LANSING, Mich. — The House Redistricting and Elections Committee approved legislation banning public employers from using payroll deduction to collect political donations, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

According to The Press, the bills come in response to a June Michigan Supreme Court ruling on a case involving the MEA and the Gull Lake school district in Kalamazoo County which prohibited the deductions even if the political action committee reimbursed the public employer. Committee Chairman Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, said the bills were intended to put the court’s ruling into state law.

“What this aims to do is keep politics out of government operations,” Lund told The Press. “Government should not be a part of the political process.”

State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, told The Press workers would still be allowed to make PAC donations. “Nothing here prevents public employees from writing checks to political action committees or candidates,” he said.

Opponents claim the bills are aimed at keeping unions from helping Democrats. “The real goal here is to hurt unions and their ability to contribute to candidates,” Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit, told The Press.

SOURCES:

The Grand Rapids Press, “Bill banning public employers from using payroll deduction to collect political donations heads to House,’” Dec. 6, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “House Ready to Move Bills Prohibiting Automatic Union PAC Deductions

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