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STATEHOUSE REPORT FROM REP. NANCY DEMBOWSKI

January 16, 2012
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01/16/12 To date, one group has been shut out of the debate over “right to work for less”: the people of Indiana.

            Since the start of the 2012 legislative session, there have been obvious attempts to curtail the public’s right to know about an idea that has a documented history of failing to create jobs, cutting worker pay, and making workplaces more dangerous.

            There was the failed attempt to shut off public access to their Indiana Statehouse, a proposal so oppressive that even the governor decided it was too much and got rid of it.

            Earlier this week, the chairman of the House committee hearing the “right to work for less” legislation (House Bill 1001) forced approval of the measure without accepting any public debate and refusing to allow proposals to amend it.

            Public access to the Statehouse then was restricted for the governor’s State of the State speech. Thousands of people who came to the seat of our state government were run through security, then herded into restricted areas of the Statehouse, supposedly because officials were worried these folks might disrupt the speech. Many still were able to make their voices heard, only to be accused of being disrespectful and loud.

            By any reasonable standards, these efforts run against the idea of a government for the people. These restrictions have not been placed on the lobbyists for the big business special interests who want “right to work for less.” These highly-paid mouthpieces can waltz through security and are eagerly led to preferred seating for committee meetings.

            It makes a person think that the powerful interests who want “right to work for less” don’t want the public to know the hazards of implementing this radical plan, which has been proven to lower paychecks of working families by as much as $5,000 per year.

            Opinion polls have indicated that half of all Hoosiers are undecided about “right to work for less.” I believe the special interests want the people of Indiana to remain in the dark, which is why they are attempting to pass this legislation as quickly as possible…before the Super Bowl brings a national audience to Indianapolis in early February.

            The answer to this dilemma is obvious.

            We need to have a public referendum on the ballot this November asking the people to decide if they want “right to work for less” in Indiana.

            Over the past couple of weeks, public meetings and town halls have taken place across our state to better educate Hoosiers about the implications of “right to work for less.” The more people find out about it, the less they like it. Even small business owners are finding they will pay a heavy price if this policy becomes law.

            We need to stop this confusion. A public question on “right to work for less” in this fall’s election will give both sides of the issue a chance to fully educate the people. They will make the choice.

            Of course, this will not be the choice of the big business interests who want “right to work for less.” Secrecy and half-truths guide their actions, and they don’t want you to know what is at risk here.

            Debate on changing House Bill 1001 is expected to begin in the Indiana House as early as Tuesday (January 17).

            Until then, I need your help to make sure the public has a voice in deciding the future of “right to work for less.” I believe a referendum is supported by a majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in both chambers…as well as the people of Indiana.                                   

            Help me help you have a voice on this critical issue. Let me know what you think:

            Call the toll-free Statehouse telephone number of 1-800-382-9842;

            Write to me in care of the Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204; or

            E-mail me at H17@in.gov.

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