[r54] Hearing the other side of the story (1/12/2012)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Start Date: 1/12/2012
End Date: 1/12/2012

“Right-to-Work” has become a phrase we as Hoosiers are hearing a lot about. It’s on the television, the radio and it’s in the headlines. It was probably the lead conversation at Sunday’s brunch. It has become the top issue of the 2012 legislative session and it’s causing quite a stir.

As you may have read or heard, the House Democrats failed to attend the first days of session—a sight we saw last session when they walked out for five weeks. I said it then and I will say it again; a walkout is one of the only tools the minority caucus has in taking a stand on an issue. Both parties have participated in a walkout in the past; although House Republicans have never been absent for that length of time

The issue causing the walkout is RTW legislation, which states employees do not have to join a union or pay union dues as a condition or continuation of their employment.   The House Democrats also are displeased with the proposed timing to hear the bill. However, this issue was studied all summer with close to 20 hours of testimony. 

I have spoken with many constituents in the area, and the majority of them have told me they do not support the RTW legislation. I am in agreement.

When someone applies for a job, they know if it has a union and therefore, they would expect to pay into that union. Those unions fight for their rights, their safety and their benefits.  Many t people in our community are union members or have close members of their family in unions. I think they would agree.

On Friday, members from the House held a joint meeting with the Senate because they didn’t have enough House Democrat members present to make it an official House committee meeting. They took public testimony concerning the RTW legislation. The meeting, to no one’s surprise, went on for hours. They heard from people on both sides of the issue. 
Once testimony was complete, Senate committee members voted; the legislation passed out with a party line vote.  Since the necessary House members were not present earlier in the week to officially hand down the bill list, only the Senate version passed the  legislation out of committee.  The bill will most likely be heard on the Senate floor this week.

The House was able to finally convene Monday afternoon to hand down an official bill list. Tuesday morning, the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee met and passed out the House version with a party line vote as well.

Although I am not in support of the RTW bill as it stands, I am looking forward to the debate. I am hoping that we can come together and really dive into the issue and decide what is best for the State of Indiana and its Hoosiers. With such a big, controversial issue, we need to ensure we take the time necessary to discuss every aspect—positive and negative.

In order to keep you up with the conversation, I will work to give you updates as information changes. However, I encourage you to be a part of the conversation as well. Email or call me to let me know what you think. Should Indiana be the 23rd state to become RTW? Why or why not? As you state representative, it is my responsibility to vote according to what the constituents in my district want. Help me do that by voicing your opinion.