BREAKING NEWS UPDATE ON SB 13:
The Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to SB 13 on March 29, 2017, after adopting one amendment that addressing one of several concerns raised by CLEAT. Specifically that the bill failed to exempt officers employed by school districts.
However, the Senate voted 20-11, against an amendment by Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), that would have absolutely excluded all law enforcement employees licensed by TCOLE. This CLEAT supported amendment was rejected in a party line vote when it was opposed by the bill author, Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston).
CLEAT was the only statewide law enforcement group in the gallery during the Senate debate and was the only group actively opposing the bill because it still affects some law enforcement officers and employees. The bill fails to define “law enforcement capacity” and could be used to exclude CLEAT members who are not actually performing a “law enforcement” function even though they are licensed. The bill also fails to exclude municipal peace officers who are not members of the police department. The bill will be considered in the Senate again on March 30, 2017, and if approved, will move to the Texas House for consideration.
SB13 is meant to be an attack against unions and union dues, but all police and law enforcement associations fall under the definition of labor organization, so it includes law enforcement officers unless specifically excluded.
We were told that law enforcement would not be subject to the prohibition, but hidden in the bill reported by the State Affairs committee was repeal of a section of the Education Code that allows payroll deduction for all school district employees (teachers).
There was no exception for law enforcement even though we were told there was.
So this bill will stop all payroll deductions for association dues or LEGAL DEFENSE for those officers employed by school districts and we believe universities as well. We were the only statewide law enforcement organization to testify AGAINST SB 13. And we have been the only law enforcement organization actively opposing it because we are concerned that other amendments will be offered to include everyone, so beware.
Call your State Senator and ask them to OPPOSE SB 13.