Gov. Jay Nixon today signed into law several bills, and vetoed Senate Bill 29, which supporters call “paycheck protection” and opponents call “paycheck deception.” The bill would have prevented labor unions from using member dues for political contributions. The bill has been a priority for groups such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce over the past two years, and has been heavily contested by union groups.

The AFL-CIO has issued a statement in a press release praising the governor’s veto.

“With today’s veto, Governor Nixon stood up for the basic rights of Missouri’s everyday heroes – the people who work every day to keep our state working,” says Hugh McVey, Missouri AFL-CIO president. “Nurses, teachers, police officers and countless other middle class Missourians would have lost their voice on the job if this unfair and dangerous paycheck deception bill were to become law,” adding that Nixon joins the “legislators in both parties who sided with working people despite pressure from out-of-state special interest groups.”

McVey says the bill would reward CEOs who only care about corporate profits and ship Missouri jobs overseas at the expense of Missouri workers.

Other union members say the bill is purely politically motivated, and would impede their rights as workers. Faith leaders have said it would make it tougher for teachers to advocate for their need in educating children.

Fr. Steve Robeson of St. John’s Catholic Church in Imperial states that he wants to recognize the “dedicated bipartisans opposition from Jefferson Coounty that voted values instead of partisan politics on this unfair legislation. “My blessings to the Jefferson County delegation including Republican Representatives John McCaherty and Paul Weiland, and Democratic Representatives Michael Frame and Jeff Roorda for voting their values and making the working families of Jefferson County a priority today.”

Rev. Tamsen Whisler of Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Charles echoes that sentiment, saying teachers at his school are the everyday heroes in our communities. He praises Rep. Anne Zerr for opposing the measure.

“As a faith leader, I applaud that she stood up for what’s right over partisan politics, even though it wasn’t easy,” he says.

Rev. Susan McCann at Grace Episcopal Church in Liberty calls the measure an attack on the middle class.

Nixon says he disapproves of the measure because “it targets a single group of employees and imposes on them an unnecessary and cumbersome process.”

Chamber President Dan Mehan responds to the veto by saying the measure would not impede rights, but would rather protect employees’ paychecks from deductions by unions to fund political candidates and campaigns for which they do not support.

“Using employees’ money for politicians or issues that they do not support goes against the very tenants this country was built upon,” Mehan says.  “Employees have a right to say what is taken out of their paychecks for political campaigns; just like each year employees have the option to choose how much is withdrawn to go to organizations like United Way or how much money is taken out of their paychecks for their Cafeteria or 401(k) plans. The legislation doesn’t keep an employee from making a contribution, but it gives that employee the choice.”

Nixon agrees with the Chamber that “There are a number of items that employees may elect to have withheld from their paychecks, including money for college savings accounts, deferred compensation, and 401(k) plans,” Nixon says. “In any of these instances, the withholdings are based on one-time authorizations that the employee clearly has the authority to revoke at any time…. But under this bill, public employees who are members of unions would be required to complete two separate written authorization each year. Singling out union dues for these extra processes serves no beneficial purpose” and instead “places unnecessary burdens on public employees for the purpose of weakening labor organizations.”

Read his full veto message HERE.

Nixon also signed several bills into law today. They are:

The Governor signed:

House Bill 307, which, among other provisions, sets forth the conditions necessary for a city to remove a non-elected police chief.

Senate Bill 47, which is designed to help more neglected and abused children move out of foster care by allowing specified relatives and close non-related guardians to receive the same adoption subsidies offered to adoptive parents.

Senate Bill 159, which limits co-pays for prescribed physical therapy treatment to not more than what is charged for a visit to a primary care physician.

Senate Bill 229, which clarifies the criminal offenses that disqualify a person from working at the Department of Mental Health.

Senate Bill 257, which clarifies and streamlines the process of establishing a Port Improvement District (PID) and eliminates a provision prohibiting the establishment of such districts in Clay County.

House Bill 58, which deals with requirements on vendors selling portable electronic insurance coverage.

House Bill 212, which changes the laws regarding secured transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code.

House Bill 498, which eliminates certain requirements for corporate dividends paid from paid-in surplus.