State Rep. Leo Berman called Empower Texans today with great news: Texas’ Attorney General, Greg Abbott, has issued an opinion today preventing school districts from diverting pay checks into political action committees. This is great news for conservatives in Texas. Berman says the ruling could reduce funding to the political arms of the Texas State Teachers Association and National Education Agency – hardly friends to conservative causes – by millions of dollars.
In Texas, an Attorney General Opinion stands as an official interpretation of a law unless overridden by the Legislature or a court decision.
In this instance, General Abbott is said to have indicated that school districts overstepped their authority by making payroll deductions for political activities, without express authorization from the Legislature.
For years, school districts have processed payroll deductions funding union… er, associations (we don’t have “unions” in Texas)… dues, including contributions to related political action committees.
Rep. Berman (R-Tyler) pushed for the opinion through state Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands), who has authority to make the request as chairman of the House Committee on Public Education. Rep. Berman was obviously pleased with the decision.
Apparently recognizing the futility of a court fight, a lobbyist for one of the “teacher” groups has told political gossip newsletter Quorum Report they plan to push the Legislature to require school districts to process political contributions. (Sounds like an unfunded mandate…)
It will be interesting to see who lines up to back such an effort, and how much funding they will have received from these groups.