Now it seems that the Texas Legislature is poised to pass legislation that would exempt labor unions from political disclosure rules. Recently the Senate passed Senate Bill 346, which expands the definition of a 'political committee' and requires more activists to report contributions used for political purposes. The vagueness of the proposed law is leaving many lawyers scratching their heads about who will be covered. But one thing is certain, the law exempts labor unions.
From SB 346:
This subchapter does not apply to a labor organization or any subordinate entity or associated account of a labor organization.Translated from the original Greek, this means:
This subchapter does not apply to a labor organization or any subordinate entity or associated account of a labor organization.As campaign attorney Jerad Najvar points out in Lex Politico, this law would "favor labor unions over everybody else."
Interestingly enough, it seems that the bill may have been slipped through the Senate without being read, because the Senate has taken the unusual step of recalling the bill. (Concurrent resolution 33, April 17, 2013). The recall measure passed by 21-10, but came too late to stop the House from taking up the bill. SB 346 is currently listed as being in the House State Affairs Committee, and the House GOP still has an opportunity to amend.
In no way should any Republican be passing any law that exempts labor unions. While there are other serious concerns about unintended consequences, political transparency is a good thing. What is not good is giving labor unions special status.
Call your representative today and ask them to oppose SB 346 as written.
Who Represents Me?
UPDATE: My original wording left some readers confused about the current status of the bill. I have revised to make it clear that the bill is technically in the House State Affairs Committee.
No Labor Unions in Texas? Think Again...