Florida Republicans are once again going after teachers unions

Rich Templin, a lobbyist for the Florida AFL-CIO, called the bill “nothing but an attack on people we have been calling heroes for a year.”

After teachers and union officials lined up to oppose the bill, a Senate committee Wednesday approved a proposal that would place a series of new restrictions on education unions.

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 3-2 to approve the measure (SB 1014), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.

The bill, in part, would prevent school boards from deducting union dues from teacher paychecks. That change in longstanding practice would lead to teachers having to directly pay dues to their unions.

“This is basically what is known as paycheck protection,” Baxley said.

But educators and union leaders from across the state testified against the bill, with some pointing to the role that teachers have played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rich Templin, a lobbyist for the Florida AFL-CIO, called the bill “nothing but an attack on people we have been calling heroes for a year.” The bill would not apply to other types of public unions, such as unions that represent law-enforcement officers, firefighters and rank-and-file state workers.

The measure was supported by three Republican senators who were present for the meeting and was opposed by two Democrats.

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