During a special late night session filled with legislative maneuvering and sharp exchanges between law makers, House Republicans overrode Gov. Perdue’s veto of SB -727 (See SB 727 vote here). The legislation prohibits the state from collecting dues from public school employees. While the new law never specifically mentions the state’s largest teachers association, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), the legislation deletes the current law’s reference to “domiciled employee associations with at least 40,000 employees, the majority of whom are public school teachers. ” Only one organization –NCAE — meets the description.
Two Democrats (William Brisson – Bladen and James Crawford – Granville) joined with 67 Republicans in voting to support the override. The vote on SB 727 was the only vote taken during a special veto session convened on Wednesday to consider SB -9, the Racial Justice Act. However SB-9 never came to the floor for a vote.
Many Republicans view the override of the NCAE dues checkoff legislation as payback. Since the early 1990s, NCAE has benefited financially by the state collecting membership dues via payroll check. The provision has allowed the organization to accrue savings and to continue distributing an overwhelming majority of political contributions to Democrats who use the money to defeat Republicans in general elections. It is difficult to estimate exactly how much dues check-off saved NCAE annually. However, suffice it to say if the savings were meager, it is unlikely NCAE would put up such a fight opposing the legislation.
To read more about why passage of SB 727 is good policy see here.
While I support SB 727, my only problem is that it fails to go far enough. Since there is no compelling reason why government should supply administrative services to any organization, the ban should apply to all organizations. Unfortunately, an amendment to do just that failed to pass last year. If law makers truly want to make government more efficient and create a level playing field for all organizations,they’ll return in spring and expand the prohibition to include all public employees.