Bill to End Payroll Deduction of Membership Dues Dies

Posted on 6/2/17

Senate Bill 13, which would have ended payroll deduction of professional association membership dues for most public employees, including TPEA members, died in the House. The Senate had passed the bill March 30 along party lines.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had included the issue in his legislative priorities for the session, and Gov. Greg Abbott had mentioned it in his State of the State speech early in the session. The bill was pushed by the Texas affiliate of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), whose constituents are private-sector small business owners.

An almost-identical bill also died in the House in 2015, and House members continued to have the same concerns about the bill this session as they did two years ago. The bill lacked a rational delineation between which groups were exempt and which were not, creating an indiscriminate assemblage of winners and losers. For instance, author Sen. Joan Huffman stated during floor debate this session that the bill was a “fight against the unions,” but the bill carved out police, firefighters and EMT unions with national labor union affiliations—and would have ended payroll deduction for nonunion, Texas-only membership associations such as TPEA.

TPEA remains concerned about the many issues with this bill and its likelihood of reappearing in a special session or a future regular session. Similar legislation has passed in other states, though those states have primarily been “union states,” where—unlike Texas—union membership had previously been compulsory. Texas is a right-to-work state, which means membership in any organization—union or nonunion—cannot be required as a condition of employment.

Since its founding in 1946, TPEA has fully supported right-to-work laws and opposed collective bargaining and striking for public employees. The TPEA State Bylaws prohibit the association from affiliating or endorsing a labor union.