Legislature and State Government and Legislation and Politics and Government & Economic Development and Government and Labor

Indiana right-to-work bill on speedy path in Senate

January 26, 2012

Indiana could become the 23rd right-to-work state as early as Wednesday depending on how soon Gov. Mitch Daniels decides to sign the labor bill.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Thursday he expects the state Senate to take a final vote Wednesday on the legislation following a Monday committee hearing on the bill.

Indiana is set to become first state in the union-heavy Rust Belt to makes it illegal to require somebody to become a union member or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

The measure passed easily in the House this week after Democrats ended an off-and-on boycott that had stalled the measure through the start of the session. The final House vote set the stage for the bill to make it into law shortly before 150,000 football fans pack Indianapolis for the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.

"We have a Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the history of this state, even bigger than the (Indy) 500. And that's saying a lot because we've hosted some big events here," Long said Thursday.

"And for those who are threatening to disrupt it, why would we give them that opportunity?" Long asked. "The Senate is in position to move it now, and it makes sense for us to do it."

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, said Republicans are trying to avoid embarrassment during the Super Bowl in Indianapolis by speeding the bill to Gov. Mitch Daniels. Republicans heavily outnumber Democrats in the Senate 37-13, guaranteeing that Democrats can't use the same stall tactics applied in the House.

"I think their intention is to speed this bill though and send it with wings to the governor's desk so he signs it on Thursday," Simpson said.

Indiana AFL-CIO president Nancy Guyott said union members will continue to talk with Republican senators in hopes of persuading more to vote against the bill, but that the Senate's speed is aimed at shutting out the public.

"It seems that they'll stop at shutting no doors to the Hoosier citizen having a part in this process," she said.

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