rid of public sector unions." January 23, 2013

Remember that quote folks, it's not often these people get caught in a truth.

Brad Greenwood 5 years, 4 months ago

Paycheck protection from whom? Once I earn my money, it's mine to do with as I please... regardless of what a smattering of automated poll takers think. If I want to have my employer (regardless if it's the state or a private business) deduct money for dues, charitable donations, etc... it's my business. And I have yet to see one shred of evidence that supports these legislator's claims that the NEA is "coercing" people to join. And no one who joins has to pay through payroll deduction, it's just the most convenient option for most people.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh come on, now. We know that corporations have the only opinions that count. Let the nice big corporation tell you how to spend your money by way of hand-crafted legislation they shove through with the legislators they all have in their pocket. It's what we call "freedom."

whosrunningthisplace 5 years, 4 months ago

Strange isn't it? Money is speech according to the corporate fascist types running this state, and many other states. Well, that is until it applies to those with the few dollars. Then, well, those dollars need to be restricted, or just plain eliminated. This is just one more symptom of what I believe to be a Theocratic Governor's takeover of a state for his own inner desire to establish his faith as "law." If it means catering to those with most of the wealth, 'cough-Koch' to keep the theocracy propped up. If most of those that vote for these "johnny one notes" and "corporate pimps" realize that, maybe there will once again be a "free state of Kansas!"

sinkorswim 5 years, 4 months ago

I am a teacher. I also CHOOSE to belong to LEA/KNEA/NEA. I have not seen or heard of any staff members being harrassed or coerced into joining against their will. I am quite capable of making responsible decisions and do not need anyone protecting me from the alleged big, bad teacher's union. Please stay out of my paycheck. It's none of your business.

Scott Bonnet 5 years, 4 months ago

Hatred of working class people runs rampant in the halls of our capital. If you don't own a company, you are not represented.

Greg Cooper 5 years, 4 months ago

If, as you say, this is the trend, then why in God's name must the legislature even think of worrying about it? I believe that there is much more to this bunch of statistics that does not meet the eye. For instance, how about the fact that employees' wages have fallen drastically in the last decade, making it harder for the employees to afford the very dues that protect them. Or, perhaps we on the "wrong" side of the debate are completely wrong and the vast majority of sheep, I mean people, really don't want any semblence of control over their government. Then, still, there is no reason for the legislature to exercise any more effort in legislating that which you say is already happening, don't you think?

However, another reason might be that the game is rigged, that the "regular guy" has no control because it is being taken away from him on a daily basis. Dave, Sam and the Gang have no empathy for the public, they have no understanding that the people they are defrauding of their own control over their own money will eventually see the light and rebel. And it won't be pretty.

Larry Sturm 5 years, 4 months ago

Does freedom of speech come into play here.

KSManimal 5 years, 4 months ago

Let's see.....does freedom of speech come into play? How about we all read for ourselves the sections that have nothing whatsoever to do with paycheck deduction, and that Diamond Dave Trabert and cronies won't admit even exist. Here's a direct cut & paste from HB 2023:

"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."

This says public employee unions cannot engage in political activities in any way, shape, or form REGARDLESS of how the members pay their dues. I eagerly await Dave Trabert's explanation of how this has anything to do with paycheck deductions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

This is in direct conflict with the Citizens United ruling that allows unions to spend however much money they want for political purposes. Singling out public employee unions is unequal treatment under the law, which is unconstitutional.

If this passes, I expect that lawsuits will be immediately filed and an injunction issued prohibiting enforcement of this law till it makes its way thru the courts. (and the the right wing wackos won't be able to stack the courts with ideologues in time to get the purely ideological ruling they'd like.)

JohnBrown 5 years, 4 months ago

What ever happened to 'small government' conservatives?


William Weissbeck 5 years, 4 months ago

Except for the Kochs who are technically libertarians, but believe that their money entitles them to buy and run the government as they see fit. Rather than leaving us to the government we want, they want to make sure that they are not taxed or regulated by any government. Most fair minded libertarians recognize the need for some government, but one that stays out of legislating conduct or wasting money on Utopian programs. True small government conservatives probably died out during the New Deal. What emerged, but is now on the verge of disappearing, were the better government conservatives (Dewey, Eisenhower, Nixon, Rockefeller). They accepted the need for a social welfare democracy and a mixed economy. They were the "governor" to the liberal utopians. The anti-tax, anti-regulation Kochs have merged with the puritanical social conservatives to accomplish disparate objectives. One wants no government (or one they can control) and the other wants a government that polices conduct.

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