Education A State Capitals Roundup

Court Overturns Utah Law Limiting Union Fund Raising

By Michelle R. Davis — May 09, 2006 1 min read

A U.S. District Court judge struck down a Utah law last week that had limited the ability of the Utah affiliate of the National Education Association to raise money for its political action fund.

In 2001, Utah lawmakers adopted the Voluntary Contribution Act, which made it unlawful for any public employer to grant an employee’s request to make voluntary contributions through payroll deductions to political funds sponsored by labor organizations.

The Utah Education Association, along with other labor groups, sued the Utah attorney general’s office, claiming the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell ruled May 3 that the law was a restriction of free speech and was unconstitutional.

Michael T. McCoy, the general counsel for the UEA, said that after the law went into effect, contributions to the UEA political action committee decreased substantially.

Chris Bleak, the chief of staff for Utah House Speaker Greg J. Curtis, a Republican, said the ruling was likely to be appealed.

A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2006 edition of Education Week