There were a couple of curious Facebook posts last week by the Richardson Police Officers' Association FOP Lodge 105. The first, since deleted:
Angie Chen Button is the Republican state representative for parts of Richardson and Garland. The bill referred to is HB 3540, relating to "financial reporting requirements for certain labor organizations; creating new criminal offenses; imposing an administrative penalty."This is a Bill filed today by our very own State Rep Angie Chen Button. It is a direct attack against us and every other Police and Fire Association in Texas. She asked for, and received, both ours and the Richardson Fire Associations support in her last election. This is how we are thanked. We weren't even consulted about this bill. We are very disappointed to say the least.
You can understand why the Police Officers' Association might be upset. The bill is designed to burden the association with regulations, paperwork, and threats of legal penalties for doing it wrong. If you thought Republicans were the party of deregulation, you haven't been paying attention. That deregulation mantra applies only to business, not labor unions or other parties the Republicans don't care for.
Even calling the Police Officers' Association a union is misleading. The association's ability to deal with grievances and conditions of employment is already weak. Texas is a right-to-work state, meaning membership in the association is voluntary. Police can't strike. Their only power comes from their support from the community. Now, Angie Chen Button wants to burden the association's community outreach efforts with new financial reporting regulations. The Richardson Police Officers' Association runs a separate Political Action Committee, or PAC, which is already regulated by state law, requiring it to file reports on contributions and expenditures. HB 3540 applies not to the PAC, but to the association's separate community outreach efforts.
So why did Angie Chen Button file this bill, on the last day and without consultation with the Richardson police association? You can draw your own conclusions from the photo at the top of this post. Angie Chen Button posted it on Facebook the same day she filed the business-friendly, anti-labor bill. She captioned it, "I am so happy to be in #HD112 visiting with the #EcoDevo & Transportation roundtable." Angie Chen Button is a good friend of corporations, but she is no friend of people who work for a paycheck. Yet Texas voters, most of whom are workers not business owners, keep electing her against their own interests. Maybe they vote for her because she shares their attitude against illegal immigrants, gays, poor people, sick people, public school children, etc. But if she can turn on the least among us, eventually she will turn on you, too. The police officers learned that lesson this week.
That brings us to the second Facebook post by the Richardson Police Officer's Association FOP Lodge 105:
The police association doesn't say why they believe their concerns will be taken seriously by Angie Chen Button. Will she withdraw her bill? Will she amend it? If so, the police officers should say so. Better yet, Angie Chen Button herself should say so. If the police associations end up escaping the burdens of HB 3540 this legislative session, it won't be because Angie Chen Button listened to their concerns. Angie Chen Button is no friend of theirs, despite whatever she might have told them. Action speaks louder than words.We met with Rep. Angie Chen Button today and were able to express our serious concerns with HB 3540. We feel the meeting went well and that our concerns will be taken very seriously by her. If you are a local Association Board member PM us for more information if you want to know more.