Ind. Dems Ending Boycott, Won't Promise Labor Vote

Published January 9, 2012 6:36PM (EST)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Democrats on Monday are ending a three-day boycott of the Legislature over a contentious labor bill but are not promising to stay long enough to allow a final vote on the divisive measure.

House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer told The Associated Press that Democrats are returning "just for today."

Republicans want to make Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right-to-work legislation, which bans employment contracts that require mandatory union fees. House Democrats stalled work at the opening of Indiana's 2012 legislative session last week by denying Republicans the 67 members on the floor they need to conduct any business.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma has said he would like to pass the bill through the House as soon as the end of the week. The measure is expected to face an easy path through the state Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 37-13.

It could reach Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk well before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Daniels has made the labor bill one of his top priorities for the 2012 session and appeared in television ads pushing the measure.

National right-to-work advocates came close in November to making New Hampshire the first right-to-work state since Oklahoma passed the measure in 2001 but could not find the votes to override a veto from Democratic Gov. John Lynch. The issue had been largely dormant since the late 1940s and '50s but has enjoyed a resurgence following the GOP's sweep in statehouses across the nation in 2010.

By Salon Staff

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