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In the "This Is Why We Hate Politicians" Department, Tennessee Legislator Buries Provision Ending Union Dues Checkoff in Bicycle Helmet Safety Bill

 In the "This Is Why We Hate Politicians" Department, Tennessee Legislator Buries Provision Ending Union Dues Checkoff in Bicycle Helmet Safety Bill

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by   Samuel Morris               Godwin Morris Laurenzi Bloomfield

50 N. Front St., Memphis TN  38103

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Todd Gardenhire's bicycle helmets bill rolls through TN Senate

January 25th, 2016by Andy Sher.

Todd Gardenhire

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

Inline image 1    

NASHVILLE -- A bill on bicycle helmets rolled out of the state Senate today with an amendment that rewrites the bill and to abolished teachers' payroll deductions for membership in the Tennessee Education Association.

Senators approved the bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, on a 21-9 vote.

"All this does is put everyone on an equal playing field," Gardenhire told colleagues.

Gardenhire's "Fair Access to Collection of Teacher Support Act" would bar employee dues check-offs by local school systems "for a professional employee organization, if any of that organization's funds are contributed in any way to another organization that engages in political activity."

The Tennessee Education Association, which represents thousands of K-12 educators, has operated a political action committee for decades. The automatic check off for the TEA dues are voluntary for the union's members.

Educators who aren't TEA members aren't affected by the dues checkoff provision. TEA officials charge Gardenhire's bill is aimed at specifically at the group.

Gardenhire maintained during debate it was not.

The bill originally urged the Department of Education to include information in a pilot bicycle safety program about "the proper use and positioning of bicycle helmets." But Gardenhire placed an amendment on it last week in committee that completely rewrote the bill to address the dues checkoff.

Gardenhire maintains the provision is unfair to other education groups that don't get similar treatment with some local education agencies saying their software on deductions is limited.

The bill now goes to the House where it is still in committee.


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50 N. Front St., Memphis TN  38103

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