INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Democrats planned to end their off-and-on boycott of the state House Wednesday in a move that could open the way for Republicans to call a final vote on the divisive right-to-work legislation that prompted the walkout.
Democrats will attend the House's 1:30 p.m. session, but have not yet decided if they will stick around if Republicans call for a final vote on the right-to-work bill, said Democratic Rep. Linda Lawson, a member of Democratic House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer's leadership team.
Most House Democrats have been staying away since the start of the 2012 session, denying Republicans a quorum to vote on plans to make Indiana the 23rd state that bans unions from collecting mandatory representation fees.
Republicans have levied $4,000 in fines against each of the boycotting Democrats thus far, although an ongoing legal challenge has blocked them from collecting those penalties.
By boycotting eight out of the 14 days the House has met this year, Democrats have also created a backlog of other priorities, such as a proposed statewide smoking ban and a plan to crack down on human sex-trafficking before the Super Bowl kicks off in Indianapolis Feb. 5.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma has said he plans to work on other measures that have been backlogged in the House before taking a final vote on right-to-work. Sticking to that schedule could give the returning Democrats another chance to block the measure.
Bosma spokeswoman Tory Flynn said Wednesday he plans to stick to that schedule.