The Pennsylvania Senate today approved legislation to stop public employers from deducting political contributions from workers' paychecks.
The Senate voted 28-22 to send the bill on to the House, which is scheduled to return for its next session day mid-March. A spokesman for the House majority leader said the House will review the bill.
Supports of the proposal, called paycheck protection, argue that the state, school districts and other public employers should be barred from deducting political contributions from wages.
"Creating a firewall between politics and our official business is critical," said Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, during floor debate.
Union officials have said the contributions are voluntary, and Democrats argued in the Senate that the proposal is intended to silence workers.
"It is a measure to shut down the voice of teachers," said Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia. "It is a measure to shut down the voice of others who work in schools, in our public schools, to limit their ability to speak up and speak clearly about the issues that they have concerns with."
Deductions of political contributions could continue under existing collective bargaining agreements, but future contracts could not require the deductions.
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