State employees’ payroll deductions to fund PACs

The Michigan Civil Service Commission voted 3-1 in December to allow state workers to have political donations deducted from their paychecks, despite warnings from the attorney general’s office that the commission lacks the authority to grant that right.

M. Scott Bowen, director of the Office of the State Employer, said unions requested the change during contract talks.

Bob LaBrant of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce said the commission should wait to decide the issue until the Michigan Court of Appeals rules on a lower court decision allowing Michigan Education Association members to deduct union political action committee (PAC) donations from their checks.

Unions have tried to win payroll deductions for union-supported political causes through the state Legislature. Their bill passed the House, but is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.