Democrats Delay Ind. House Amid Union Protests

February 22, 2011

(With additional reporting from WFYI Public Radio's Marianne Holland in Indianapolis)

Indiana House Democrats are leaving the state to avoid a vote on Republican-led legislation restricting the rights of unions.

The political battle is over a bill that prohibits union membership and fees from being a condition of employment, while also disallows payroll deductions for union dues. In the Indiana House, 67 members are needed to take action, but only 63 showed up after House Democrats walked out Monday. Only two returned Tuesday morning.

Without Democrats at the statehouse, Republicans don't have a quorum to conduct business. Republican Governor Mitch Daniels said he is waiting for the Democrats to come back to Indianapolis.

"I'm not going to divert a single trooper from their job of protecting the Indiana public," Daniels said. "I trust that people's consciences will bring them back to work. I choose to believe that our friends in the minority, having made their point, will come back and do their duty."

The House Democrats are now headed out of the state, to either Illinois or Kentucky. Both states have Democratic governors, a condition that prevents the lawmakers from being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

Story source: AP