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Ban on TEA Using Dues for Lobbying May Be Reconsidered (turns out another group is impacted)

By Erik Schelzig
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Republican sponsor of a bill targeting the influence of the state’s largest teachers’ union says he is willing to revisit an element of the measure that prevents payroll deductions to be used to fund lobbying efforts at the Tennessee Capitol.
Under the bill signed into law this month by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, teachers’ professional organizations will no longer be allowed to use the payroll deductions for political purposes ranging from political contributions to lobbying and polling.
The provision is part of a measure replacing teachers’ collective bargaining rights with a concept called “collaborative conferencing.”
The Tennessee Education Association represents 52,000 educators and has long been a heavy contributor to Democratic candidates.
The measure also affects the smaller rival Professional Educators of Tennessee, which has been more supportive of other parts of the Republican bill. PET executive director J.C. Bowman said he agrees with the law’s ban on political contributions but not on the lobbying prohibition.

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