INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana becoming a right-to-work state still appears inevitable, but exactly when the legislation would be signed into law — and what it will look like — is now unclear.
According to some reports, a deal has been struck between Republicans and Democrats in the Indiana House that would delay passage of the House version of an right-to-work bill (House Bill 1001) until at least late next week. The agreement apparently involves allowing the Democrats to sound-off at a full hearing over the legislation in exchange for them promising not to walk out.
That report will either be verified or repudiated by what takes place in the House on Thursday. There are other reasons, however, to predict that movement of the legislation may be slowed.
As first reported by Capitol Confidential late Monday, an amendment, or amendments, are pending that could potentially exempt some trade unions from the effects of the right-to-work measure. It now appears that the Republicans (who hold majorities in both the House and Senate) are anticipating that it could take weeks to work out the complications of these potential amendments and coordinate them between the two chambers.
Capitol Confidential asked one well-placed source if the legislation might just sit on the legislative calendars for two or three weeks.
“That’s a good possibility,” the source responded. “Leadership won’t try to move it until everything is ready.”
When the Democrats showed up on the Indiana House floor Monday, the biggest obstacle in the way of Indiana becoming an right-to-work state seemed to have been avoided. What’s more, when the House Democrats showed up Wednesday it allowed a key procedural step to take place that would theoretically have allowed the full House to take a vote on House Bill 1001 this week.
Later, however, the story surfaced that the reason the Democrats had cooperated Wednesday was part of the agreement for a full hearing and delayed vote.
In practical terms, the Democrats could delay, but not prevent, the legislative process. Democrats face $1,000 per-day fines if they prevent the House from reaching the required 67-member quorum by not coming to work. But the way the penalties are assessed, they could deny the quorums periodically without being fined.