A measure that would bar labor unions from automatically deducting dues from state employee paychecks narrowly cleared the Senate budget panel Thursday. #
The 20-member panel cleared the measure by an 11-9 vote. Three Republicans — Anitere Flores, Mike Fasano and Thad Altman —joined the panel’s six Democrats opposing the measure. Another moderate Republican, Evelyn Lynn of Daytona Beach, was not present for the vote. #
Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner of Orlando, who does not normally sit on the panel, voted in favor of the measure. As explained by the Florida Tribune, legislative rules allow the Senate president to assign either Gardiner or Senate Pro Tempore Mike Bennett to vote on any committee. #
The measure drew support from business groups and Marianne Moran of Tea Party in Action. Dozens of union members, from firefighters to teachers, showed up to oppose the measure, which they said would dampen their voice in the political process. They were joined by Michael Ryan, mayor of the city of Sunrise, who said the city doesn’t need lawmakers’ help reaching agreements with its unions. #
“We didn’t ask for this,” he said, adding: “Why are you doing this?” #
In an effort to adhere to guidelines limiting the number of students allowed per public school classroom, 54 Miami-Dade schools are turning to virtual classroom technology in an era of massive cutbacks and teacher layoffs.