Report: Indiana Democrats Flee State To Shut Down Union-Busting Proposal

February 22, 2011 7:03 a.m.

This post has been updated.

Illinois is about to become the state of refuge for another band of legislative Democrats fleeing their home state to shut down a union-busting proposal.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Democratic members of the state House are heading out of state to prevent the Republican majority from moving forward on a bill “that would bar unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to kick-in fees for representation.”

In scenes reminiscent of those in Wisconsin, the Indiana Democrats are using the legislature’s quorum rules to stop the GOP, despite being outgunned in the legislature and in the governor’s mansion, where potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitch Daniels currently resides.

The breakdown of the quorum rules and the battle in the state House, from the Star:

The House was came (sic) into session this morning, with only two of the 40 Democrats present. Those two were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present.

A source told the paper Democrats “are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky.”

The Democrats “need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana,” the paper reports.

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Greg Sargent spoke with Dan Parker, chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, who confirmed that legislators from his party have fled the legislature to protest the right-to-work legislation. Parker’s explanation:

“Republicans have decided to bring their Wisconsin assault to Indiana, and we’re not going to just sit around and take it.”

The Indiana GOP sent along this response to the House Democrats’ moves today from party chair Eric Holcomb:

Millions of Hoosiers got up and went to work this morning, why couldn’t House Democrats do the same? The people of Indiana elected their representatives to introduce, debate and vote on legislation, not hide from their duties. Speaker Bosma started the session with a bipartisan olive branch, only to see the favor returned by Democrats skirting the duties they were elected to do. If they didn’t want to do their job they shouldn’t have run for office in the first place. Hoosiers deserve better from the public servants they hired.

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