By Scott Rothschild, LJWorld.com
A House committee on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit the Kansas National Education Association from taking voluntary paycheck donations from teachers and using those funds for political advocacy.
Supporters of House Bill 2023 said teachers were being coerced into signing over funds for political campaigning.
“There is peer pressure,” said state Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia. “This is just a step in allowing them the freedom to chose who they want to support in a political contest.”
But opponents of the measure said it would make it more difficult for teachers and the state employee organization from participating in the political process.
“I am appalled that this committee would target a specific group of Kansans to deprive them of their rights, and I wonder who is next,” said state Rep. Annie Tietze, D-Topeka.
State Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said the bill was deceptive, heavy-handed, punished teachers and violated the Constitution.