- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A hotly debated bill barring voluntary payroll deductions of union dues from state employee paychecks is going to the full Texas Senate.

Republican Sen. Joan Huffman heads the powerful State Affairs Committee, which approved her proposal Thursday.

It doesn’t weaken union collective bargaining abilities like the much-watched proposal advancing in Iowa’s Legislature, or Wisconsin’s 2011 bill, which was approved amid sweeping protests.

Still, Texas labor groups bitterly oppose Huffman’s proposal. Even some Republicans have questioned its exemption of police and firefighter pay, as well as its singling out unions while still allowing payroll deductions for charities.

Huffman counters that business groups support her bill, though it only applies to public sector employees.

A similar measure cleared the Texas Senate last session, but died in House committee.

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