(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Southeast Indiana’s state lawmakers are gearing up for the 2012 General Assembly.
While this session won’t require the legislature to approve a new state budget – that task is done once every two years – there will still be plenty for the representatives and senators to consider.
On Monday, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) joined in announcing passing right to work legislation will be their top priority.
Some aren’t so thrilled at the idea of making Indiana a right to work state. Members of the United Steelworkers union rallied outside the Statehouse Tuesday as lawmakers met inside.
Nancy Guyott, president of the Indiana AFL-CIO, said union members will be vocal throughout the upcoming session, as they were with a series of protests at the statehouse during the 2011 session.
“I am encouraging members to reach out both here and in the districts to their elected officials and let them know how this impacts them,” Guyott said.
House Minority Leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) has hinted that his caucus could walkout over the right to work issue, as they did for five weeks in 2011.
Bauer delivered Monday his own plan for creating jobs in Indiana without going after unions. House Democrats’ 23-page “Helping Hoosiers NOW” plan will focus on job creation, real education reform, and tax relief for families.
“In 2012, House Democrats will be proposing a series of ideas that are focused on specific goals: getting Hoosiers back to work, giving our children the quality education they deserve, and protecting families across this state,” Bauer detailed. “We do not believe that the current party in control of state government shares these ideals. We believe our plan offers the best way to help Hoosiers now, rather than later.”
“How do we protect Hoosier families? By stopping radical ideas like ‘right–to–work’ that only serve to lower wages and make workplaces less safe,” Bauer said.
District 67 Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) said he will get behind his party leadership’s cause in making Indiana the 23rd right to work state.
“Being a Right to Work state is a critical step to secure future jobs in Indiana and to establish a better livelihood for Hoosiers. We cannot afford to be overlooked for employment opportunities because Indiana isn’t a Right to Work state,” Frye said.
Since the Indiana Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that residents do not have the authority to resist illegal police entries into their homes, many lawmakers have sworn to counter that decision with legislation strengthening Fourth Amendment rights.
“Two important principles are at stake: the centuries-old understanding that citizens can defend their property from unlawful intrusion and the responsibility to minimize the dangers faced by police in fast-paced, complex criminal investigations. The General Assembly will pursue legislation that honors both principles,” said longtime State Senator Johnny Nugent (R-Lawrenceburg).
Entering his second session, District 68 Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) said strengthening the state’s economy and promoting job growth will be his top priorities. District 55 Rep. Tom Knollman (R-Liberty) echoed.
“This year, Organization Day set a positive tone for session and one that emphasizes putting Hoosiers back to work,” said Knollman. “I am looking forward to getting session underway and developing meaningful legislation that will help our state and District 55.”
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Tuesday the state’s unemployment rate was nine percent in October.
The 2012 General Assembly will convene January 4 and must complete its business by March 14.