Judge: Lobbying Group Can Collect Dues From Teacher Paychecks

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina judge says Republican-backed legislation aimed at cutting off the revenue stream of a Democrat-friendly teachers association violates the constitution and can't be enforced.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner issued his order last month in favor of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which announced the decision Thursday. Gessner ruled the state's largest teacher lobbying group was the victim of "retaliatory viewpoint discrimination."

Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis said in 2011 the law cutting off NCAE from collecting membership dues from paychecks was in response to the group's political activity. The association is a force in state politics and was close to departing Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Spokesmen for Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County declined comment on the ruling.