( – promoted by –Blue Girl)

If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in Jefferson City, it is possible that you’ve never heard of “paycheck deception,” or “paycheck protection” as proponents like to call it. Paycheck deception bills are unfair and often unconstitutional legislative attacks on hardworking people – and a paycheck deception bill, SB29, was just passed in Missouri. The bill would make it far more difficult for snow plow drivers, caregivers at veterans’ homes, social workers, teachers, nurses and other hardworking public workers to have a voice on the job and in politics.

While disappointing that such a bill passed this week – with only a few days remaining in the legislative session – there are some bright spots. The bill barely passed the Missouri House, and there was strong bipartisan opposition in the House. Many of our local representatives stood up to extremists in the House and chose to vote with their constituents over special interest groups.

These comments from local faith leaders are worth reading and sharing, highlighting several of the many courageous state representatives who did the right thing even when it was tough to do so.

“When disasters hit our communities, we can count on public workers to work through the storm– just like they work for us every day. Despite being the lowest paid state workers in the country, public employees work around the clock to protect and teach children, care for ailing veterans and plow our streets. While today’s vote on SB29 – paycheck deception – was disappointing, Reps. Myron Neth and Noel Torpey did the right thing today by voting NO to this attack on the middle class.”  The Rev. Susan McCann at Grace Episcopal Church in Liberty, MO

“At a time when knee-jerk political stances of national parties often take precedence over the actual substance of legislation, I’d like to thank Rep. Chris Molendorp for standing up to oppose SB 29 and its efforts to restrict the rights of workers to organize themselves.  As a pastor, I am constantly impressed by the often unsung work done by often underpaid public employees, and am saddened that there are those in Jefferson City who seek to curtail their ability to engage in the political process by creating obstacles that no other organizations are required to deal with. I am grateful that Rep. Molendorp stood up against those in his own party over this issue.”

Reverend Peter Rehwaldt, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Belton, MO

Thank you Reverend McCann and Reverand Rehwaldt for speaking up for hardworking families in our community. Both faith leaders are part of Missouri Jobs with Justice, a coalition of faith, community, student and labor groups. Many JwJ members have been meeting with local elected officials, writing letters and making phone calls to try and stop this bill from becoming law. I’m hopeful that this unfair legislation will never become law, but hope you will join me in thanking the Republicans and Democrats in our area who tried to stop this bill from reaching his desk.

 – A.J. Villegas lives in Pleasant Hill, Missouri and is Staff Representative with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).