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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2014 04:18 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. and Sen. Gene Yaw, Sen. Ryan P. Aument, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Sen. Jake Corman, Sen. Mike Folmer, Sen. Scott Wagner, Sen. Donald C. White, Sen. Lloyd K. Smucker, Sen. Scott E. Hutchinson, Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati, III
To: All Senate members
Subject: “Mary’s Law”- to Protect Public Employees and Taxpayers
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation in the Senate, as will our colleagues in the House, to ensure political campaign funds are no longer collected through government-provided mechanisms with taxpayer resources.
It is a principle of good government that electoral politics are not mixed with official government business. Yet state and local governments in Pennsylvania continue to collect political campaign funds on behalf of public-sector unions—and only public-sector unions. This is wrong.
The issue crystallized recently when Mary—a citizen from Central Pennsylvania, a college professor and a PSEA member of 20 years—received a letter at her home shortly before the most recent gubernatorial election. The letter was addressed to her husband and asked him to “… join Mary in voting for Tom Wolf for Governor on November 4th.” The production of the letter was funded, at least in part, with Mary’s union dues through a “Super PAC.” Mary neither authorized the use of her name, nor was she voting for Mr. Wolf. Yet her dues money—collected by the taxpayers and exploited for political purposes—was used against her wishes and against her will.
Mary was outraged, and many other union members expressed similar outrage to the PSEA as well. This is why we must change the law: to empower and protect Mary—and thousands of other teachers and public employees like her.
This legislation, to be known as “Mary’s Law,” would allow Public-sector unions to continue to collect and spend political money, but they would simply have to collect and spend it the way everyone else does—without taxpayer support and with the permission of the political donor. By making the laws regarding campaign funding apply equally it would empower and protect teachers like Mary from having her union dues money spent for political purposes with which she disagrees.
The legislation will only apply to public-sector union contracts that currently benefit from this taxpayer-funded legal and financial privilege. Public safety and law enforcement personnel—because they are under different sections of the law—would not be affected, nor would, of course, any private sector unions. This legislation will allow for payroll deduction of 100% of non-political union dues money otherwise known as the “Fair Share” amount (i.e., dues money used strictly for collective bargaining purposes, grievances, arbitrations, and other non-political uses for the benefit of the members).
It is critical for our Commonwealth that we continue to maintain a clear separation between official government business and electoral politics. Unfortunately, current law allows for public-sector unions—and only public-sector unions—to comingle public resources and political funds, and also violate the political speech of public employees like Mary.
If you wish to co-sponsor this legislation, please join us --Senators Aument, Yaw, White, Scarnati, Folmer, Corman, Wagner, Bartolotta, Hutchinson, Smucker and Stefano in this effort by co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB501