Indiana To Adopt 'Right-To-Work' Measure

fromIPBS

The Indiana legislature looks certain to pass controversial "right-to work" legislation. Democrats in the state House have been trying to block the measure. The vote makes it all but certain that Indiana will become the first state to pass such legislation in a decade.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's go next to my home state of Indiana, where state lawmakers now look certain to pass controversial right-to-work legislation.

Democrats have been trying to block that bill. But yesterday it passed the state's Republican-controlled House. And so Indiana is poised to become the first state to approve this kind of legislation in a decade.

We have more from Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting.

BRANDON SMITH, BYLINE: Under right-to-work, employees in union shops would no longer be required to pay union fees. And the arguments made on each side Wednesday were the arguments that have been made for the last year.

Republican Representative Jerry Torr has authored right-to-work legislation in the House since 2004. Speaking on the House floor over the shouts of protesters, he says passing right-to-work is about helping unemployed Hoosiers.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

REPRESENTATIVE JERRY TORR: And I'm convinced that if we become right-to-work state, we'll have more opportunities to bring employers to Indiana, which will provide more opportunity for those folks to go to work.

SMITH: But opponents, primarily Democrats, say right-to-work will lower wages, reduce health benefits and worsen safety conditions.

Representative Kreg Battles says it's too great a risk.

REPRESENTATIVE KREG BATTLES: We are gambling with the lives of every single person sitting out that hallway.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BATTLES: We're gambling with the lives of my three grandsons.

SMITH: The bill now moves to the Indiana Senate. And that chamber has a Republican super majority, which means virtually nothing stands in the way of the bill's passage.

For NPR News, I'm Brandon Smith from Indianapolis.

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