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article imagePutting the 'dem' in pandemic: Anti-union budget battles spread

By Vincent Sobotka     Feb 22, 2011 in Politics
The fleeing method used by Wisconsin democratic lawmakers to prevent quorum has now been imitated by Indiana. As many state require drastic budget changes, similar techniques by the opposition threaten to become a trend.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels urged Republican House lawmakers to drop the right-to-work bill this afternoon upon discovering all 60 of the democratic seats in House chambers had been abandoned. Indiana democrats are suspected to have fled to bordering states in Illinois and Kentucky, in the same act of which Wisconsin democrats remain, according to the Indianapolis Star.
According to the Huffington Post, the proposed legislation that sent Indiana lawmakers packing prohibits employees from being required to pay union dues or representation fees as a condition of employment. Rather, it seeks to abolish unions in the state of Indiana.
The bill had already halted legislation amongst the Indiana House for the past two days. Governor Daniels, a Republican, stated that he will not send state police to corral the democrats. He expects that the fleeing party will return to their House duties once the bill dies, but hopes that this sort of turmoil does not catch on with other bills. The Governor also reiterated his opinion that 2011 is not the year for the right-to-work bill to be negotiated.
An extended absence of 14 democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin continues over a similar proposal given last week. ABC News reports that the fleeing politicians will face little legal or political consequence because the state constitution prohibits lawmakers from being arrested during a period of legislation unless they are being accused of "treason, felony or breach of the peace."
A newly proposed collective bargaining bill in Ohio has also been met with strong criticism by democrats of the state. The opposition states that not only does the bill undercut workers' rights, it fails to address the state's $8-billion-dollar deficit problems.
An eye is also being kept on Idaho. A ban on project labor agreements in public works construction contracts has passed Senate and received a great deal of political backing, but while it sits on the Governor's desk, the state's many union workers voice their opposition to the bill. State republicans claim the bill will level the playing field between union and public workers, but democrats argue that the bill makes it even easier for union workers to claim state contracts.
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