Monday, January 16, 2012

Indiana anti-union bill to get vote next week as Republicans and Democrats make a deal

Indiana anti-union bill to get vote next week as Republicans and Democrats make a deal (Laura Clawson)

Protesters fill the statehouse during Gov. Mitch Daniels' State of the State address Tuesday.

Indiana Republicans and Democrats have reached a deal that will bring the state's so-called "right to work" bill to a vote next week. Democrats had objected to Republicans trying to rush the bill through, holding a joint House-Senate hearing rather than the usual separate hearing process, and blocking amendments and debate at the committee stage, and had twice stayed away to deny Republicans a quorum, a tactic Republicans squealed about but have employed themselves in the past under their current leadership.
Republicans seem to have concluded they're not winning political points trying to ram the bill through at top speed:
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he watched video of the hearing and concluded it "did not reflect democracy's finest hour," though no rules were broken. Still, Bosma said he reached out to House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, on Wednesday "to see if we couldn't find something to calm people down."
The olive branch: giving Democrats more time to prepare amendments by scheduling them for Tuesday, with full debate and a vote on the bill later next week.

The question is whether Democrats have any amendments that both have a shot at passing and will make a difference; will they, for instance, exempt building trades unions from the law, as at least one Republican strongly supports? With or without amendments, though, Republicans are overwhelmingly likely to have the votes they need to pass the bill, forcing union members to pay the costs of union representation for their coworkers who don't belong to the union.

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