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Indiana House Democrats resume boycott after new dispute over handling of right-to-work bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ' Most Indiana House Democrats resumed their legislative boycott Tuesday, hours after a dispute in which a Republican committee chairman refused to allow consideration of any proposed changes to a divisive right-to-work bill.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma tried twice Tuesday afternoon to gavel the chamber into order, but the vast majority of House Democrats instead holed up in a meeting room in the Statehouse basement, again denying him the numbers needed to push the bill that would make Indiana the first state in a more than a decade to ban contracts that require workers to pay union fees for representation..
House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer protested the House labor committee's 8-5 party-line approval of the bill earlier in the day, saying Republicans wrongly prevented Democratic members from offering any amendments during the meeting.
"I don't know what will slow them down or stop them other than what we're doing, I don't know that this will give them pause or not," Bauer said.
Bosma said the committee acted properly and Democrats will be able to offer amendments later. He added that the Democratic action wouldn't interfere with Tuesday night's State of the State speech by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels in the House chamber. Bauer said he will attend the speech.
Democrats ended a three-day boycott of the House on Monday over the bill. Supporters of the measure say it would bring more jobs to Indiana, where unemployment has crept up to around 9 percent. Opponents say it is aimed at breaking unions and claim it would depress wages for all workers.
Union protesters gathered outside the Democratic caucus Tuesday afternoon and cheered them on while Republicans met in the House chamber two floors up in the Statehouse.