Indiana Democrats are buying time against the so-called right to work law Republican legislators are pushing as their top priority in the state. Democratic state House members, who last year left the state to deny Republicans the quorum they needed to pass anti-worker and other bad bills, did not show up for the first day of the 2012 legislative session Wednesday:
House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said this was no walk-out, but a "filibuster."
Democrats, he said, want "to prevent a bill being rammed down the public's throat. We refuse to let the most controversial public policy bill of the decade be railroaded through with the public being denied their fair and adequate input."
Instead of a joint hearing on Friday, Bauer said, Democrats want the legislature to hold hearings around the state on the issue. But while he said Democrats would not go to Illinois as they did in the 2011 stand-off, he did not promise Democrats would return if those hearings were held, saying only that they would be "very helpful" and "some kind of a carrot to the stick that they've given the people."
Meanwhile, union members and allies are streaming to the statehouse to lobby their legislators, hoping to get some Republicans to think twice before voting for the anti-union bill. However, the Indiana AFL-CIO reported Wednesday on Twitter that several legislators refused to meet with constituents. Workers are continuing the pressure at the statehouse on Thursday.