MACo Concerned about Limits on Local Officials’ Speech

MACo Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, testified in opposition to House Bill 507, Community Colleges and Local Governments – Use of Public Funds to Influence Collective Bargaining Rights – Prohibition,”  before the House Appropriations Committee on February 14, 2017.

This bill would prohibit public officials and employees of a local government, as well as of a community college, from using public funds to influence employees in supporting or opposing an employee organization.

From MACo testimony:

Local government officials serve at the pleasure of their constituents. MACo believes that a free and open dialogue between local representatives and the communities they serve is a key cornerstone of good local governance. HB 507, while well intentioned, could undermine this communication structure, and create a cloud of uncertainty over a wide range of actions when public officials discuss labor-related matters.

MACo testified that it had no objections with efforts to prevent the use of public funds for the willful interference into employees’ labor rights, or to coerce employees to make decisions concerning collective bargaining rights. The bill as drafted, however, is overbroad and has unintended consequences. 

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

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