by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Lindsay Killen writes for Real Clear Policy about statehouses offering good news to workers.
As the 2023 legislative sessions began across the country, state leaders jockeyed in competitive fashion to address some of the most pressing issues on the minds of voters – made clear by results we saw at the November 2022 ballot. Governor Ron DeSantis won reelection with historic margins. … Early in his second term, he announced that Florida would lead the nation in protecting the paychecks of public employees – especially teachers – a bill that he’ll likely sign into law in the coming days. However, as the proposal moved through the legislature, other states took note and acted, resulting in 2023 becoming the biggest year for the expansion of worker freedom at the state level in decades.
On April 26, Florida’s House passed paycheck protection legislation with Gov. DeSantis’s backing, which will impact nearly 300,000 employees in the Sunshine State. Once signed into law, these employees shall expect:
*A notice sent regularly about their right to abstain or withdraw from union membership without penalty or fee – a right affirmed in 2018 by the United States Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME
*Information on the cost of union dues
*An end to government’s role in deducting union dues automatically from employee paychecks (except for public safety employees)
*A requirement that unions obtain a minimum 60% membership rate to avoid triggering an election, which would allow public employees a vote on whether that union, a different union, or any union represents them in the workplace. The state will also have more oversight and accountability over ensuring that the unions are accurately reporting their numbers
*A requirement that public unions submit annual audits performed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Other states have embraced some of the same spirit with proposals of their own, with some states even passing reforms before the paycheck protection bill passed the legislature in Florida.