Indiana Democrats won't return until bill is shelved

Democrats in the Indiana statehouse say they won't return from their self-imposed exile until Gov. Mitch Daniels promises that a bill limiting union fees won't move forward.

In a statement released to The Indianapolis Star Wednesday, the Democrats said they wouldn't come back from a hotel in Urbana, Ill., until Daniels (R) and the Indiana state House Speaker promise to shelve the legislation. The Democrats also want an education bill tabled.

"We will remain here until we get assurances from the governor and House Speaker Brian Bosma that these bills will not be called down in the House at any time this session. Our leader, state Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), is ready to talk to the Speaker any time. All the Speaker has to do is call," the statement said.

The bill the Indiana Democrats are protesting bars unions from negotiating contracts that require non-union members to pay fees. Without the Democrats, the State Legislature is unable to conduct legislative business.

The Democrats also praised Daniels in the statement for saying he would not send state police after the Democrats.

In Wisconsin, where Democrats in the State Legislature left the state in protest of a similar bill, Gov. Scott Walker (R) ordered law enforcement to try to bring back the Democrats who fled.

"We are pleased Gov. Daniels agrees with us that right to work does not need to be heard now, although it must be pointed out that he doesn't rule out future consideration of this issue," the statement said.

The protests in Wisconsin have been going on longer and are larger than the demonstrations in Indiana.