House Democrats Not Moving On Right To Work Legislation

By Maureen Mespell
By Jeff Neumeyer

January 5, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 12:55 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Indiana House Democrats are occupying a caucus room, with no intentions of moving.

For a second straight day they stayed behind closed doors in an effort to derail "right to work" legislation.

Jeff Neumeyer: " Lots of people and activity in the Statehouse hallways, very little action taking place on the main House floor.

Only the Republicans, who own a large majority in the House, showed up in the main chamber on Thursday.

Democrats met privately in caucus, denying the quorum needed to gavel the House into session and conduct business.

Democrats are acting on behalf of organized labor that wants to see a "right to work" bill defeated this session.

Governor Mitch Daniels has made "right to work" a priority, saying the proposal to ban unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires employees to pay union dues will make Indiana more attractive as a destination for new plants.

Democrats walked out for five weeks last year, over bills they didn't like.

Their Republican counterparts are losing patience.

State Rep. Jeff Espich/(R) 82nd District: " Certainly we want to give the minority a voice, we always want to give the minority a voice, but you can't allow the minority to destroy the function of government and that's exactly what they're doing. It's a dangerous precedent."

Neumeyer: " Union leaders, meanwhile, find it interesting that Republicans, who normally oppose government regulation, are singing a different tune on this issue."

Keith Neargardner/United Auto Workers: " And what's ironic about it is, the Republican Party always talked about smaller government and less government interference, and here they want to pass legislation that puts government regulation in."

Neumeyer: " The strategy being used by Democrats is not only holding up "right to work", but also progress on hundreds of other bills, such as a statewide smoking ban that's under consideration.

The pressure is turned up even more, because this is a short legislative session, which must be wrapped up no later than March 14th.

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