Yesterday Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner temporarily agreed to block implementation of a new law to end the state’s collection of dues by members of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). The law (SB 727) was approved early Thursday morning when Republicans and two Democrats voted to override Gov. Perdue’s veto. (See news story and court order).
The NCAE complaint charges that the law is unconstitutional because the legislature was not authorized to vote on legislation other than the Racial Justice Act. It also charges that “injury to the NCAE and its members would not only be enormous, but unrecoverable.”
Hard to believe, I know.
The speed at which the injunction was granted (the law was passed early Friday morning) is certainly interesting. Getting an injunction on the first full business day after a law is passed should make NCAE supporters and Democrats happy.
A check of voter registration records at the State Board of Elections reveals Paul Gessner is listed as a Registered Democrat.
Much as the Democrats find the late-night legislative session sleazy and sneaky, the real question is: is it legal? I agree with Jeanette Doran Institute for Constitutional Law regarding the legality of the vote. It’s funny; you wonder where all the howlers were in 2005 when the absence of two Republican senators prompted Democrats to call the Senate back in session to approve education lottery legislation.
The NCAE complaint charges that ending the dues check off for NCAE employees infringes on its members rights of free expression and association. The law would result in creating speech for some groups (i.e., State Employees Association of North Carolina) and restricting it for others. According to the complaint, the law singles out NCAE and places its’ members at disadvantage. .
For an organization that has spent years securing special treatment for its members, it is certainly a curious argument to make. In 2002 when the NCAE dues check off legislation was passed, the wording was such that the only organization that qualified for dues check off was NCAE. Now NCAE wants to say they’ve been singled out? I guess the singled out card is only played when it works against you. In the interests of full disclosure, I find myself in part agreeing with NCAE. I supported a ban on all dues check off provisions. There simply is no compelling argument why the state should provide services to private entities. However an amendment to expand the provisions to all organizations failed during the floor debate.
Lastly, the NCAE complaint also alleges that the law is discriminatory, drives certain viewpoints from the marketplace and creates a disfavored status among employee association. Alleging that the law creates a disfavored status for NCAE is a curious argument for an organization to make, one that has spent years creating a favored employee association status.
Since NCAE is so concerned with non-discrimination if that means the organization would come out in support of SB 755. The bill titled Educational Employees Association Equal Access Act, – already passed by the Senate – does essentially what its’ title says. It levels the playing field for all educational associations. Currently NCAE enjoys a “favored status” among employee associations. NCAE enjoys physical access to employees’ physical or electronic mailboxes. NCAE members are also allowed to attend new teacher or employee orientations to recruit members and enjoy preferential treatment with regard to policies and procedures. SB 755 is intended to end NCAE’s preferential status among educational associations.
Of course a few eye brows were raised on both sides when it was learned Bob Orr, formerly of the North Carolina Center for Constitutional Law was representing NCAE. As you might expect it didn’t take long for bloggers on the left to start changing their views on Orr.
Read more on why dues check off legislation should be enacted.