Monday, January 09, 2012

House Democrats End Walkout Over Right To Work

House Democrats have decided to return to work today rather than pay $1,000 a day fines members of their caucus were facing if they didn't return to work today after staging a walkout last week to protest Republican lawmakers' efforts to pass right to work legislation during the upcoming session. Democrats tell the media their return is not because of the fines they face; rather, the delay and added public attention has helped turn public opinion against the legislation they claim.

Last year, Democrats walked out, denying the quorum needed to conduct business, and fled to a hotel in Urbana, Illinois for five straight weeks until Republican leadership in the House relented and agreed to remove right to work from last year's legislative calendar. House Republican leadership imposed tens of thousands of dollars of fines under House rules on the Democratic members that have been docked from their pay. Some Democratic lawmakers have filed lawsuits to contest the legality of the fines. Lawmakers passed an anti-bolting law in the aftermath of last year's debacle that permits the levying of $1,000 a day fines against lawmakers who walk out for more than three consecutive days. Democrats reached that three-day threshold last Friday.

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