Indiana House Democrats Blocking Open Competition for Public Construction

0 March 14, 2011  School Construction, State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

While much of the national media attention has focused on Wisconsin, lawmakers in Indiana have also fled across state lines to keep the newly elected majority in the state House of Representatives from having the opportunity to conduct the people’s business.

In Indiana, the Democrats initially left town over proposed Right-to-Work legislation, which would have allowed private sector workers to avoid paying union dues as a condition of their employment. This would have given thousands of Hoosiers the opportunity to choose whether to join a union, instead of having that choice made for them. Union membership would no longer be required of individuals hired by unionized employers.

This may seem like a relatively common sense change to many, particularly when you consider the way Right-to-Work states have economically outpaced their counterparts over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, Right-to-Work laws deprive Big Labor of the dues money that they would otherwise collect if all employees were forced to pay union dues and as a result, Right-to-Work legislation is Big Labor’s proverbial “Public Enemy Number 1.” When it looked like the Indiana House of Representatives was poised to pass their Right-to-Work bill, the Democrats did what lawmakers from their side of the aisle seem to do best – fled to another state.

After the House Democrats split for Illinois, the Republicans took the Right-to-Work bill off the table. Unfortunately, the Democrats were emboldened and produced a list of 10 other bills that the House majority and Governor Mitch Daniels (R) would need to promise not consider for the remainder of session before the Democrats would return to Indianapolis. One of these bills is H.B. 1216, which would prohibit the use of wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreements (PLAs) on public projects in Indiana.

Here at, we have gone out of our way not to comment on the issues surrounding the public employee unions in Wisconsin. While our sister blog, Halt the Assault, has been vocal in its concern for expense public sector unions impose on taxpayers and the power they exert on lawmakers, we have tried to stay focused on PLAs and similar Big Labor schemes. Unfortunately, we would be remiss if we didn’t comment on the abdication of responsibility that is taking place in Indianapolis right now, as it is depriving taxpayers of the opportunity to get the best construction at the best price on public projects.

The Democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives are entering the fourth week of their walkout. For the last 28 days, this chamber of the Indiana General Assembly has failed to do the people’s business. Instead, representatives are doing Big Labor’s wishes.

As President Obama reminded Republicans and America during the 2009 health care debate, “He won.”  In other words, elections have consequences. In Indiana, Democrats at the state level were routed in the last election. Prior to the 2010 election, Democrats held a four seat majority. In November, Hoosiers gave the Republicans a 20-seat majority and sent a message that business as usual is no longer acceptable in their state capital.

Taking your ball and leaving town is not a responsible legislative tactic. The House Democrats MUST return to Indianapolis and do the work they were elected to do.

And here at, we thank the Indiana Republicans for standing up for taxpayers and the 72 percent of Indiana’s private construction workforce that chooses not to join a labor organization.  We urge them to stand strong and force the Democrats to do their job.

Also, check out ABC of Indiana Chapter President J.R. Gaylor’s column from the Indy Star for more information on the legislation to ban wasteful and discriminatory PLAs on taxpayer funded work in Indiana.

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