Indiana lawmakers today held their organizational session in preparation for the 2012 General Assembly.
Hundreds of union members chanted outside the House and Senate chambers in opposition to Republican-led legislation that would make Indiana a so-called “right-to-work” state, where workers would not be required to pay union membership fees as a condition of employment.
It promises to be the most contentious issue of the 30-day session that begins in January.
In the Senate, Democratric Leader Vi Simpson urged lawmakers to steer clear of the partisanship that has caused dysfunction in Washington.
“The citizens ofIndianawant us to come to work, to do our job, and to speak to the issues that are important to them,” Simpson said during a brief floor speech.
Republicans control both chambers of the Indiana legislature.
In the House, Speaker Brian Bosma urged his colleagues to avoid political posturing.
“I pledge to every member of this body, regardless of what position you hold, what party you’re in, where you are in the state, that I will do everything I can to point us in the right direction,” he said.
Leaders of both parties have rolled out legislative agendas aimed at spurring job growth.