State employee organizations wouldn’t be allowed to use payroll deductions for their membership dues under a bill that passed the N.C. Senate Wednesday.
Senate Bill 375 would repeal a law allowing 13 workers’ groups to set up a payroll deduction system for members who choose that method to pay their dues. The groups include the N.C. Association of Educators, a state troopers’ group and the State Employees Association of North Carolina, or SEANC.
“This is not a role of state government,” said Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican and the bill’s sponsor. “It is not our job to give a private organization access to the payroll accounts of all state employees.”
Hise has been a frequent critic of SEANC. He sought unsuccessfully to pass similar legislation two years ago after he was a top target of SEANC’s political action committee in a Republican primary, with the group spending heavily to support Hise’s GOP challenger.
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Democrats opposed the change, arguing that the payroll deduction is a convenient service for state employees who join the organizations voluntarily.
“This was a valuable service to me,” said Sen. Joyce Waddell, a Charlotte Democrat and former state employee. “I didn’t have to write a check for my dues; it was automatically deducted.”
But Hise argued that the process involved in canceling a payroll deduction might make employees reluctant to end their membership.
“They now have to go to their peer state employees and tell them they no longer need to be a part of the organization that (the co-worker) may be a member of,” he said.
SEANC lobbyist Ardis Watkins criticized the bill. “We still believe the House will realize this bill is unnecessary,” she said in an email after the bill passed the Senate. “Whatever the outcome, SEANC isn't going anywhere. SEANC enjoys great relationships on both sides of the aisle, and we think legislators would prefer working with us to national groups that would come in in a heartbeat should we ever not be here.”
The bill now goes to the House.