Lawmakers pass union-paycheck deduction legislation

State lawmakers from both legislative chambers passed proposals last week that would require labor unions to get consent from workers before collecting fees from their paychecks for political contributions.

The House passed the legislation Wednesday by a 90-65 vote, while the Senate passed its version Thursday.

Earlier in the week, Senate Democrats launched a late-night filibuster against the measure, sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, arguing that the legislation is aimed at hurting labor unions.

“I think the goal, I guess, is to make it so (unions) don’t have the power to be effective,” said Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County.

However, Brown said he is trying to give workers more freedom.

“I just think people should have the ability to choose where their money goes,” Brown said.

After the filibuster lasted eight hours, senators agreed to an amendment that would only allow these paycheck deductions with the annual consent of the employee.

Senate Democratic Floor Leader Jolie Justus, D-Jackson County, said she still believes the bill erodes the power of unions, but being a member of the minority party forced her to compromise.

Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation now head to the opposite chamber.