Indiana Democrats are reportedly joining their Wisconsin counterparts in staging an exodus from their state to protest a new union-busting Republican measure.
Only two of Indiana’s 40 House Democrats showed up for a session Tuesday morning, precluding Republicans from attaining the votes needed to proceed on motions. The rest are fleeing to Illinois to stage a walkout, according to the Indianapolis Star and the local Indy Channel news station.
Only 58 lawmakers were present, falling short of the 67 required for a quorum. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma called for a recess until later in the afternoon.
“A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky,” the Indy Star reported.
“Sources gave conflicting information about the whereabouts of Indiana Democrats” to the Indy Channel.
It’s a virtual repeat of what took place in Wisconsin last week: Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, backed by a GOP majority in the legislature, introduced a bill that would restrict the bargaining rights of some unions. In response, indignant Democrats declined to show up to do the state’s business as a protest.
Democrats held a demonstration in the Indiana statehouse, as they did in Wisconsin. Hundreds of protesters gathered to chant, “We vote! We work!”
The Indiana measure would “bar unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to kick-in fees for representation,” as described by the Indy Star.
The outcomes of the two showdowns could have significant impacts on other cash-strapped states as Republican governors and legislators consider provisions that diminish the clout of unions.
This video is from the Indiana statehouse, uploaded by state Sen. Jim Banks.