Committee Votes to Ban Payroll Deduction! TAKE ACTION NOW!

Mar 19, 2015 by

Senate Committee strips public employees of rights

The Senate Commerce Committee went out of their way today to strip Kansas public employees of the right to control their own paychecks and prevent state and municipal employees from having a real voice in their wages, hours, and working condition.

On a motion of Senator Denning (R-Overland Park), the Committee gutted House Bill 2096 and inserted into it the contents of SB 179, ending the Public Employee Relations Board and enacting severe limitations on collective bargaining rights for state and municipal employees, and Senate Bill 212, prohibiting all public employees from paying association or union dues via payroll deduction.

By putting these two anti-worker bills into the House bill, they successfully stop the House from any ability to have the bills heard in committee or ended. The House can only vote up or down on the bill on a motion to concur in the Senate changes. This end run around the legislative process is commonly known as railroading or ramrodding. It was used to pass the school finance bill that ends the current formula and cuts funding for most school districts.

This bill is the latest in the war on public employees being waged by conservatives in the Legislature. So far they have prohibited public employees from using payroll deduction for PAC contributions, ended fair dismissal rights for teachers, attempted to repeal the professional negotiations act, reclassified state employees to end fair dismissal rights, and now voted to dismantled protections in PEERA (bargaining for state and municipal employees) and ban payroll deduction for dues.

This bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it will go to the House. We are almost out of time for consideration so the votes are likely to happen in the next couple days.

Make yourself heard!

Click here for a roster of Senators with their phone numbers and emails!

Phone them and leave a message. THEY MUST HEAR FROM KANSANS EVERYWHERE!

Once you have phoned, send an email.

Click here to use the KNEA Legislative email portal.

Talking points you might use:

  • I do not need big government to protect me from my own decisions. I work hard for my pay and I should get to decide for myself how to manage it.
  • HB 2096, as passed out of the Commerce Committee, prohibits me from making voluntary payroll deductions. How can government restrictions on my choices possibly be good policy?
  • Local communities and local governments should be free to make their own decisions about how to manage employee relations and payroll systems. HB 2096 undermines local control.
  • This bill is mean-spirited and unjustifiable. I ask you to stand up for the people who police our streets, fight fires, teach our children, and serve our state and community. VOTE NO on HB 2096.

 

 

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Keep Those Notes Coming! Or Visit the Capitol Tomorrow!

Mar 18, 2015 by

Anti-Public Employee Bills Up Tomorrow Morning

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Julia Lynn had planned to work both SB 179, the bill gutting collective bargaining under PEERA, and SB 212, the bill banning the use of payroll deduction for public employee association or union dues.

This morning, in a committee room packed with public employee representatives and teachers in red shirts, Lynn chose only to work SB 179. And after a motion was made to pass the bill out of committee, Lynn announced they would take a “pause” and wait until tomorrow to vote and work SB 212.

The committee will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-N. At that time they will consider both bills.  There is some thought that they may be considering rolling both bills into one mega anti-public employee bill.

Can you think of a more patriotic way to spend a day of spring break than visiting the Capitol to hold legislators accountable? There were more than 25 teachers in the committee room this morning.

And if you can’t be at the Capitol, be sure to email the Committee.

Click here to send a message on HB 212.

House Ed Hears Fingerprinting/Background Check Expansion

The House Education Committee held a hearing on SB 70, a bill that would require all teachers to be fingerprinted and go through a KBI background check upon every license renewal and all other school employees to do so every five years.

Since 2002, all new teachers have been fingerprinted and subject to a background check in order to get a license. Current law also requires teachers licensed prior to 2002 to be fingerprinted and checked upon their next license renewal. Very few teachers, if any, have not completed this requirement.

While KNEA has no objection to background checks, we believe that repeating this every five years with fingerprinting is not necessary. The KBI Rap Back program is sufficient for notice to districts of licensed employees who subsequently are convicted of a crime. This bill would simply at $50 to the cost of a license renewal every five years. Interestingly, the “innovative school districts” are required to pay the cost under the bill while all other teachers must bear the cost personally.

The bill has passed the Senate and will likely be worked in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

Still to Come

The Senate Commerce Committee will be working SB 212 and SB 179 tomorrow morning. Both bills are harmful to public employees and opposed by KNEA.

The House Education Committee will work HB 2139, repealing in-state tuition for the children of undocumented aliens, tomorrow. On Friday they will meet at 10:30 am (pre-KU basketball) to work HB 2292, the bill that would end use of the common core standards, AP tests, and the International Baccalaureate.

