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Limiting Educators’ Freedoms, HB 1197

What the Bill Does

  • HB 1197 (full text) eliminates educators’ freedom to have union dues deducted from their paycheck.
  • Educators currently have the right to have payments for many items such as health insurance, life insurance, gym membership, union dues and much more deducted directly from their paychecks. In some counties, there are more than 500 options available to educators for payroll deductions, and this bill attacks just one of them – the right to pay union dues in the manner of the educator’s choosing.
  • The provisions of HB 1197 apply to all public sector unions except for those representing police, firefighters and corrections officers.
  • A non-partisan analysis of HB 1197 shows the bill will cost taxpayers almost $824,815 because additional staff will need to be hired to deal with increased paperwork at the Public Employees Relations Commission. 

What’s Next

  • HB 1197 has passed on the House floor. With just a week left in the session, HB 1197 has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee despite the senate companion to the bill not being heard in a single committee.

Talking Points

  • Students deserve fully staffed schools with small classroom sizes so they can receive the individual attention they need. HB 1197 will only make the teacher and staff shortage worse, meaning students will be the ones who suffer. 
  • HB 1197 limits your freedom to join with your fellow educators to advocate for your working conditions and for the needs of the students you serve. 
  • Bills with far-reaching consequences such as this should be given the necessary time to be fully vetted. The Senate companion to HB 1197 was not heard in a single committee. Passing policy in this manner weakens the institution of the Florida Senate. 
  • Educators in Florida remain among the worst paid in the nation, while our state is one of the wealthiest states. Legislators’ focus should be on increasing the salaries of educators to help strengthen our schools instead of finding additional ways to burden them with paperwork and bureaucracy like these bills do.  
  • This bill is pushed by out-of-state corporations that don’t have the best interest of Florida’s students or educators in mind. Florida’s legislators should be focused on making our schools the strongest in the nation instead of carrying water for out-of-state interests. 
  • It’s time for legislators to listen to educators and give them the support they need instead of continuing to offer solutions to problems that simply don’t exist. 
  • Educators and other public workers have gone above and beyond to ensure their students’ needs are met during the course of the pandemic. It is shameful that in return for their dedication they are facing divisive attacks from lawmakers. 
  • The bill analysis shows HB 1197 will cost Floridians more than $800,000 because of the additional staff that will need to be hired at the Public Employees Relations Commission. Your focus should be on the teacher and staff shortage, not creating bureaucracy to shuffle paperwork as this bill will do.

Visit the FEA Voter Toolkit

The November 8 General Election is just around the corner and education will be a central issue during this critical election season. The FEA Voter Toolkit has election resources and endorsed candidates for local school Boards, the Florida House and Florida Senate, and Governor.

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