After a long weekend of rapid-fire hearings on a mostly awful array of bills, the Senate floor-vote calendar for Monday, July 24, lists 16 items of legislation, including private-school vouchers and a ban on payroll deduction for teachers and other public employees. The next Hotline will catch you up on the weekend hearings, especially the excellent showing Sunday afternoon by Texas AFT members and allies in opposition to the attempt to ban payroll deduction of dues. But right now we have immediate, important work to do.
Task number one: Say no to vouchers! They are at it again. The Texas Senate Monday could vote on yet another private-school voucher bill targeting students with disabilities. Don’t let them get away with this. Urge your senator to vote no on SB 2 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), which also would hold other school funding hostage to passage of vouchers.
Task number two: Stop the attack on payroll deduction! One of the worst recycled proposals from the regular session is an attack on your individual freedom to use payroll deduction to pay your union or association dues. The bill is SB 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), which passed in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee after 6 pm today by a vote of six to three, with Republican Robert Nichols of Jacksonville and Democrats John Whitmire of Houston and Judith Zaffirini of Laredo voting against.
Gov. Greg Abbott and other backers of this bad legislation have been conducting a disinformation campaign, falsely claiming that payroll deduction has a cost to taxpayers. But the fact is that state law requires the organization receiving dues to pay the administrative costs, if any, incurred in processing deductions.
This proposal is really nothing but a blatant political attempt to discriminate against and stifle the expression of views by teachers and other public employees. It is an assault on individual freedom, and we need to let lawmakers know this nonsense has got to stop.
Here are two ways you can send that message.
One, call your state senator at 1-844-332-8404, and your call will be directed to the right office. Two, send an e-letter from the Texas AFT legislative-action website to your state senator and to your state representative in the Texas House.
Note well: Things are moving ultra-fast at the Capitol as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer, and Gov. Greg Abbott, Patrick’s enabler, try to ram an extreme, mean-spirited agenda (including SB 3, the bill to discriminate against transgender schoolchildren) through the Legislature in a matter of days. Keep an eye out for further opportunities to make your voice count in defense of public education, your own individual freedom, and common decency. Don’t let them silence you!