Senate majority votes to stifle teacher and state employee representation
On the same day that the Texas Senate honored retired teachers, the majority of the body, in a partisan vote, passed a bill aimed at gutting protection for current teachers, as well as many other state workers.
S.B. 13, a refile of the same bill that failed last session, eliminates the option to deduct membership dues from paychecks for teachers, CPS workers, correctional officers, and other state employees, as well as prohibit cities and counties from making the option available. Paycheck deductions, which are used to make payments to hundreds of organizations and charities, are strictly voluntary.
Those who voted for the bill have made clear their displeasure with teacher positions on public school issues. In debate yesterday, it was shown that the only reason for this bill is to limit the ability of teachers to represent educational interests. Further, by not allowing cities and counties to provide the option, an amendment I offered but was not accepted, we see yet another example of the state imposing upon local authorities.
Only selected groups of workers are targeted by the bill. Exempted from S.B. 13 are associations that represent police and firefighters, who also opposed the bill. The stated reason was because they have unique responsibilities as first responders. I agree with that, and would add that teachers are first responders to all the children in their classroom and schools.
Proponents could not provide no clear rationale for the bill, let alone why it only targeted certain groups. This is especially so, given that the state bears no cost in administering any dues deduction option, and offers it for hundreds of other purposes.
It is for these reasons that I opposed the bill, and will continue to do so if it comes back from the House for a final vote.