Indiana Republicans approve fines on House boycotters

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Indiana House Republicans have approved $1,000-a-day fines against Democratic legislators who are boycotting over a right-to-work bill.

The Republicans approved the fines in a voice vote Wednesday morning as most of the Democratic representatives gathered in the Statehouse Rotunda for what they called an open caucus meeting to discuss the bill to ban employment contracts with mandatory union fees.

The Democrats began their meeting surrounded by hundreds of union supporters, with more watching from the balconies above.

Republican Speaker Brian Bosma had demanded that Democrats end their boycott and give the House enough members present to begin work.

Bosma had hoped to begin voting Tuesday on proposed amendments to the right-to-work bill, but most Democrats resumed their walkout after questions arose about the constitutionality of the statewide referendum they're seeking on the proposal.

Democratic leader Patrick Bauer said his members will stay out as long as it takes lawyers to review the proposed referendum.

Bauer said he found out late Monday that state lawyers had raised questions about the constitutionality of such a measure. He called it a trick Bosma was using to give Republicans cover to vote against the referendum proposal.

"The same continuing pattern is they do not want the public to legitimately and constitutionally have the referendum," Bauer said. "That's part of their pattern. Keep the public out and go after the representatives who demand that the public be let in."

Bosma said he wouldn't tolerate further stalling by Democrats.

"I think he sees ghosts behind every door," Bosma said about Bauer and his allegations.

Lawyers for the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, the state agency that drafts bills for lawmakers and provides legal advice, wrote in a Jan. 13 memo that the Indiana constitution "does not include a referendum option" and said it is "unlikely" voters could have the final say on statewide legislation.

Legislators in recent years have permitted local referendums on whether to allow casinos, approval of school construction projects, additional property taxes for school and elimination of township assessors. State records show the only statewide referendum questions in several decades have been on whether to approve amendments to the state constitution — not approving state laws.

"There are referendums on everything under the sun," Bauer said. "We didn't need to be blindsided by that person (Bosma) up there."



    chappie72, I beg to differ. I'm NOT a "big 'corperation' ... who want(s) all the proffit and not paying for healthcare or paying (cheap labor ) to do the job". Nope, I'm just me. And I WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT the Right To Work bill. My objection is that under current law, unions can collect a HUGE chunk of MY CHECK, and use that money however they wish - this in spite of the US Supreme Court ruling that such use is a clear violation of my right to free speech. The unions use some creative book-keeping to hide this; because under the "Beck" rulings, the union is only supposed to collect "representation fees" from non-union employees of businesses that have union contracts. It took me over a year to get AFSCME to return these illegally collected funds and stop collecting them in the future. The RTW bill puts a complete stop to such shenanigans. LET'S GET INDIANA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, folks! Unions are SO nineteenth century! Like I've said before, let's get this bill passed. Oh, and on the referendum issue? Wasn't it the Dummycrats who proposed that? One would think they'd make sure it was Constitutional before putting it forward, yes? Sounds like bad faith all around.... Oh, waitaminit! This is the party that tramples all over the Constitution at both state and federal levels, anyway! Why should this be any different???
  • article
    Check out this article. It is one of many many articles available for anyone who wants to look at the truth... You don't need one of us to explain it to you...

  • It wont...
    It won't affect ALL workers...but does that mean we should stomp on those it will impact?
  • Reply to Jane
    I asked for a detailed explanation of how RTW will lower wages, but without emotion or generalities. Unfortunately, you only repeated the emotion filled diatribe put forth by what I assume is Union leadership
    • Middle Class
      Let's make one thing clear, RTW does not effect the ubiquitous Middle Class; it effects 10.9% of Indiana workers. The Middle Class is comprised of white collar and blue collar, management and workers. Most Union members are included in the Middle Class, but only a very small percentage of the Middle Class are Union members.
    • 1 in 10!?
      1 in 10 workers!? That's huge. Imagine 1 in 10 of the people you know being without work or underpaid, less time with family, retirement benefits and health benefits cut etc.

      10% of the Indiana workforce is a LOT of people!
    • Detailed Explanation
      I've been unable to find anyone who can explain in detail how the RTW will lower wages for workers state wide. Can someone please make a rational, detailed explanation without using generalities, inferences or emotion.

      If RTW effects 11% of the state work force how could it lower wages across the board? I understand those arguing that RTW might lower Union wages, but I find it hard to believe it will effect all workers.
      • Leave the middle class alone
        I'm sad to hear that Republicans are trying to enforce fines against the Democrats for doing the right thing. However, I know that myself and many others are donating money to the democrats. It show that the democrats are willing to stand up for the people, even when their own pocketbooks are going to take a hit. Republicans are willing to bully this bill through and not put it through the legislative process and allow for ammendments etc.

        The facts on the 'union' bill
        *Workers DO NOT currently HAVE to join a union. They are protected by federal law to not have to do this. AND although they don't have to join, they are still GUARANTEED to reap the benefits from the union bargaining. They DO have to pay what's called their 'fair share' of bargaining...these do not equate to the same amount of union dues that actual members pay.

