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Senator Richard Burr sent a letter to each state education agency’s chief operating officer asking what steps they are taking to comply with the recent Janus decision from the Supreme Court and how protections are being put in place for the First Amendment rights of teachers who decide not to pay union dues.

Burr is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

“The Court’s decision in Janus was broad, standing for the proposition that freedom of speech embodied in the First Amendment includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all,” Senator Burr noted.

The letter continues, “…it is imperative that all current and prospective teachers be aware of their First Amendment rights of free association.”

The letter outlines five questions, starting with:

“Does your department have a policy in place to ensure that teachers are fully informed of their First Amendment rights—including their right to refuse to pay union dues as well as their right not to associate with the union?

a.  If so, how does your department enforce this policy?

b.  What are the consequences for a school or school district violating this policy?”

You can read the complete letter here.


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