Police Officers Pissed Off About SB-830

Senate Bill 830 is one of those horribly-written pieces of legislation so hung up on maintaining its own official-soundingness that it takes two or three read-throughs to figure out what the damned thing means. Read it here, and be amazed at your own capacity for boredom and bemusement.

Police officers have read it, though, and they don't like it. Basically, what it says is that a public employee can have her employer deduct money from her paycheck for any cause she likes -- Amnesty International, Salvation Army, whatevs -- so long as that cause is not political, and so long as it isn't a union.

This doesn't mean public employees can't have unions. It just means they'll have to go through the trouble of submitting their own dues.

Locally, it's been the Fort Lauderdale police who've made the biggest stink about the bill. The stink is warranted, at least in some ways. For example: Our politicians' time is very valuable, and it's plainly wasteful to devote any time at all to figuring out what our public employees can and cannot do with their paychecks. The bill's only purpose is to slim the union rolls, which it does by relying upon basic human forgetfulness. Most folks are more inclined to do a thing if it's convenient; Sen. Thrasher, the bill's author, is banking that a fair number of public employees will quit the unions, or simply fail to pay their dues, if they must consciously, actively allocate portions of their paychecks to retain membership. This is sneaky.

That said, the above propaganda video from the Fort Lauderdale Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police is plainly overwrought. Bitch about government overreach if you will, fellows, but if you're nearly as bad at retaining membership as you are at producing commercials, you're probably in trouble.

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Brandon K. Thorp