Panel Endorses Union Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A Kansas House committee has endorsed legislation to restrict political fundraising by public employee unions.

The measure would prohibit groups representing teachers and government workers from automatically deducting money from members’ paychecks to finance political activities.

Thursday’s 10-5 vote by the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee sent the bill to the full House for debate, possibly next week.

The committee’s action came a day after a Kansas Chamber of Commerce lobbyist caused a stir by telling lawmakers he wanted the bill to pass so the state, in his words, could “get rid of public sector unions.”

The lobbyist, Eric Stafford, said later he became frustrated while being questioned and said the real goal is to protect workers from being forced to finance causes they don’t support.