        *Federal law REQUIRES unions to bargain for EVERYONE. Thus is some refuse to pay, they STILL reap the benefits. Unions do not get a choice in this--fair?

        *Federal law requires that those paying union dues be allowed to opt out of having their money given to support political parties.

        The ads stating that 2/3 Hoosiers agree with this law are bogus. Wishtv did a story that proved this wrong. This is a blatant attack on the middle class. Think of the union workers you know. Are any of them rich? No. They are making a living, most of them do hard labor. They deserve to be paid overtime after forty hours and have health care and other benefits bargained for. Yes, some people give unions a bad name...but they are really in the minority.

      • hmmmmm
        you get what you pay for ........ just sayin
      • reply
        you are right about the unions backing the dems...... and the people who back the republicans are the big corperations who want all the proffit and not paying for healthcare or paying (cheap labor ) to do the job .
        • reality
          thats all fine and dandy unless you are one of the 10 percent
        • Is a union due any different than statium tax, corn check off?

          Union shops can and do vote to be non-unionized. If the workers don't feel represented, they will vote the union out. I do wish I could opt out of things I don't support, such as the stadium tax which I don't want -- it only cost me money.

          In the end, it is just more of Mitch trying to lower our standard to that of Mexico. Reduce education, reduce wages, cut corp income tax, cut property tax for corporations, and say that Indiana workers are not good enough, that we need foreign (cheep) labor, often illegal and untaxed for his business friends.

          Our wages are going down, our jobs are being worked by imported labor, tax breaks are going to wealthy. Based on what I see, I give 100% support the walk-out.

        • Huh?
          If it is all about CHOICE, then why not vote for Right to Work? That WILL give employees a CHOICE to be in the union or not.

          If the Union is all that it says that it is (all about the employees) then it would be money well spent by the employees to CHOOSE to be in the union. If pepole are worried that it will reduce wages and benefits, then change the laws for minimum wage and mandatory benefits.

          If you would go to Muncie, Anderson, Kokomo, etc. I think you would see how the Union did nothing to keep the jobs there. It would be interesting to see if a past union employee who lost their job, would join the union again it there was a Right to Work law.

          I have a friend who is a Union person, she brags about all her vacation days and full "free" benefits (i.e. insurance). Where do you think all the money comes from? Have any of you priced insurance? Imagine having a company who has to pay for all that while some of its emaployees abuse it?

          Many of the unions are still tied to the Mafia.
        • Bauer pulling the wool over our eyes ?
          Pat Bauer is up to his tricks again. It makes one wonder about how Bauer acts when his Ivy Tech bosses make decisions he doesn't like. Does he stage a public sit in? Does he find ways to stop Ivy Tech from conduction business? Does he spend his Ivy Tech Vice President salary to bring in out of state protestors? Bauer gets paid twice with Indiana tax dollars -- and he says he represents out-of-work Hoosiers? Who is he trying to kid?
        • Why the hysteria?
          It's a shame that both sides have sensationalized an issue that effects less than 11% of the Indiana workforce. According to the Indianapolis Star only 10.9% of Indiana's workforce is unionized and only 1.3% of the workforce have jobs in union shops, but don't pay union dues (I apologize if I misquoted any of that). Using those numbers as a reality check, both side are making much (political) to do about an issue that only effects 1 in 10 workers.

          It's a political fight for both sides, one side wants to hurt the other side financially and one side wants to protect their financial support. The contrived hysteria about creating/losing jobs, safety degradation, etc is just political cover for the real issue of financial support.
          • Spell Check
            Better check your spell check program. And turn on your grammar checker if you have one.
          • Yep!
            Bingo! Out of state, hired by the unions. The unions know they'll lose a lot of the $ they have access to now. Money they use to elect dem's like we have who will go to ridiculous measures to protect the unions, who give money to the dem's, who support their campaigns, ........
            • Really?
              Rammed down our throats? Really? The dem's have been whining about this for over a year. The Repub's held their majority, and will continue to do so as long as Dem's refuse to go to work. The tail cannot wag the dog!
            • It's both sides
              It is both sides. The dems are serving the dems, and the repubs are serving the repubs. There isn't a side at the statehouse representing the people of Indiana. The same holds true for the elected officials in Washington. The people of this state, of this country, continue to get bad legislation crammed down our throats for the benefit of those who want to put in less or no effort than those who will have to put in more effort to make it work, and the only people who truly win in all of this are the elected officials who pass the legislation. Both sides need to go.
            • Charles
              I do not remember Right to Work being repealed with a referendum. If people want to support a union, they should do so voluntarily.
            • what a shame
              its an absolute shame that the republicans of this state want to force this issue down our throughts but will not allow the public to know whats really going on . this bill will destroy alot of peoples ability to raise a family on a decent wage with good benifits. it will allow out of state contractors who hire anyone off the street for half of what a union worker makes to come in and take our jobs . this is really about big buisness profits and how to increase them while the average working man or woman suffers . i hope everyone with a family member or a friend who is a union worker contacts thier local senators and let them know if they cost us our jobs then we will enturn make sure they lose thiers at the next election
              • Cowards
                Hiding behind their out of state union thugs.

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