Democrats avoided the floor of the chamber again last week to block action on
the right-to-work bill backed by the Republican majority. The Democrats had
returned to the chamber after a four-day walkout in the opening week of the
session to stall progress on HB 1001, which would effectively bar unions from
collecting dues from non-union workers at private companies.
Last week's boycott was spurred by an opinion from the Legislative Services
Agency stating that an amendment the Democrats have proposed to HB 1001 calling
for a referendum on the bill was likely unconstitutional. That opinion was
issued late last Monday, the eve before a floor vote on the amendment was
scheduled, blindsiding Democrats, according to House Minority Leader B. Patrick
"We want them to give us time on 1001 [the right-to-work bill] to fix it
so we can have a real vote on that amendment for the people," Bauer told
reporters after the Democrats held an unusual meeting in the Statehouse
Rotunda, attended by union protestors chanting "Power to the
House Republicans responded by imposing a fine on the absent Democrats of
$1,000 for every day they stay away.
"It's become clear that today is the day fines are appropriate," said
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R), who also stated that "this is certainly not
where I wanted to be at this point in the session."
The escalating tensions in Indianapolis echo the bitter standoff between
Democrats and Republicans over collective bargaining in Madison last year.
Bosma doesn't appear ready to send state troopers after the absent Democrats as
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R)
"They know the way and we welcome them back to do their work," Bosma
But with the Democrats vowing to challenge Bosma's fines in court, and Bauer
accusing the Republicans of seeking the advisory opinion on the Democrats'
amendment to HB 1001 in order to derail it, it may not be long before the
Indiana state police are involved in the proceedings. (JOURNAL AND COURIER
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