LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new law in Arkansas is said to bring an end to automatic payroll deduction that teachers can take to pay their membership dues to unions or organizations.

It is called the Teacher Payroll Protection Act, and Governor Sarah Sanders signed it into law on Thursday.

The new law removes the option for educators to pay union or professional organization dues through payroll deduction. Instead, they will just have the option of paying on their own.

Senator Joshua Bryant sponsored the bill that is now law. He said this when he introduced the legislation in the Senate Education Committee meeting a few weeks ago:
“This bill does not keep any educator advocate from participating in any professional group, this bill also does not prevent or discourage any conversations happening between colleagues.”

Bryant added that the bill is to stop any potential fear or intimidation from happening in the workplace.

“If any organization or business feels that the loss of a payroll deduction service will undercut their ability to function, I would say that they need to get a better product for the people that are willing to pay for it,” Bryant said.

President of Arkansas Education Association, Carol Fleming said the law is singling out educators. She added that it has always been an optionfor teachers to join unions and pay dues, whether through payroll deduction or on their own.

She pointed to Arkansas Code as proof that they are the only ones being targeted through the law.

“There are 22 entities, 22 articles listed there, only article 18 – the ability for University professors to have their membership dues paid through payroll deduction – has been eliminated,” she said.

We reached out to Senator Bryant to see if there is any intent to remove this payroll deduction option for the other professions who can pay dues for unions and organizations. He said he is not planning to make any other changes to the Arkansas code at this time.

He said this is because he has not gotten any complaints about those employees facing intimidation or membership tactics, but he said he has heard this from teachers.

The spokesperson for Governor Sanders provided a statement regarding her signing the bill into law on Thursday.

“The Governor is always looking for ways to empower our teachers and our citizens and this allows teachers to decide for themselves,” the representative said. “If they want to join unions or associations free of coercion or strong arm tactics from the union bosses.”