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IN Senate committee advances Right to Work bill

Right to Work took its first step towards passage Friday as a committee passed it to the Senate floor. 

A joint House and Senate committee met for more than five hours, hearing testimony on both sides of the controversial issue.  Right to Work legislation bans union contracts that require non-union employees pay fees for representation.

State Senator Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury), the bill’s sponsor, says the issue boils down to whether Right to Work is good for Indiana

“And I’m here to propose that for those 9% of Hoosiers who are not working today as we sit here, this is absolutely the right thing for the state of Indiana. I strongly believe that by passing Right to Work, we will begin to be able to bring in new jobs into our great state and get those unemployed Hoosiers back to work.”

The committee heard essentially the same testimony the legislature has heard for the last year. State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) says he doesn’t think the hearing changed anyone’s mind:

“Nothing has been encouraging me that the case for Right to Work has been proven.”

Pensions and Labor Committee Chair and State Senator Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) did not allow senators to offer amendments during the hearing. State Senator Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute) thinks the issue is too unsettled to move forward yet.

“We’re on a quest here to find some facts, some concrete evidence that what you’re trying to do here is really going to be good for the state of Indiana.  And I don’t think that the folks who are pushing this has done a very good job. You think these things will happen and you have the statistics to prove it.  We have statistics to prove that it will not happen or it has not happened in [other Right to Work] states.  So I think we’re at a stalemate.”

The House committee that took part in the hearing could not vote because it did not officially have a bill to consider.  House Democrats remaining off the floor the first two days of session prevented the bill from being handed down to the committee.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.