By @Aaron Avery
Senate Bill 399 (Wahab), which could have interrupted the proper functioning of special districts and other local governments, has been made a “two-year bill” and will not be taken up again by the State Legislature before 2024.
CSDA is the co-leader of the local government coalition opposed to the bill. CSDA’s most recent coalition letter can be viewed here.
SB 399 would prohibit an employer from taking adverse action against an employee who declines to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or affirmatively declines to participate in, receive, or listen to any communications with the employer, the purpose of which is to communicate the employer’s opinion about political matters or religious matters. The bill defines political matters as matters relating to elections for political office, political parties, legislation, regulation, and the decision to join or support any political party or political or labor organization.
CSDA opposed the bill because local government employees are already protected from anti-union activities, and local government employers engage in many other routine activities which could be political matters as defined in the bill. If enacted, SB 399 could lead to litigation and disputes, and interfere with government operations.
CSDA worked with its coalition partners to oppose the bill while offering potential amendments to mitigate the bill’s most significant impacts on local governments in connection with legislation and regulations. CSDA will remain engaged with the author and coalition on future efforts to advance this bill or similar legislation.