Again?! Indiana Democrats Walk Out Over Right-to-Work Bill

Frustrated Democrats in Indiana walked out of the state legislature again Tuesday, protesting and tying up Republican determination to pass a "right-to-work" bill labor advocates say would hurt workers by barring private companies and unions from negotiating contracts that require non-members to pay partial union dues. Unions advocate for the rights of all workers, and requiring non-members to pay dues allows for a more financially stable base. 

Democrats first used the walk-out tactic on Wednesday, and had just returned to session on Monday. Regardless, Indiana Republicans were set on passing the controversial bill immediately. After a very short, six-minute committee hearing on Tuesday, the majority Republicans voted to send the bill to the House floor without hearing any debate or motions to amend the Bill from Democrats. Hoosier Dems, however, would not stand for that kind of treatment. 

According to the Indy Star:

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, tried and failed to bring the House in to session at 1:30 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m., but did not have the needed 67 lawmakers on the floor to do business.

The Indy Star also said:

Democrats were lodging an official protest of the morning’s committee hearing to be put in the House journal, arguing that the handling of the hearing amounted to “a flagrant violation of House rules.”

Democrats wanted public testimony, in addition to the chance to debate and offer amendments. A House rule says that all committee meetings “shall be open to the public, and citizens shall have the right to be heard.

Rep. Ed DeLaney, an Indianapolis Democrat who was on the floor and not participating in the Democratic walk-out, called the GOP handling of this morning’s hearing on the bill a “visceral attack” on the democratic process.

According to Talking Points Memo, Indiana Democrats also released the following press release, explaining another initiative to save Indiana's wages (emphasis in original): 

The Democratic Caucus launched, a online petition and rallying point for Hoosier families who believe Governor Daniels, Speaker Bosma and the Republican House Caucus should focus on creating good-paying jobs, not lowering paychecks of working families across Indiana. Caucus members will be live-commentating the State of the State of the State Address on the site.

Democratic Leader Bauer said, “Working families want good-paying jobs, not lower paychecks. Their response to the Governor is simple - Don’t Touch My Paycheck. Instead of playing partisan, political games, let’s work together to boost our small businesses, support our workers, and create jobs right here in Indiana.”

Twenty-two other states already have right-to-work laws, but the bill would make Indiana the first "right-to-work" state in the manufacturing belt.

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at January 10, 2012, 12:34pm

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