RTW reaches constitutional tipping point
By Rick Yencer
INDIANAPOLIS - Constitutional questions over a public referendum on the Right to Work law now has House Democrats on the defense about not wanting to vote until the issue was resolved..
Rep. Mike White, D-Muncie said he was ready to vote Tuesday on an amendment to put RTW to the voters until constitutional questions were raised about the measure prepared by the Legislative Services Agency..
"I am really mad right now," said White, after Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma threatened to fine Democrats if they did not show up for Wednesday's session.
White thought Bosma misdirected his anger at Democrats when LSA drafted amendments for Democrats and Republicans on the referendum. It's becoming apparent that state lawmakers might we ready to compromise and resolve the RTW issue given the Super Bowl is less than three weeks away and there are rumblings of walkouts by hotel workers. traffic slowdowns by truckers and NFL players opposing RTW as attacks against labor unions.,
White said constitutional issues with the referendum had to be resolved before the issue came up for a vote,.And House Minority Speaker Pat Bauer made it clear that House Democrats would come to the floor to conduct any other business. A handful of bills were passed Tuesday, and as many as 44 amendments were offered to the RTW bill.
Republican House members Bill Davis of Portland and Jack Lutz of Anderson have not issued statements since the start of the RTW debate,but both intend to pass it., And the Senate with its 37-13 Republican super majority is ready to do the same.
The referendum on RTW has widespread support, suggested by a recent poll by the Indiana AFL-CIO, That poll by Hart Research Associates of 500 registered voters Jan. 14-15 found only a third of those polled favored passage of RTW while 69 percent believe lawmakers should slow down the process to allow more debate.
The AFL-CIO also has blasted Gov.Mitch Daniels and his Republican supporters like Jim Bopp for funding those television commercials trying to sway voters to support not making payment of union dues mandatory for all when a majority votes in favor of representation.
A recent study by Ball State University economics professor Mike Hicks found RTW has no impact on industrial composition, manufacturing income, employment or wages,
"Right to work legislation is a politically tactile subject that has far reaching considerations and motivations," said Hicks. "Just as we found in recent weeks in the Indiana Legislature, whatever preconceived notion a group brings to the discussion, they are able to find a supportive theory."
So goes the RTW debate and Hicks' study that can be found on bsu.edu.com Hopefully the Legislature will soon learn that the voters should decide and not lawmakers. Indiana is among those states that does not allow voters to decide most issues.