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Fallout From Indiana House Boycott Assessed

Indiana House lawmakers are back at work, racing against the clock to craft a state budget, draw new legislative districts and complete other business that was stalled by a five-week Democratic boycott.Most Democrats fled to Urbana, Illinois last month to protest the GOP legislative agenda, mainly bills that would place more restrictions on labor unions. They returned to the Statehouse Monday afternoon. "There will be some short-term victories for both sides. Democrats have already won some victories in the battle for getting right-to-work off the table, and Republicans will certainly win by being able to pass some of these other bills that are on the agenda," said Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of the newsletter Indiana Legislative Insight. He says voters will ultimately decide next year who won the standoff.Feigenbaum says he believes many freshmen Republican lawmakers who make up the new House majority were too aggressive in trying to push through their agenda.He points out that they ignored Republican Governor Mitch Daniels’ early advice to not bring up a so-called right-to-work bill this session because it would be too disruptive. House committee approval of the measure triggered the walkout.The bill would prohibit making union membership a condition of employment. It’s been shelved for the session.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.