Press Releases




April 26, 2023
CONTACT: Logan Elizabeth Padgett


Today, the Florida Legislature delivered on another promise of freedom in the Sunshine State — the freedom of public sector workers to decide whether or not to join a union and to protect those workers’ paychecks from the union money grab. For years, union dues have been deducted directly from public sector employees’ paychecks. And the collection and processing are done on the taxpayers’ dime rather than at the union’s expense. With the passage of SB256 the Legislature said, “No more.”

“This legislation, brought by Gov. DeSantis and supported by legislative leaders, represents a bold commitment to strengthening employee freedoms and taxpayer protections in the Sunshine State. Indeed, when signed into law, this policy will be the strongest of its kind in the nation – making it the model for how states should act to protect their employees and state resources from undue use and abuse by unions to advance their politicized interests,” said Lindsay Killen, Vice President for National Strategy for The James Madison Institute and Senior National Advisor for the Workers for Opportunity initiative. “By ensuring that teachers and other public employees are informed of their rights to join or refrain from union membership without impacting their benefits or professional status, and removing the state’s role as money collector for the union, teachers will have greater awareness of the value of union membership and exactly how much that membership costs them each year.

Further, they – along with other Florida public employees – will have regular opportunities to vote on which union, if any at all, is granted the privilege of representing them in negotiations with their employers. These reforms ensure taxpayers aren’t forced to subsidize unions’ fundraising needs and employees can hold unions accountable to serving their interests first. We congratulate Florida teachers and other public employees on this important victory and applaud lawmakers and our partners for working together to set a new standard of excellence in recognizing and respecting employee freedom,” Killen said. 

“With the passage of SB256, the Florida Legislature has planted a flag in the ground for true worker freedom. While states like Michigan and others are rolling back protections for workers, our leaders have said “Not here, not on our watch.” These reforms will at long last ensure that public employees and taxpayer dollars are protected from threats, intimidation, and carve outs. Educators, local and state employees, and workers from Pensacola to Key West will now be able to take home more of their hard earned dollars, without any intrusion from the government in their relationship with their union. This reform encourages competition in representation and we can’t be more proud of the work done over the years to bring this to fruition.” — Sal Nuzzo, Senior Vice President, The James Madison Institute

Thank you to Speaker Paul Renner, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, the 72 members of the Florida House and the and the 23 members of the Legislature who decided to put public employees’ rights over special interests.

Governor DeSantis has an opportunity to illustrate his leadership by signing these reforms that advance the freedoms of choice, opportunity, and assembly for all public sector workers.


The James Madison Institute is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the ideals of limited government, economic freedom, federalism and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. The institute conducts research on such issues as criminal justice, health care, taxes and regulatory environments.