Indiana Republicans have put so called “right-to-work” legislation on a “fast track” in the hopes of having it passed into law before the Super Bowl on February 5th of this year. Republicans want to avoid negative the media attention of mass protests going on at the capital. If they want to avoid the potential for bad media attention, wouldn’t it make more sense to introduce it say February 6th? Indiana citizens should be given more time to become educated on the bill and what it means to their communities. There should be thoughtful discussion and many public hearings around the state on this matter. This will impact the lives of everyone in Indiana. In my opinion it’s too important to “fast track”.
There is a joint committee hearing schedule on “right-to-work” legislation today, January 6th 2012 starting at 8 am local time. It’s interesting that the house legislation technically doesn’t exist as of yet because it hasn’t been introduced in the house. So, they are going to take testimony on a bill that hasn’t been introduced yet? Isn’t that similar to putting the cart before the horse?
“House Democrats boycotted session for a second consecutive day Thursday, which prevented House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis — a top right-to-work proponent — from introducing House Bill 1001 and assigning it to committee.”
There is an identical bill in the state senate, Senate Bill 269 that will be eligible for a vote next week if it’s passed in committee today.
From the same article:
“Joint committees are rarely used at the Statehouse because the Indiana Constitution expects the House and Senate to give separate consideration to pending legislation.”
Last February Republicans tried to pass the same sort of legislation. House Democrats fled the state to stop passage. They stayed out for a record 36 days and incurred a total of more than $100,000 in fines. House Republicans wanted to make sure this didn’t happen again so they crafted a law that increased fines for walking out during a legislative session to $1,000 a day. That’s on top of other other fines. I guess Republicans are using the mantra “If you don’t succeed, try, try again” because here it is a new year and they are trying to do it again. They certainly are a persistent group, aren’t they?
James P. Hoffa did a great write up on the issue at the Huffington Post. It’s well worth the read if you get a chance. The part that really caught my eye is the following. This list will seem eerily familiar to anyone following state politics around the country. In my humble opinion it almost seems like many state Republicans are following the exact same political “play book”.
“These politicians have no shame.
They have: cribbed the bill’s language from pre-written legislation influenced by out-of-state corporations like Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and Duke Energy; run television commercials paid for by secret donors; tried to severely restrict public – but not lobbyist - access to the Statehouse;
put out dishonest “studies” underwritten by such anti-worker groups as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Work Committee, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and a corporate advocacy group from Oklahoma; claimed companies refused to move to Indiana because it wasn’t a right-to-work state. When pressed, they couldn’t name a single company that decided not to relocate to Indiana because of that.”
A hat tip goes to brave house Republicans three who have publicly stated they won’t support “right-to-work” legislation. There are a few others that say they haven’t made a final decision on the bill. I’m hoping that more House Republicans will decide to do what’s best for the people of Indiana and vote against it.
“Not all Republicans have fallen in line. At least three GOP House members from union-heavy districts have said publicly they won’t support the legislation that Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has said is one of his top priorities. They include Rep. Tom Dermody from LaPorte, Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, and Rep. Ron Bacon of Boonville.”
Indiana House Democrats deserve a lot of respect for standing up for the people in their state. This legislation is too important to rush and should concern everyone in the country, not just those people residing in Indiana. It could come to your state next if it doesn’t get stopped here. There needs to be more public hearings on the matter. The public need to be educated on what this bill really means to them and their communities.
Please consider donating to the Indiana House Democrats if you can. They are facing huge personal financial burdens for doing what is right. They have set up a donation page at ActBlue. It can be found here. I had to chuckle at the donation amount section of the page. For a quick giggle, take a peak at the comment next to the $500 donation. During the height of the protests in Wisconsin, people from around the world were donating Ian’s pizzas to the protesters. The pizza donations warmed the hearts and stomachs of the protesters occupying the capital in Madison. Let’s all show similar solidarity with the legislators in Indiana.