Indiana News

Senate Opens Debate on Right-to-Work, Rejects Referendum Plan

Final Senate vote expected Monday

1/20/2012

House Democrats' revised referendum plan for right-to-work has gotten a test drive in the Indiana Senate -- and failed.

Listen:

Instead of a pure referendum, Democrats in both chambers are now suggesting putting right-to-work in effect the day before Election Day -- and letting it expire the day after unless voters approve. Portage Senator Karen Tallian says that would solve any constitutional concerns.

And Minority Leader Vi Simpson (D-Bloomington) challenged Republicans to show their faith in claims that polls show Hoosiers favor the bill by a 2:1 margin.

"What are you afraid of?" Simpson asked.

Evansville's Vaneta Becker was the only Republican to join Democrats in supporting the proposal. Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says legislators are elected to make decisions themselves, and says referendum-heavy California has seen those votes turn into contests to see who can afford the most radio and T-V ads.

A final Senate vote on the bill could come Monday, the same day the House hopes to begin debating the referendum idea.

Ironically, Tallian wound up echoing House Republicans' arguments in cajoling skeptical Republicans to vote for the amendment. Acknowledging some legislators still question the amendment's constitutionality, Tallian notes other bills have passed despite similar concerns, and says it's the courts' job to pass judgment on what the legislature passes. That's the same argument Republicans have made in blasting House Democrats' boycott of floor action after nonpartisan analysts warned a straight-up referendum would likely be unconstitutional.

The bill had been lying dormant on the Senate calendar for nearly two weeks while senators waited for the House to pass its version. Long says the Senate couldn't wait any longer for an end to what he calls House Democrats' "antics" in delaying consideration.

All bills must pass either the House or the Senate by February 1 to remain eligible for consideration. Getting the bill through the House first would smooth its path to becoming law, since Senate Republicans hold a walkout-proof majority.

The bill would prohibit unions from charging nonmembers a portion of their dues to cover their share of collective bargaining and other costs.

MORE FROM WIBC NEWS:
» Democrats Recraft RTW Referendum, Say They'll Return Monday (1-20-12)
» Judge Rules on Fines Against House Democrats (1-19-12)
» House Paralyzed for Third Straight Day (1-19-12)
» House Republicans Levy Fines on Absent Democrats (1-18-12)
» Bosma Threatens Fines As House Democrats Walk Out Again (1-17-12)
» Small Compromise on Right to Work (1-13-12)
» Union Workers March Through The Snow (1-12-12)
» Thaw in Relations in Indiana House (1-11-12)
» Daniels Makes Right-to-Work Pitch in State of the State Address (1-10-12)
» House Democrats Stage Another Boycott (1-10-12)
» Senior Groups Blast Right To Work (1-10-12)
» Contentious Commitee Hearing on Right to Work Bill (1-10-12)
» House Democrats' Walkout Ends (1-9-12)
» Democratic Leaders Hold Right-to-Work Hearing in Fort Wayne (1-8-12)
» House Democrats' Caucus Chair Quits Post Over Walkout (1-6-12)
» Senate Panel Approves Right-to-Work Bill (1-6-12)
» Democratic Representative Speaks on Right-to-Work (1-6-12)
» Why Is "Right-To-Work" So Controversial? (1-5-12)
» House Still Paralyzed As Democrats Continue Boycott (1-5-12)
» Another Session, Another Walkout (1-4-12)
» Daniels Outlines Final Legislative Agenda (12-16-11)
» Daniels Weighs Political Impact of Right-to-Work (12-12-11)
» Governor Not Weighing in Yet on Right to Work Bill (11-21-11)
» GOP Leaders Will Push Right-to-Work Bill (11-21-11)
» State Senator Speaks on Indiana Becoming a Right-to-Work State (11-15-11)
» Study Panel Recommends Right-to-Work Law (10-26-11)

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