JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill dealing with donations to unions from public employees.
Backers call the legislation, “paycheck protection.” Opponents call it “paycheck deception.” The bill would bar the taking of union dues from a public employee’s pay without that employee’s annual, written permission. It’s sponsored by Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston).
“Many union leaders pursue agendas that their members do not support. Because of this, Missouri workers would be better served by giving them an annual option to choose if they want their dues spent on political purposes,” said Rehder. “Many public sector employees feel their pay is determined by the legislature and their union officials basically only lobby politically. They feel the money is getting taken out automatically without a deadline, the union official doesn’t have an incentive to listen or be helpful.”
Opponents like Democrat Clem Smith of St. Louis say the bill isn’t needed and is just meant to hurt Democrats’ political fundraising.
“If they make the decision to join a union they know exactly what they’re doing. We’re talking about teachers, we’re talking about counselors, we’re talking about people that work for the state and I think we’re like bottom five when it comes to wages, so if somebody who’s already not making anything makes the decision to join a labor organization, they really mean it,” said Smith. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in this position – that someone who has made a decision has to then make that decision annually to do something that they’ve made a decision about.”
Such a proposal has passed both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly in recent years. Another favorable vote would send the bill to the Senate.
On a roll-call vote, the legislation was “perfected” 107-48; that would be two votes shy of the number needed to overturn a veto by Governor Jay Nixon (D) if that’s what happens to the bill.
Her legislation is HB 1891.