 

 

 

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Lynn moves payroll deduction bill to Thursday

Mar 18, 2015 by

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Julia Lynn had planned to work both SB 179, the bill gutting collective bargaining under PEERA, and SB 212, the bill banning the use of payroll deduction for public employee association or union dues.

This morning, in a committee room packed with public employee representatives and teachers in red shirts, Lynn chose only to work SB 179. And after a motion was made to pass the bill out of committee, Lynn announced they would take a “pause” and wait until tomorrow to vote and work SB 212.

The committee will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-N. At that time they will consider both bills.  There is some thought that they may be considering rolling both bills into one mega anti-public employee bill. 

Can you think of a more patriotic way to spend a day of spring break than visiting the Capitol to hold legislators accountable? There were more than 25 teachers in the committee room this morning. 

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TAKE ACTION TONIGHT, SHOW UP TOMORROW!

Mar 17, 2015 by

Senate Commerce Committee to take up payroll deduction, collective bargaining bills tomorrow morning!

TAKE ACTION TONIGHT, SHOW UP TOMORROW!

Senate Commerce Chair Julie Lynn, after the hearings on SB 212 that bans payroll deduction for association or union dues by public employees and SB 179 that essentially ends collective bargaining for state and municipal employees, told the press she likely would not work the bills.

But somehow, she seems to have had a change of heart. She plans to work both anti-union, anti-public employee bills in the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow morning.

These bills were opposed by KNEA, AFT, Kansas Organization of State Employees, the Fraternal Order of Police, several school superintendents, and a host of individual state and municipal employees. The only supporters were three organizations that have nothing to do with public employees – the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and National Federation of Independent Businesses. And we know why. As KCC lobbyist Eric Stafford told the committee on a similar bill two years ago, “I need this bill to get rid of public sector unions.”

Both bills are considered to be political payback for the pushback public employees have given the legislature and governor over the reckless income tax cuts and public employee engagement in the 2014 elections.

The committee meets tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-S. We can’t think of a nicer way for Topeka area teachers to spend an hour during this glorious spring break!

And if you can’t be there, you can phone and email the members of the Senate Commerce Committee.

You might want to share some of our points on SB 212 with members of the committee.

  • I believe that it is my duty as a professional to be actively involved in my professional association because doing so strengthens teaching and learning conditions, offers a mechanism for problem solving and most importantly gives me a solid platform from which I can advocate for my students.
  • Previous changes to the dues deduction process restricted the use of dues for political activity. Far from strengthening my paycheck, this bill seems punitive and restricts my colleagues and myself from making choices as consumers particularly when the restriction does not apply to other organizations.
  • I voluntarily choose to be a member of my professional association, just as I would voluntarily choose to contribute to United Way a 403B investment product or AFLAC as an insurance provider.
  • This bill legislates that as a teacher I am permitted to give via payroll deduction to organizations that meet a specific viewpoint but not to one that meets my own personal viewpoint.

Links to the Commerce Committee members’ emails are below.

Julia Lynn

Susan Wagle

Tom Holland

Molly Baumgardner

Jim Denning

Oletha Faust-Goudeau

Jeff Longbine

Jeff Melcher

Rob Olson

Mary Pilcher-Cook

Richard Wilborn

Click here to use the KNEA contact your legislator portal!

 

 

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False Promises in School Finance; Flying to Topeka; Payroll Deduction

Mar 13, 2015 by

House barely passes school finance bill

On final action today, the block grant school finance plan was passed on a vote of 64 to 58.

This bill, which is opposed by the education community and supported only by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, entirely repeals the current school finance formula and replaces it with a nebulous “block grant.” Schools would receive no more funds than they do this year for the next two school years. But most schools would actually lose funding under this bill.

The bill has been characterized as loaded with false promises supported by imaginary runs. Since this bill is a policy bill and not an appropriations bill, whenever it says “it is appropriated,” what it really means is “later on we might fund it if we can put together a comparable appropriations bill.” And unless the Legislature solves the current budget and revenue disaster brought on by the Governor’s reckless tax cuts. If they can’t find a way to fill the very deep revenue hole created by the tax plan, there is no way they can pay for this bill.

During floor debate, opponents of the bill pointed out that those who support the bill (KPI, AFP, and KCC) are the same three organizations that told Legislators to pass the income tax cuts in 2012.

