Daniels Touts Indiana’s Economic Progress, Urges Passage of “Right-to-Work”

by Rick Howlett on January 10, 2012

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels delivered his eighth and final State of the State address to the General Assembly tonight.

Daniels spent much of his 30-minute speech touting what he considers the state’s major accomplishments, including financial solvency in the midst of a recession, and advances in education and transportation.

The Republican governor also called on lawmakers to pass a GOP-led labor bill that has sparked union demonstrations and a boycott by House Democrats.

“The idea that no worker should be forced to pay union dues as a condition of keeping a job is simple is just. But the benefits in new jobs would be large, a third or more of growing or relocating businesses will not consider a state that does not provide workers this protection,” he said.

Many House Democrats sat out of legislative business again Tuesday over the so-called “right-to-work” measure. Some of them also skipped Daniels’ speech. They contend the policy would drive down wages and weaken organized labor.

Daniels also called on the legislature to pass a statewide smoking ban and tougher penalties for sex trafficking.

In her response to the speech, Senate Democratic Leader Vi Simpson said Daniels’ remarks did not meet her expectations.

“I’m disappointed that Governor Daniels did not take this opportunity to provide a message of bipartisanship and unity to help guide this legislative session. We also did not hear how the state is going to turn our economy around and ensure good paying jobs for Hoosiers, or how we’re going to improve our educational system to prepare a strong workforce for the future,” Simpson said in a statement.

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