Taking a strong stand for taxpayers, the House and Senate State Government Committees passed paycheck protection legislation this week. Both committees amended original versions of their respective paycheck protection bills. Below, we explain the key takeaways of today’s amended legislation.
Summary of SB 1034 as Amended
The objective of paycheck protection is to end the use of taxpayer resources for political purposes.
Currently, Pennsylvania taxpayers collect three types of money for government unions:
- Dues and fees used to represent employees in collective bargaining and other representational activities,
- Dues that can be used for political activities such as lobbying, political advocacy, political action committee (PAC) fundraising, Get-Out-The-Vote drives, and more, but cannot be given directly to candidates,
- PAC campaign contributions that are given directly to candidates.
The amendment to SB 1034 prohibits public/taxpayer collection of all political money (2 and 3 above) for government unions.
- This means taxpayer resources cannot be used to collect either “political contributions” (PAC money & campaign contributions) or the portion of dues that can be used for politics.
- The amended version of SB 1034 allows for the continued collection of all union dues/fees that are used for collective bargaining and other representational activities.
The amendment would also prevent the use of public payrolls to collect funds that can go to SuperPACs.
- A recent SuperPAC ruling allows “independent expenditure committees” to accept unlimited amounts of union dues to run “independent” TV, radio, and print ads in support of or opposition to a candidate in PA. The amendment would prohibit taxpayer collection of these funds.
- This is similar to Idaho and Utah paycheck protection laws that:
- Require unions to set up a separate (voluntary) fund for political activities
- Prohibit public entities from collecting money for PACs or Political Activities
- Idaho’s “Voluntary Contributions Act” was upheld in 2009 when the Supreme Court ruled in Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association that the law “does not restrict political speech, but rather declines to promote that speech by allowing public employee check-offs for political activities.”
- Utah’s “Voluntary Contributions Act” mirrors Idaho’s and prohibits the use of government payroll systems for political contributions.