Dems Leave Indiana House, Stalling GOP Labor Bills

By Tom Davies | February 22, 2011 | 4:11 PM EST

Indianapolis (AP) - Indiana House Democrats have taken a cue from counterparts in Wisconsin, leaving the Statehouse and stalling action on a GOP-backed labor bill.

Only three of 40 House Democrats were in the chamber when Republican Speaker Brian Bosma tried to convene Tuesday morning, leaving it short of the two-thirds needed for a quorum. They hadn't returned by mid-afternoon.

Rep. Terri Austin of Anderson says her fellow Democrats were "together and working" when she last saw them but didn't know whether they remained in Indianapolis.

The labor bill would prohibit union representation fees from being a condition of employment at most companies.

Wisconsin's Senate hasn't been able to take up a measure to strip nearly all public employees' bargaining rights since that body's Democrats left the state last Thursday.