Michigan Republicans: Jail Teachers Who Send Political Emails

| by Michael Allen

The Republican-led House of Representatives in Michigan is considering a bill that would outlaw public employees, including teachers, from sending political messages using a publicly-owned email service.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Al Pscholka, the law would result in a $10,000 fine for an organization, and a $1,000 fine and one year in jail for an individual. The House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee adopted the bill by a 4-to-2 vote along party lines last week, reports the Livingston Daily.

The proposed legislation is seen by some as an attack on teacher's unions.

The Michigan Education Association, a union representing the state's teachers, responded: "This is more than just another blatant attack on public workers and their unions. This is an unconstitutional attack on every citizen’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of association."

The Livingston Daily also noted that the bill cannot be enforced without changing the state's Freedom of Information Act. Rep. Pscholka said enforcement of the law would depend on co-workers who snitch on their colleagues.