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Missouri Lawmakers Send 'Paycheck Protection' Bill To Gov. Nixon

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given final passage to legislation that would limit labor unions' ability to deduct dues and fees from the paychecks of public employees.

Senate Bill 29 would require unions to get written permission every year to deduct dues from paychecks.  While it would only apply to public employees, unions for first responders would be exempt.  Unions would also have to get permission to use dues and fees for political purposes.  State Representative Eric Burlison (R, Springfield) handled the bill in the House.

"At the end of the day, this is really about worker freedom, worker rights," Burlison said.  "They want the union to fight for them when it comes to their jobs, but they don't necessarily like the way that the union is spending their money on political campaigns."

Democrats argued that the bill would make it harder for labor unions to play a role in politics.  State Representative Clem Smith (D, Velda Village Hills) spoke against it just before the final vote, saying the proposal is unnecessary.

"People do it on their own will," Smith said.  "They sign up on a form already to have additional money go to political action committees from labor unions, and that money is spent to support labor activities."

The bill was passed two months ago by the State Senate, then traveled through three House committees before being passed 85-69 Monday by the full House.  Twenty Republicans joined Democrats in voting "no," making it a difficult challenge for GOP leaders to attempt an override if Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoes the bill, which he is likely to do.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.