Indiana House Democratic Leader B. Patrick Bauer of South Bend issued the following statement today on a compromise reached at the Indiana Statehouse and the return of House Democrats after a standoff that lasted more than a month:
"Today we can announce compromises that are great steps forward for working Hoosiers. The principled stand by House Democrats forced concessions by the House Republicans that reflected the concerns expressed by so many people who came to the Statehouse in recent weeks.
"The timeout forced by Democrats gave Hoosiers an opportunity to examine the radical agenda being attempted in Indiana and to speak out. We've protected working people from a march to the minimum wage. We've protected collective bargaining rights for Hoosier workers and teachers. We've softened the blow to public schools and prevented passage of a bill for the private takeover of public schools. This timeout gave millions of Hoosiers a real voice in their state government.
"We are appreciative that the Speaker was willing to reach out to us and make compromises that address the most serious concerns. We are hopeful that we can continue to work and find common ground.
"These compromises are not perfect. Democrats aren't bound to vote for them, and we will make an effort to continue to amend the proposals before us. But, this is something to work with and we are headed back to Indianapolis to do just that."
The provisions of the compromise include:
– Right-to-work legislation is off the table, preserving collective bargaining rights;
– The permanent ban on public employee bargaining is off the table in the House;
– Enabling legislation for private takeover of public schools is off the table in the House;
– Private school vouchers will be limited to 7,500 students in the first year and 15,000 in the second year, rather than the largest voucher program in the nation the Republicans originally wanted;
– Rather than an outright ban of Project Labor Agreements as Republicans wanted, PLAs still can be included with projects passed by public referendum; and
– The threshold for applying the common construction wage to projects would be $250,000 for 2012 and $350,000 for 2013, rather than the job-killing $1 million threshold the Republicans wanted.