jim_norman_web.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A Senate bill that prohibits union dues from being automatically deducted from public employees' paychecks has barely survived a vote out of the Community Affairs Committee.

The committee on Monday voted 5-4 for the bill despite opposition from Republicans on the panel that the bill was unnecessary. Sen. Jim Norman is the vice-chairman of the committee. He said the measure would have allowed the government to meddle in people's private matters.

A group of Florida union representatives spoke against the bill, including some who said they also were Republicans. Union foes have dubbed the measure the Worker Gag Bill.

Committee chairman Mike Bennett said the bill (SB 830) next goes to the Senate Governmental Oversight committee for consideration. A companion bill is in the House.