A Wake County judge has ruled a law prohibiting the North Carolina Association of Educators from using payroll deduction to collect dues from its members to be unconstitutional.
Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner said the dues-deduction ban "constitutes retaliatory viewpoint discrimination" against NCAE, which violates the group's free speech rights.
"We are extremely pleased with the court's decision in this important case, especially the court's recognition that our members have a constitutional right to express their views on issues important to the education community," NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement. "Standing up for those views is the very reason NCAE initiated this lawsuit."
The Republican-led House used a late-night session a year ago to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto of the dues-collection bill, immediately drawing the ire of the NCAE, which traditionally supports Democratic candidates.
Perdue vetoed the bill in June 2011, saying it was written to target NCAE. No other organizations of active employees were banned from collecting dues through payroll deductions under the legislation.
Ellis said the threat of permanently losing payroll deduction is something NCAE must still contend with if the General Assembly chooses to end the payroll deduction process for all employee organizations.
"NCAE stands ready to work constructively with the new administration and legislative leaders to find solutions to the challenges facing our public schools," he said. "It is far more constructive for us to have an open and honest dialog so that we can better understand the concerns of lawmakers and so that they can better understand the realities of the classroom."