Missouri Business Headlines

Gov. Nixon vetoes bill that would have protected public employees’ paychecks from union-backed politicians

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Counter to the wishes of the majority of union workers, Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed House Bill 1891, legislation that would have barred public employee unions from automatically withholding money from employees’ paychecks to go to union-backed politicians.

A 2014 survey of union members and households, conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, showed that union members believe it is wrong to use taxpayer resources for political purposes and want to see this practice ended. According to the union households surveyed:

  • 80 percent don’t think taxpayer resources should be used to collect campaign contributions
  • 72 percent think unions should collect dues themselves
  • 58 percent support paycheck protection legislation

“While union members support paycheck protection legislation, elected officials like Gov. Jay Nixon, who count on union contributions to get in office, fight hard to keep this legislation from becoming law,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO.  “Public sector unions are among the most powerful forces in politics in Missouri, outspending almost any other political players.  And where do they get this funding?  Through forced contributions by state workers and ultimately taxpayers. It’s a racket.”

The General Assembly is in good position to override the veto.  The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-8 and was given final approval by the House of Representatives by a vote of 109-49.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder, a Sikeston Republican and was handled by Sen. Dan Brown, a Republican from Rolla. Specifically, a public labor organization must receive an annual, written authorization from members before using any portion of dues, agency shop fees, or any other fees for political campaign contributions or expenditures.

“Employees have a right to say what is taken out of their paychecks for political campaigns,” Mehan said. “The legislation doesn’t keep an employee from making a contribution, but it gives that employee the choice.”

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