With several thousand Indiana workers inside and outside the statehouse, a state Senate committee this afternoon approved a so-called right to work bill. The 6-4 vote included one Republican who voted against the bill.
The vote followed more than five hours of testimony, but in their drive to ram the bill through the legislature, Senate Republicans did allow the usual practice of offering amendments. The House committee did not vote on the bill because House Democrats continue to filibuster the legislation.
Democrats have called for a series public hearings on the legislation in communities throughout the state, but in an effort to rush the bill through—possibly for a final vote next week—leaders in the Republican-controlled legislature have refused. Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott says “when there’s an issue that is complicated or controversial, local public hearings are standard practice.”
While the motivations of “right to work” pushers aren’t that complicated—it is a raw power grab and meant to give political payback to CEOs and special interest groups – the issue is certainly controversial. Open public hearings are appropriate and necessary. Citizens of Indiana should have a say about the decision to put one bill ahead of all the business of the state, including education and the state budget.
The workers who could get into the jammed chamber watched the testimony on televisions up inside and outside the statehouse. Many people inside the statehouse also sent regular updates via Twitter. Here’s a sample:
@marybschneider: Final witness reminds legislators IN passed RTW in 1957 and it was repealed in 1965 because “it didn’t work.” Or maybe was cuz Ds elected?
@nkellyatJG: Lafer concludes by saying the unbiased professional evidence shows RTW lowers wages and benefits while doing nothing to boost job growth.
@evale72: REPUBLICAN Sen says OK saying RTW created jobs same as Darth Vader kid in VW commercial “starting” the car w/the force
You can follow the action from Indiana on Twitter with the hashtag #InUnion and at the Stand Up for Hoosiers Facebook page here.