(AP) — A divisive labor bill is back in Republican hands after Indiana
House Democrats on Monday ended a three-day boycott of the chamber to
stall the measure.
House Speaker Brian Bosma said the right-to-work bill will get a committee
vote Tuesday morning and could make it out of his chamber by the end of
the week if Democrats continue to attend House sessions.
Democrats returned to the Legislature after spending three days blocking
the contentious labor bill but did not promise to stay long enough to
allow a final vote on the measure. House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer
told The Associated Press that Democrats were returning "just for today."
return put the issue of Republican vote-wrangling back on the table, at
least for a day. Bosma needs 51 votes to pass the measure. Although
Republicans outnumber Democrats 60-40 in the House, some Republicans such
as Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso have said they plan to vote against the
Bosma said he
is confident he will be able to lock in the votes needed to pass the
measure. "We'll just keep calm and carry on," he said, echoing the British
World War II motto he has adopted for the right-to-work battle.
want to make Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact
right-to-work legislation, which bans employment contracts that require
mandatory union fees for representation. Supporters claim it would bring
more jobs to Indiana, where the unemployment rate has crept back up to
around 9 percent in the recent months. Opponents say it is a move aimed at
breaking unions in Indiana and claim it would depress wages for all
Democrats stalled work at the opening of Indiana's 2012 legislative
session last week by denying Republicans the 67 members on the floor they
need to conduct any business.
The measure is
expected to find an easy path through the state Senate, where Republicans
outnumber Democrats 37-13.
imposed $1,000-per-day fines for prolonged absences after a five-week
walkout by Democrats last year over the same issue.
Torr, R-Carmel, said that if House Democrats stay in session the
right-to-work measure could make it to the governor's desk as soon as two
weeks from now.
But if they
use a start-and-stop approach to stall the measure further, Republicans
will be ready with fines, he said.
"So if their
idea is, come in one day be gone two days, come in a day be gone two,
that's not going to fly for very long at all," he said.
could reach Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl in
Indianapolis. Daniels has made the labor bill one of his top priorities
for the 2012 session and appeared in television ads pushing the measure.
Last week, the NFL Players Association called the bill "a political ploy
designed to destroy basic workers' rights."
right-to-work advocates came close in November to making New Hampshire the
first right-to-work state since Oklahoma passed the measure in 2001 but
could not find the votes to override a veto from Democratic Gov. John
Lynch. The issue had been largely dormant since the late 1940s and '50s
but has enjoyed a resurgence following the GOP's sweep in statehouses
across the nation in 2010.