Voluntary Contributions (Paycheck Protection) Act

Voluntary Contributions (Paycheck Protection) Act

Summary

The Voluntary Contributions Act requires labor organizations that engage in political activities to keep a segregated fund for political contributions. It further specifies that contributions to that fund will be on a voluntary basis and the contribution shall be made directly by the donor. In addition, the Act prohibits payroll withholding of funds to be used for political purposes.

Note: This model is adapted from Idaho House Bill 329, enacted, and signed into law in 2003.

Model Policy

Section 1. {Title}   This Act shall be known as the “Voluntary Contributions Act.”

Section 2. {Definitions} As used in this Act, the following terms have the following meanings:

(A). “Ballot proposition” includes initiatives, referenda, proposed constitutional amendments, and any other items submitted to the voters for their approval or rejection.

(B). “Filing entity” means a candidate, officeholder, political committee, political party, and each other entity required to report contributions under [insert reference to applicable state law]

(C). “Fund” means the separate segregated fund established by a labor organization for political purposes according to the procedures and requirements of this Act.

(D). 1. “Labor organization” means any association or organization of employees, and any agency, employee representation committee, or plan in which employees participate that exists, in whole or in part, to advocate on behalf of employees about grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours or condition of employment.

2. Except as provided in (D)(1) of this section, “labor organization” includes each employee association and union for employees of public and private sector employers.

3. “Labor organization” does not include organizations governed by the national labor relations act, 29 U.S.C. section 151, et. seq. or the railway labor act, 45 U.S.C. section 151, et. seq.

(E). “Political activities” means electoral activities, independent expenditures, or expenditures made to any candidate, political party, political action committee, voter registration campaign, or any other political or legislative cause, including ballot propositions.

(F). “Union dues” means dues, fees, or other moneys required as a condition of membership in a labor organization.

Section 3. {Limits on Labor Organization Contributions}

(A). 1. A labor organization may only make expenditures for political activities if the labor organization establishes a separate, segregated fund that meets the requirements of this Act.

2. A labor organization shall ensure that:

i. In soliciting contributions for the fund, the solicitor discloses, in clear and unambiguous language on the face of the solicitation, that contributions are voluntary and that the fund is a political fund and will be expended for political activities;

ii. Union dues are not used for political activities, transferred to the fund, or intermingled in any way with fund moneys;

iii. The cost of administering the fund is paid from fund contributions and not from union dues; and

iv. Each contribution is voluntary and shall be made by the member and may not come from or be remitted by the employer of the member.

(B). At the time the labor organization is soliciting contributions for the fund from an employee, the labor organization shall:

1. Affirmatively inform the employee, orally or in writing, of the fund’s political purpose; and

2. Affirmatively inform the employee, orally or in writing, of the employee’s right to refuse to contribute without fear of reprisal or loss of membership in the labor organization.

(C). The labor organization has the burden of proof to establish that the requirements of (A)(2) and (B) of this section are met.

(D). Notwithstanding the requirements of (A)(2)(ii) of this section, a labor organization may use union dues to communicate directly with its own members about political candidates, ballot propositions, and other political issues.

Section 4. {Criminal Acts, Penalties}

(A). 1. It is unlawful for a labor organization to make expenditures for political activities by using contributions:

i. Secured by physical force or threat of force, job discrimination or threat of job discrimination, membership discrimination or threat of membership discrimination, or economic reprisals or threat of economic reprisals; or

ii. [if necessary, insert the following:] From union dues except as provided in [insert reference to applicable state law].

2. When a labor organization is soliciting contributions for a fund from an employee, it is unlawful for a labor organization to fail to:

i. Affirmatively inform the employee orally or in writing of the fund’s political purpose; and

ii. Affirmatively inform the employee orally or in writing of the employee’s right to refuse to contribute without fear of reprisal or loss of membership in the labor organization.

3. It is unlawful for a labor organization to pay a member for contributing to the fund by providing a bonus, expense account, rebate of union dues, or by any other form of direct or indirect compensation.

(B). Any person or entity violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 5. {Registration, Disclosure} Each fund established by a labor organization under this Act shall:

(A). Register as a political committee as required by [insert reference to applicable state law].

(B). File the financial reports for political committees required by [insert reference to applicable state law].

Section 6. {Prospective Application} The provisions of this Act shall apply to all contracts entered into after the effective date of this Act, and shall apply to any renewal of existing contract.

Section 7. {Severability}

Section 8. {Repealer Clause}

Section 9. {Effective Date}

 Approved by ALEC Board of Directors on May 2004.

Reapproved by ALEC Board of Directors on January 28, 2013.

Keyword Tags: Commerce Insurance and Economic Development Task Force, Worker Freedom