In what seems to be the new strategy by Democrats faced with bills limiting union members’ rights, all but three of the 40 Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives have fled the state to avoid having to vote on legislation they consider to be anti-union.
Although the exact whereabouts of the politicians is unknown, sources say they have gone to either Kentucky or Illinois, both states that have a Democratic governor.
Without the lawmakers in attendance in the House, the Democrats have effectively shut down the government process as long as there is not a quorum to conduct legislative sessions.
Sources say that Democrats have presented House Republicans with a list of 11 bills they want dropped before they return to work in the capital. The most high profile on the list is a measure that would make Indiana a right-to-work state, meaning employees could not be forced by their employer to join a union or pay dues if they so desired.
Other measures included labor and education related bills, and the state budget.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told the press that he would not send out the state police to round up the AWOL Democrat lawmakers, although he was highly critical of their behavior.
“The House Democrats have shown a complete contempt for the democratic process,” he said in a briefing on Tuesday afternoon. “The way that works-as we all learned in grade school-is that if you seek public office, you come, do your duty, you argue, you debate, you amend if you can, you vote ‘no’ if you feel you should.”
He added, “You don’t walk off the job, take your public paycheck with you, and attempt to bring the whole process to a screeching halt. You know, if they persist, the Democratic Party of Indiana will need a rebranding effort because this is as anti-democratic as behavior can be.”