Passage of the bill was not certain going into today’s vote. It was advanced to final action yesterday on a vote of 64 to 57 and when the vote went up today, it was failing on a vote of 62-58. Five legislators were missing from the chamber. Four were excused (Democrats Barbara Ballard, Carolyn Bridges, and Republicans Virgil Peck and James Todd), while Rob Bruchman was MIA. It is not an uncommon practice on difficult votes to “hide” someone. If your side is losing and you need time to convince a couple more to join you, then you ask for a “call of the House.”

Under a call of the House, no Legislator may leave the House floor and the missing members are called to come back and cast a vote. The waiting time is used for arm-twisting and bargaining.

After a couple hours, Rep. Todd returned and Rep. Bruchman was “found.” They cast votes in favor of the bill and it passed.

Below you will find a list of how each legislator voted. Please feel free to thank those legislators who stood up for Kansas schools by voting NO. As for those who voted YES, you might want to let them know how much you are looking forward to their support for revenue enhancements that will make the false promises of SB 7 into realities. You can get their emails by clicking on their names below.

SB7

(printable version)

House – Final Action – Substitute passed as amended – 03/13/2015

On roll call the vote was:

Yea – (64):

Anthimides, Barker, Barton, Boldra, Bradford, Bruchman, Brunk, Campbell, Carpenter, Carpenter, Claeys, Corbet, Couture-Lovelady,Davis, DeGraaf, Dove, Esau, Estes, Garber, Goico, Grosserode, Hawkins, Hedke, Highland, Hildabrand, Hoffman, Houser, Huebert,Hutchins, Hutton, Jones, Jones, Kahrs, Kelley, Kiegerl, Kleeb, Lunn, Macheers, Mason, Mast, McPherson, Merrick, O’Brien,Osterman, Pauls, Powell, Proehl, Read, Rhoades, Rubin, Ryckman, Ryckman Sr., Scapa, Schwab, Schwartz, Seiwert, Smith,Suellentrop, Sutton, Thimesch, Todd, Vickrey, Whitmer, Williams,

Nay – (57):

Alcala, Alford, Becker, Billinger, Bollier, Burroughs, Carlin, Carmichael, Clark, Clayton, Concannon, Curtis, Dierks, Doll, Edmonds,Ewy, Finch, Finney, Francis, Frownfelter, Gallagher, Gonzalez, Hemsley, Henderson, Henry, Hibbard, Highberger, Hill, Hineman,Houston, Jennings, Johnson, Kelly, Kuether, Lane, Lusk, Lusker, Moxley, Ousley, Patton, Phillips, Rooker, Ruiz, Sawyer, Schroeder,Sloan, Swanson, Thompson, Tietze, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Waymaster, Whipple, Wilson, Winn, Wolfe Moore,

Present but Not Voting – (0):

Absent and Not Voting – (3):

Ballard, Bridges, Peck,


Governor flies in Virgil Peck!

Virgil Peck was excused from the Legislature today to join the Governor in Coffeyville for an event. When the call of the House went out, Peck was put on the Governor’s plane and flown back to Topeka. Unfortunately for Peck, he arrived too late to cast a vote! See the story here in the Lawrence Journal-World.


Payroll deduction bill gets a hearing

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on SB 212, a bill that would prohibit the use of payroll deduction for public employee union dues.

KNEA joined the Kansas Organization of State Employees, AFT, the Fraternal Order of Police, Superintendent Julie Ford of Topeka USD 501, Superintendent Martin Stessman of Shawnee Heights USD 450, and a number of state employees in opposing the bill. KNEA was represented by General Counsel David Schauner, teacher Nathan McAllister of Royal Valley, and school librarian Kate Thompson of Olathe.

Supporting the bill was the usual gang – Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The KCC was represented by Eric Stafford who, when a similar bill was heard a few years ago, blurted out “I need this bill to get rid of public sector unions!” One can only assume that’s still why AFP, KCC, and the NFIB want this bill. We are sure it has nothing to do with the bill’s title “Strengthening Protection of Public Employee Paychecks.” You know, because you need to be protected from yourself!

This committee also had a hearing on SB 179 which would effectively end collective bargaining for state and municipal employees around Kansas and eliminate the Public Employment Relations Board where management and labor work out conflicts. KNEA also opposes SB 179.

Committee chair Julia Lynn (R-Olathe) has told the press that she is not sure if the committee will work the bills. We’ll be keeping an eye on them.

 

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