Indiana took a big step toward becoming the 23rd state in the nation with the controversial “right to work” law on the books, as the Senate passed the measure late Monday.
The House could vote on an identical version of the bill today — if, that is, enough House Democrats are present to let a vote take place.
Democrats have repeatedly shut down the House this session, denying Republicans the quorum they need to do business, and they went behind closed doors again late Monday.When Republicans get to take votes on this bill, they have the numbers to win. They proved it in the House on Monday, as they rejected every amendment Democrats offered, including one proposal to let voters decide the issue in a referendum.
Thousands of labor union members packed the House and Senate galleries and filled the hallways outside both chambers Monday. About 110 union members from a Munster laborers union even went to the home of House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, to protest the bill.
“Mr. Bosma and the Republican Party have made it their intention to hit us at our dinner table, so that’s where we want to hit him,” said Kevin Roach, business manager of Laborers’ International Union Local 41.
Bosma, though, said later: “This isn’t my first time to be intimidated or bullied about. It’s not going to stop anything.”
That was clear in the Statehouse. For nearly two hours in the Senate, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle argued passionately, each side citing statistics crafted to back its views.
As union protesters chanted “You lie” outside the Senate chambers, bill author Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said the legislation will lower unemployment and result in higher-paying jobs. “We’ve heard the argument that ‘right to work’ really means right to work for less,” he said, “and I respectfully disagree with that.”
But Democrats said the legislation is instead an escalator taking Indiana down to lower-paying jobs and unsafe working conditions. Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, said lawmakers should legislate by evidence and not anecdote. There’s no solid data proving that “right to work” laws lead to economic development, she said. ‘Right to work’ is nothing more than a race to the bottom for the middle class of Indiana,” she said.
When you’re listening to Mitch Daniels tonight, and hearing pundits afterwards tell us how smart he is and how moderate he is and how he’s the future of principled conservatism, remember that he lied to these people in order to get elected governor. He told them he wouldn’t go after private sector union members. Then he did.
Oh, and just for the record?
Indiana under Daniels gave away the store to business interests and they got absolutely nothing in return. Gutted business regulation, gutted environmental regulation, sold state assets, deregulated and privatized public schools, destroyed public sector unions, and the unemployment rate in Indiana is comparable to the midwest states around Indiana, states that didn’t make all the concessions demanded by the “job creators”. The promised jobs never arrived.
When John Boehner speaks of Mitch Daniels he has to claim that Daniels was working on “a climate for job creation.” Not jobs. A “climate” where jobs might blow in like the weather, maybe, sometime, depending. Boehner has to use that odd and abstract language because Boehner knows what the unemployment rate is in Indiana, and he also knows that Daniels is a two-term governor who had a free hand to put in place the whole conservative-libertarian wish list. For years. That’s all in place, but the job creators just keep on demanding more concessions from Indiana, and Mitch Daniels just keeps handing them over.