Bill on public union dues nears Pennsylvania House vote
By Brad Bumsted
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 3:48 a.m.
HARRISBURG — A key committee chairman said on Monday he's waiting for a “green light” from legislative leaders about whether to advance for full House vote a bill that would stop deductions of union dues from state, local government and school district payrolls.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, said the State Government Committee “would have the votes today” to send the legislation to the House floor. The bill is pending before the committee that Metcalfe's chairs. A House floor vote on the issue “would probably be close,” he said.
Hundreds of unions workers from across the state plan to rally on Tuesday at the state Capitol against what the AFL-CIO considers a “right wing” bill aimed at silencing and weakening unions.
Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for Republican leadership, had no immediate answer on a vote but said “the consensus is building.”
“A lot of members are talking about this,” Miskin said.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said last week that he would sign the bill if the General Assembly sends it to him.
“I look to the leaders to see whether they have the votes,” Corbett said.
The sponsor of House Bill 1507, Republican Rep. Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County, said public employee unions can collect dues “directly out of paychecks with no questions asked. A portion of that money is spent on political activity, and there is a clear issue with any portion of public funds being used to collect money for political campaigns.”
“It's a matter of right and wrong,” said Rep. Eli Evankovich, R-Westmoreland County.
Supporters say the practice is legal.
Federal law allows members to opt out of the “political portion of union dues, despite the lies of the special interests,” Wendell W. Young, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, told Cutler in a letter.
In the Senate, the issue is “under active discussion” in the GOP caucus and with House leaders and Corbett, said Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson. Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Altoona, sponsored a bill, but he said he concluded Cutler's bill is better.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man guilty of conspiracy in killing
- Warren County probation officer allegedly groped, intimidated client
- Retired Pa. Game Commission chief to get $220K severance payment
- Philly, state leaders hopeful for pope visit in 2015
- Philly leaders to ask pope to visit
- Trucker cited for slow speed in fatal crash on I-80
- Dems’ debate assails Gov. Corbett
- Greene County proposes more than $200,000 for Brave sewage plant rehab
- Pope Francis’ civil union stance has its defenders
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- Former PSU president Thomas dies at 81