GOP lawmakers to pursue "right to work" legislation in 2012 session

Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long announced Monday the Indiana General Assembly will pursue "right to work" legislation during the 2012 session.


It was the lasting image of last year's legislative session.

House Democrats fled to Champaign, Ill. for almost six weeks.  It was a move that served its purpose for Democrats: House Republicans did not have the quorum they needed.  Ultimately, the “right to work” legislation did not pass.

However, Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long announced Monday the Indiana General Assembly will pursue “right to work” legislation during the 2012 session.

"We are going to do our very best to create an environment where policymakers can hear the truth, not just who is yelling the loudest, the most adamant, but where talk on this issue can be heard," said Bosma.

Bosma, joined by Long, unveiled House Bill 1001.  Long will introduce a carbon copy of the bill in the Senate.

"There's really only one word that defines why we're here today – jobs,” said Long. “It's about jobs, it's all about jobs."

Meanwhile, House Democrats kicked off their own agenda for 2012, called the "Helping Hoosiers Now Plan."  

They also took shots at the GOP, and the party's push for “right to work.”

"Their enthusiasm about it is sort of a symbol,” said Scott Pelath, District 5 Representative.  “The only thing they can think of to create jobs is to drive down people's wages."

House Speaker Pat Bauer said he is not ruling out another trip to Champaign in 2012 if Democrats feel it is necessary.

"We will react at the appropriate time to whatever actions are being taken and deal with it then," said House Minority Leader Pat Bauer.

Supporters of the legislation said it is pro-business, and would keep more jobs from leaving the state. However, critics said the result will be out-of-state workers, willing to make less money, taking jobs away from union members.

The Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) announced their support of the legislative leadership’s decision that enactment of “right to work” legislation will be advanced in the 2012 session.

“Our employment picture is better than the June 2009 peak of 10.9 percent unemployment (we’re now at 8.9 percent), but we are range bound, fluctuating between the unacceptable unemployment rate of 8 to 9 percent,” said IMA President Patrick Kiely. “It is much worse for youth and veterans. A recent analysis of the unemployment rate for returning veterans is more than 23 percent, and that will continue to rise as we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Add potential significant defense spending reductions and the number could soar. Since 2008, times have changed dramatically; and our current problems require different solutions. The question for all of us is–should we do everything possible to help create and retain jobs? If the answer is yes, Indiana must take the next major leap to make sure we have every economic development tool in our toolbox.”

Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb also supported Bosma and Long’s decision saying, “We applaud Speaker Bosma and Senator Long for taking on this issue in the face of the certain protests, obstruction, and Democrat antics to come."

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