Opinion

Sen. Hise engages in petty payback against state employee associations

This editorial appeared in The News & Observer

Ah, yes, if the General Assembly is in session, then it’s time once again for Sen. Ralph Hise of Mitchell County to go after state employees’ organizations. The Republican senator doesn’t like those organizations, teachers’ groups and the larger state employees’ association, SEANC, in particular, because they’ve criticized Republicans. He was in fact a target of SEANC in his own primary a few years back, when the group contributed to his challenger.

So he’s got a bill in to make thing tougher for the groups by not allowing state employees to use payroll deduction for their dues.

It’s fair for Hise to not like SEANC. But it’s not fair for him to use his elected position to gain political revenge. This is petty stuff. And it’s an echo of 2012, when Republicans passed a law preventing the North Carolina Association of Educators from getting payroll deductions for dues. That law was declared unconstitutional.

Yes, these associations have supported a lot of Democratic candidates. And state employees’ groups take a risk when they get deeply involved in politics. There’s always a chance that a group on the losing side is going to be targeted by a spurned but victorious candidate.

That’s what this maneuver is all about, and Hise ought to have better things to do than to offer up some payback for those he perceives as his political enemies. And he’s likely just setting up another court fight that will be a waste of everyone’s money, including the taxpayers. Hise needs to let his cause (the bill passed the state Senate) and his anger, go.

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