Unlike Republicans in Wisconsin who rammed through extremely unpopular union-busting legislation and now face expensive recall campaigns, Republicans and Democrats in Indiana struck a deal that will bring the state’s so-called “right to work” bill to a vote after Democrats get more time to prepare amendments and holding a full debate on the bill.
Credit should be given to Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis who reached out to Democrats after watching a video of an earlier hearing that had rushed the measure through committee. The process, Bosma concluded, “did not reflect democracy’s finest hour.”
It is a small, but significant step in the right direction. Democrats still bear the burden of coming up with amendments that could be passed and ameliorate the bills worst provisions. Republicans hold a strong majority in Indiana and will therefore likely have the votes they need to pass the bill, and it remains to be seen if the rest of the legislature shares Bosma’s desire to legislate via compromise.
But they should. In fact, that is the whole point. Much like their leadership in Washington D.C., Republicans in Wisconsin and Ohio mistook a majority for mandate and forgot that in a democracy minority voices are supposed to have input in the governing process. Ramming legislation through to passage, without opportunity for a full public hearing and debate is not leadership in any real sense. It’s just a simple power grab, something Bosma in Indiana seems to understand.
Photo from Kheel Center, Cornell University via flickr.