By Chris Bowers / AlterNet / February 22, 2011
Mirroring events in Wisconsin, Democrats in the Indiana House have left the state to deny a quorum and block legislation that would strip collective bargaining rights.:
House Democrats are leaving the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, The Indianapolis Star has learned.
A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.
The House was came into session this morning, with only two of the 40 Democrats present. Those two were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.
With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present.
There are multiple anti-union bills moving through the Indiana legislature at this time. One, HB 1585, prohibits collective bargaining for public employees. Another, HB 1216, takes away collective bargaining rights on construction work even in the private sector.
Is this a winnable fight? Yes, given state history:
The last time a prolonged walk-out happened in the Indiana legislature was in the mid-1990s, when Republicans were in control and tried to draw new legislative district maps, eliminating a district that likely would have been a Democrat one, in the middle of the decade. Democrats won that standoff, staying away several days until Republicans dropped the plan.
The revolt against the Republican war on workers’ rights is spreading.