Indiana Education Bill Standoff Continues
Indiana Budget Bill Goes Farther than Wisconsins': State Dem Walkout
Indiana's state Democrats are continuing their walkout on the Republican-backed budget bill vote. Similar to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget bill, the Indiana labor bill also would deprive unions of their collective-bargaining rights, but would also affect unions organized at private companies. The "right-to-work bill" so called because it would also allow employees to work as non-union in union workplaces, was effectively killed by the Democrat walkout.
However, the Dems are still hanging out in Illinois. Why? Because their beef isn't just with the labor bill, but with an education bill as well.
Indiana Assembly Fractured over Education Reform
Gov. Mitch Daniels also introduced a series of education reform bills which earmarks money for private-school vouchers, rather than for improving the public school system. These are House Bills 1001, 1002, 1003, 1479, and 1584. Teachers have showed up at the state capitol building in Indianapolis to protest the changes, which they say will effectively cripple the already-floundering public school system.
With 60 members in the House, Republicans have a controlling majority, but they're short of the number they need to start floor sessions and need to have a few Democrats on hand. Ever since the dispute over labor legislation blew up this month, Democrats have been staying in Illinois, outside the range of the speaker's authority to get them back to the Statehouse.
Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend, said people want better public schools, not a system that would send more children to private schools.
"They don't want to completely throw public schools away," Dvorak said. "We're draining hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools."
Neither Daniels nor Speaker of the Assembly Brian Bosma will make any move to compel the Democrats to return to Indiana.