State House Committee Votes to Protect Public Resources

Today, the House State Government Committee passed legislation that protects public resources, a good government reform prioritizing ethics over political privilege.

The first piece of legislation, SB 166, prohibits the taxpayer-funded collection and distribution of campaign contributions for any organization. Meanwhile, HB 1174 prohibits all political spending, including contributions to SuperPACs, yet exempts public safety workers. While it sounds commonsense, for years state and local governments have taken campaign contributions out of workers’ paychecks—and sent them directly to government union leaders’ political funds for partisan campaign contributions.

No organization should abuse public resources for political fundraising. Government unions are the only entities with this unique privilege—and have used it to spend more than $35 million on politics through their PACs over just the past decade. These bills simply level the political playing field.

A version of SB 166 passed the State Senate earlier this year. The bill was amended in the House today to address only the collection of campaign contributions. Should SB 166 or HB 1174 become law, government union leaders would have to collect campaign contributions given from members, just as every other political organization does.

Bottom line: this legislation assures that campaign contributions never mix with taxpayer money.

Both bills permit the government collection of union membership dues and fees and does not impact the collective bargaining process. It simply removes government from the political equation. Unions members will need to send political contributions directly to their union leaders, which can only increase accountability.

 A majority of voters—and even 80 percent of union households—believe it is wrong to use public resources to collect campaign contributions.

This is commonsense reform for public sector workers and legislators across the political spectrum. Soon house lawmakers will have a chance to show all taxpayers that they are serious about good government reform.

Click here to email your representative and show your support for ending the use of public resources to collect campaign contributions.