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10th Circuit OKs political payroll deductions

By The Associated Press
01.14.08

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal appeals court overturned a Utah law that stopped the automatic collection of public employees’ payroll contributions for political activity.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, ruling in Utah Education Association v. Shurtleff, said the law enacted in 2001 by the Utah Legislature was unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel upheld a ruling from U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell in Salt Lake City.

The Legislature passed the law to stop voluntary payroll deductions from being collected for political activity by government-employee unions. Only membership dues could be collected by payroll deduction.

The Jan. 10 ruling gives school districts, counties and municipalities the ability to renew payroll deductions for political fundraising by unions, Utah Assistant Attorney General Nancy Kemp said.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will decide whether to appeal the decision after speaking to state legislators, she said.

Utah could ask the full appeals court to review the case or file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, she said.

The 10th Circuit panel held that Utah’s so-called “paycheck protection” law violates the First Amendment because it “burdens political speech.”


Previous
Utah law barring political payroll deductions overturned
Federal judge finds Voluntary Contributions Act serves no compelling state interest, violates government employees' freedom of speech. 05.05.06

Related

Idaho unions can keep political payroll deductions

9th Circuit panel affirms lower court ruling that 2003 law violates free-speech rights of teachers and their unions. 10.08.07

Justices step into dispute over union's use of nonmembers' dues
High court agrees to decide whether fees paid by non-union workers in Maine can be used to finance labor organization's court battles in other states. 02.19.08

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