HARRISBURG - The Republican-controlled state Senate is joining the House in advancing business-backed legislation that would limit labor union deductions from the paychecks of most public employees.

The bill passed on partisan lines in the Senate State Government Committee, 7-4. A similar House bill also won committee approval on party lines earlier this week, but floor votes haven't been scheduled.

Under the bill, state and local governments would be allowed to continue the practice of deducting a "fair share" amount to pay for the cost of representing employees.

But it would stop the practice of deducting voluntary amounts for issues or political advocacy.

Supporters say it would scale back labor union influence in policy making while unions call it an "attack on workers' rights." Firefighters and police officers would be exempt.