Law ending dues withdrawals for educators to start

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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A law ending the practice of having professional organization dues directly withdrawn from K-12 educator paychecks in Tennessee will be allowed to go into effect.

A three-judge panel issued an order allowing the law to go into effect, stating the Tennessee Education Association was unlikely to succeed in the lawsuit, and ending a temporary injunction against the law.

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The TEA had argued the new law violates a single-subject requirement for bills, the details weren’t included in the bill’s caption and doesn’t disclose the bill repeals the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act, the state’s negotiation law.

“We hold that the Plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of either claim,” the judges wrote in the order. “The Act does not impermissibly embrace more than one subject, and its caption fairly describes its contents. The Act also does not repeal PECCA’s requirement that payroll deductions be discussed as part of the collaborative conferencing process.”

The judges acknowledged the new law would cause the TEA headaches and some members would not enroll in an alternative payment method on time or might choose to not enroll at all.

“These are valid concerns,” the order states. “However, we cannot say that these concerns rise to the level of a ‘substantial impairment’ under established precedent that constitutes a Contract Clause violation.”

The law also included a minimum teacher pay increase incrementally from the current $40,000 to $50,000 for the 2026-27 school year by bumping the minimum to $42,000 in the fall, $44,500 the next year and continuing to rise.