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Under the Dome - January 24, 2013

House Committee Republicans approve Chamber bill designed to "get rid of public sector unions"

Despite an admission by Kansas Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Eric Stafford that the intent of HB 2023 was "to get rid of public sector unions," the House Committee on Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development voted 10 to 5 to send HB 2023 to the full House for consideration.

Voting NO were Democrats Tom Burroughs, Annie Tietze, Stan Frownfelter, and Brandon Whipple and Republican Michael Houser. Republican Ken Corbet did not vote and Richard Carlson was absent.

Voting YES to "get rid of public sector unions" were Republicans Steve Brunk, Gene Suellentrop, Will Carpenter, J.R. Claeys, Travis Couture-Lovelady, Mark Hutton, Peggy Mast, Joshua Powell, Allan Rothlisberg, and Ron Ryckman, Jr.

The anti-public education forces supported by the Chamber and now in charge of the Legislature need this legislation prohibiting Kansas NEA from participating in politics to bolster their chances of passing a constitutional amendment deleting or limiting their responsibility to suitably fund public schools. This has been a trademark issue for former House Speaker Mike O'Neal who is now serving as President of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. They know that the Kansas NEA would launch a vigorous campaign against such an amendment and so the KNEA must be silenced.

Hiding behind comments such as "teachers are being forced to join the union" while knowing that in a right to work state such as Kansas no one can be compelled to join is just the way some legislators have of hiding the real disdain they have for anyone who would dare to challenge them.

Unfortunately this kind of un-American activity, this suppression of democracy, has become all too common and with the import of Washington, DC style politics to the once decent and respectful political world of Kansas we should expect to see more of this behavior.

But you must not take this assault on your rights and your voice as a Kansan and an American sitting down. You can fight back. You can start by signing this online petition: It will go to your senator as well as Governor Brownback.

Then, email your representative and tell him/her to respect your rights and the rights of all Kansans by voting NO on HB 2023. Find an email link to your legislator by going here:

Finally, leave a phone message for your representative. Find their capitol phone number by going here:

Petition - email - phone message. Take time to do all three.

Here are a few message ideas you might consider:

·       House Bill 2023 is both unfair and unconstitutional.

·       Singling out teachers and denying them an opportunity to have their voice heard in the political process is wrong.

·       A democracy depends on a free exchange of ideas; it thrives on debate. HB 2023 tells teachers that they have no voice in the debate.

·       This bill puts no restrictions on the ability of other outside groups and corporate interests in the political realm. HB 2023 ensures that there will never again be a level playing field in Kansas politics.

·       Individuals in Kansas are free to join or not join unions - we are a right to work state. No one is coerced into supporting any union's political agenda. But this bill says teachers cannot voluntarily pool their own money to make their voice heard.

·       HB 2023 is mean-spirited, unfair, and runs counter to the values we hold dear as Americans.

·       I urge you to reject this bill and stand up for the right of all Kansas citizens to have a voice.

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