Kentucky Education Association cries foul as legislature blocks payroll deductions for its dues

By: - March 15, 2023 8:11 pm

Rep. Josh Bray, R-Mount Vernon, above, will help lead Treasurer-elect Mark Metcalf’s transition. (LRC Public Information)

FRANKFORT – A bill that would stop automatic payroll deductions for dues of certain public employees who are part of a union or association has been passed by both the House and Senate

Representatives voted 66-33 on Senate Bill 7 Wednesday evening. The bill seeks to stop government resources going to political funds.

The Kentucky Education Association strongly opposes the legislation. The teachers union could no longer rely on automatic deductions for dues collection, but the House approved exceptions to the new rule for police and fire unions.

House sponsor, Rep. Josh Bray, R-Mount Vernon, said the bill’s current version “is designed to stop the practice of public employee unions from using taxpayer funded payroll systems to collect political contributions and union dues from its members.” 

Bray said, “State law prohibits us as legislators from using public funds, time or personnel for partisan campaign activity. The same standard should be applied to all public agencies.”

Nineteen Democrats and 14 Republicans voted no.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted 27-8 on the bill. Pikeville Republican Sen. Phillip Wheeler joined the seven Democratic senators in voting no. The primary Senate sponsor is Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson.

Democrats said on the House floor said the bill targets teachers who are members of unions.

“What I’m hearing here is very disrespectful to our teachers and shows a severe lack of support for them when they are telling us that that’s exactly what they need from this body,” said Rep. Lisa Willner, D-Louisville. 

The bill says a public employer or labor organization found in violation could get a fine between $100 to $1,000 for each offense. 

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.