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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2017 10:28 AM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public Employee Paycheck Protection
In the near future, I will be re-introducing the legislation that was put forth in both the House and Senate last session with regard to ensuring political campaign funds are not 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. It is critical for our Commonwealth that we continue to maintain a clear separation between official government business and electoral politics.

The issue crystallized last session when a teacher 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 her in voting for a [certain candidate] for Governor on November 4th.” The production of the letter was funded, at least in part, with union dues through a “Super PAC.” She neither authorized the use of her name, nor did she intend to vote for that candidate. Her dues money, collected by the taxpayers, was exploited for political purposes—and used against her wishes and against her will.
This legislation would allow public-sector unions to continue to collect and spend political money--but they would have to collect and spend it the way everyone else does—without using the government to do so. By making the laws regarding campaign fundraising apply equally it would empower and protect public employees, like teachers, from having union dues money spent for political purposes with which they disagree.

The legislation will only apply to public-sector union contracts that currently benefit from this taxpayer-funded legal and financial privilege. It is important to note that this legislation will still allow for 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).

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation to prevent the use of public resources to collect political funds, and to also protect the political speech of public employees. Co-sponsors of the legislation last session (SB501) were: Scarnati, Bartolotta, Yaw, Aument, Corman, Folmer, White, Smucker, Hutchinson, Stefano, Alloway, Vulakovich, Gordner, Mensch and Wagner.

Introduced as SB166