The fight over unions using members' dues to fund political spending is headed back to the ballot next year.
A proposed initiative to block unions and corporations from using automatic payroll deductions for political purposes has made the cut to go in front of voters next November, the secretary of state announced today.. The measure, backed by GOP groups, also bans labor unions, corporations and, in some cases, contractors doing business with state government, from making contributions to candidate-controlled committees.
Proponents of the measure reported spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to collect more than 900,000 voter signatures in support of the proposal. The office of Secretary of State Debra Bowen said today said that a validity check conducted by county election officials projected that at least 630,000 of those were valid -- well over the 504,760 voter signatures needed to secure a spot on the ballot.
Supporters say the changes will help curb the influence of special interest money in the political process. Labor unions, which are expected to mount a major and well-funded opposition campaign to the initiative, say it is nothing more than an effort to strip them of their political power.
The last time a so-called "paycheck protection" measure was on the ballot was in 2005, when voters rejected a proposal backed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Proponents had initially sought to qualify their initiative for the June primary. But that timing was affected by a new law that limits future initiatives and referendums to the November general election. The payroll deduction measure was the primary target of Senate Bill 202, the labor-backed measure introduced and approved by Democratic lawmakers in the final days of the legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October.
Click here to read the full initiative text.