We knew this would happen. We said as much after a Statehouse study committee began debating “right-to-work” legislation last summer.

House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, who led Democrats on a five-week walkout over the issue last year, said on his Facebook page July 26 it “did not work during the 2011 legislative session, it won’t work in this interim between sessions, and it won’t work if [Republicans] try to sneak ‘right to work’ into law in 2012.”

The South Bend Democrat concluded, “... Indiana House Democrats will do everything in their power to focus the public’s attention on this horrible idea, and make sure that the people of Indiana have every chance to stop it in its tracks.”

We suspected then that “everything” included yet another walkout, despite a $1,000-a-day fine that could be levied against lawmakers who deny a quorum by way of “legislative bolting.” We told readers to expect another work stoppage at the Statehouse in 2012.

Wednesday, all but three House Democrats skipped the 2012 session’s scheduled start. They stalled House business again Thursday.

Bauer and the Democrats must return to chambers, and soon. There’s still time to recapture the momentum they had built against a bill banning unions and companies from negotiating contracts that require nonmembers to pay fees.

Gov. Mitch Daniels Wednesday rescinded new policies for visiting the Statehouse this session. He recognized, belatedly, the new rules appeared to be a contrived way of keeping union protesters away from their legislators.

Locally, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and House Republican Caucus failed to send representatives to a right-to-work forum we co-sponsored Tuesday. Indiana Chamber vice president Tom Schuman told us “there had been no confirmation that we definitely would have someone available to participate” and advocate for right to work.

Yet, the organization’s director of public relations, Rebecca Patrick, phoned organizer Pat Munsey the Chamber’s regrets – 90 minutes before the event.

These “misunderstandings” look as though right-to-work proponents don’t want to debate its merits. Independent sources tell us as many as nine House Republicans will vote no on right to work.

To flush out those reluctant Republicans, to air protesters’ concerns, Democrats must debate the issue in committee and on the floor of the House.

 

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