Elections, Union Dues Bills Postponed

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Tallahassee, FL - A key Senate committee Tuesday postponed consideration of heavily debated bills that would place additional restrictions on voting by mail and public-employee union dues.

Senate Rules Chairwoman Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, announced at the beginning of a meeting of her committee that the bills would be postponed. The elections bill (SB 90), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, would require voters to request mail-in ballots more frequently, ban the use of drop boxes for voters to turn in ballots and allow only “immediate” family members to collect and deliver ballots to and from voters.

While supporters have said the bill is needed to bolster ballot security, opponents have argued it is an attempt at voter suppression. The union-dues bill (SB 78), sponsored by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, would include adding a step in which government employers would have to confirm with workers that they want dues taken out of their pay before the deductions could start. Currently, union bargaining agents can submit written requests to begin deductions.

Also, the bill would require deductions to be reauthorized when new collective bargaining agreements are reached or after three years, whichever happens first. Supporters say it would ensure that workers are authorizing union dues to be taken out of their paychecks, but union officials contend it is aimed at “union busting.”

Passidomo did not explain the postponements, but the Rules Committee is scheduled to meet again April 14.

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