State aims to crack down on union due collections

With a special session looming in the Texas Legislature, State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) intends to file legislation banning the state from collecting union dues.

“Texans don’t ask much of their government, but one thing they do expect is responsible and transparent stewardship of their hard-earned money,” said Isaac in a statement. “Texas is a right-to-work state, and it’s simply not appropriate for labor unions to be given preferential treatment. It’s long past time to end the outdated practice of using taxpayer-funded resources to collect dues for private organizations.”

Isaac’s bill will have a senate companion filed by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), according to a press release.

The bill to be filed is similar to Senate Bill 13, which was filed during the regular session by State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston).

Huffman’s bill, which was voted out of the senate along party lines in March, restricted the state or a local political subdivision from withholding or deducting an employee’s salary for dues or membership fees for a labor organization.

However, the bill was the subject of controversy as several Democratic senators, including Kirk Watson (D-Austin), opposed the measure.

The bill also received pushback from Noel Candelaria, Texas State Teachers Association president, who said in a March 29 release the bill was a “selective attack” on educators and other public servants.

“They use their own money to pay their membership dues, and it doesn’t cost governments anything to deduct their dues payments from their paychecks. These dedicated public servants should be free to use their own money to pay their membership dues as they see fit,” Candelaria said.

Candelaria also claimed the bill was politically motivated, even though he said the TSTA and other employee organizations don’t use membership dues for political purposes.

SB 13 died before the end of the regular session as it wasn’t voted out of House committee.

Prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues is one of 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott included on his call for a special session, which begins July 18.

Abbott said in a statement Texans “should not be on the hook for collecting union dues.”

“The legislature made strides in advancing this measure during the regular session, and with the upcoming special session I feel confident we can get this measure across the finish line,” Abbott said.

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