Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs bill prohibiting public spending on union activities

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs bill prohibiting public spending on union activities  

On April 6, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed SB1166, prohibiting public-sector employers from spending public funds on a union’s political or lobbying activities. 

About the bill

Sen. Vince Leach (R) introduced SB1166 on Jan. 13, 2022. The bill states, “A public employer may not spend public monies for union activities.” Lawmakers wrote that the bill is intended to “restrict the use of public monies to public purposes and to prevent the diversion of public monies and public employees to private purposes.” 

The bill defines union activities as “political activities performed by a union that involve advocating for the election or defeat of any political candidate” and “lobbying activities performed by a union that involve attempting to influence the passage or defeat of federal or state legislation, local ordinances or any ballot measure.” It prohibits public employers from providing paid leave or other compensation while an employee performs such activities.  

The bill excludes police officers and firefighters from its definition of public employee.

The Arizona House of Representatives passed the bill 48-5 on March 24, with 17 Democrats voting in favor. The Senate voted 24-2 to pass the bill on March 31, with the support of 10 Democrats. Ducey signed the bill on April 6.

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, which describes itself as a free-market public policy organization, drafted the bill. The group called the legislation a “first-in-the-nation law that stops government workers from politicking on the taxpayer’s dime.” 

According to The Center Square’s Cole Lauterbach, a representative for the City of Phoenix said the city did not support the bill. The Arizona Police Association also opposed it. 

Political context

Ducey was first elected governor in 2014. Arizona Republicans have had trifecta control of the state government since 2009. The party holds a 31-29 majority in the House of Representatives and a 16-14 majority in the state Senate. 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 139 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue.

  • California AB2497: This bill would require state higher education employers to distribute union membership authorization forms to new employees during the orientation process and return completed forms to the exclusive representative.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee hearing April 20. 
  • California SB931: This bill would allow a union to bring a claim before the Public Employment Relations Board against a public employer allegedly in violation of California Government Code Section 3550 and sets civil penalties for violations. Section 3550 prohibits public employers from discouraging union membership. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing April 19. 
  • California SB1313: This bill would prohibit Los Angeles County from discriminating against union members by limiting employee health benefits.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing April 19.  
  • California SB1406: This bill would allow unions representing excluded state employees to request arbitration with the Department of Human Resources in certain circumstances.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing April 19. 
  • Maryland HB90: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to the deputy public defender, district public defenders, and assistant public defenders.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Governor vetoed April 8; legislature overrode veto April 9. 
  • Maryland HB580: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to Maryland Transit Administration Police sergeants and supervisors.   
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Governor vetoed April 8; legislature overrode veto April 9
  • Oklahoma SB1579: This bill would allow school boards to grant unpaid leaves of absence for employees to hold office in an employee association if certain criteria are met. An employee organization would be required to comply with this law in order to be recognized as the representative of a bargaining unit.     
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Common Education Committee recommends “do pass” April 12.  
  • Rhode Island S2244: This bill would establish a method of dispute arbitration for municipal employees, who are not allowed to strike. It would allow arbitration decisions to be petitioned to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  
    • Democratic sponsorship.  
    • Senate read and passed April 12.



About the author

Janie Valentine

Janie Valentine is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.