Kansas Latest State to Take on Unions

Kansas Latest State to Take on Unions

Kansas is the latest state to seek to curb union power; on Wednesday, a preliminary vote in the Kansas legislature approved the Paycheck Protection Act aimed at eliminating automatic dues collection for unions. The measure was passed on Thursday by the State House of Representatives.

The new bill passed, 68-56, on a mostly party-line vote. The Wednesday vote was only preliminary, but the final vote today exceeded the 63 votes needed to pass the bill. Three Republicans in favor of the measure were reportedly absent during the Wednesday vote.

If approved by the state senate, the new law would prevent public sector employees from using automatic deductions to fund union political action committees. Union members could still write a check for those dues, but they would no longer be collected by the state.

Huffington Post reports that a similar bill passed the Kansas house in 2011 but stalled in the Senate. However, since then the state Senate has become more conservative.

The Paycheck Protection Act is the first of several legislative moves aimed at curbing union power in the state. Another bill which has yet to receive a vote would limit collective bargaining by public sector unions. It is aimed primarily at loosening rules dealing with the hiring and firing of teachers. KCUR reports the bill would “limit what can be negotiated,” including how a teacher’s performance is evaluated by the state.