January 18, 2012 / 10:25 PM / in 6 years

Indiana Democrats boycott state House, face fines

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Indiana Republicans voted on Wednesday to fine Democratic state representatives $1,000 per day if they stay away from full sessions in a boycott aimed at delaying action on proposed right-to-work legislation.

Democrats held a rally in the House rotunda on Wednesday instead of attending the legislative session, leaving it short of the numbers needed to conduct regular business.

House Minority Leader Pat Bauer said Democrats planned to fight the fines in court. Democrats are still fighting fines imposed last year when they left Indiana for five weeks over similar labor issues.

Republicans hold a 60-40 majority in the Indiana House and have proposed legislation to make Indiana the first state in the U.S. industrial heartland to adopt a right-to-work law. Indiana is home to numerous union and non-union auto plants.

Republicans also control the state Senate and governor’s office. Similar laws are in force in 22 states, mostly in the South and West.

Under the proposals, workers at union-represented workplaces would not be required to pay dues. Supporters say the move would attract jobs to Indiana, while opponents call it union-busting. There are 44 proposed amendments to the legislation.

Democrats want the right-to-work question to be decided by state referendum and have asked for time to craft a proposal.

Reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by David Bailey and Cynthia Johnston

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