NEW YORK (
) -- The majority of House Democrats in Indiana's state legislature didn't show up for Tuesday morning's session in order to avoid voting on a piece of legislation, according to a report from the
Only three of the 40 Democrats were in attendance to ensure that the House wouldn't be able to vote on the widely opposed bill, a tactic recently used by Senate Democrats in Wisconsin. Fifty-eight legislators in total were present, but the House needs 67 of its members to be present in order to vote on legislation.
The absent House Democrats intended to leave the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, the
reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. They were believed to have gone to Illinois.
The opposed bill, which is backed by most state Republicans, would eliminate or limit collective bargaining for a number of unions and companies.
House Speaker Brian Bosma said he didn't know whether the Indiana State Police would be involved in searching for the absent lawmakers.
He said Republicans are "counting on common sense and a sense of responsibility to prevail and that they would get back here and do the job that they were elected to do."
An estimated 4,000 union members gathered at the state house on Tuesday, according to the Indiana State Police, to rally in protest against the legislation.
Union supporters believe the measure, officially named House Bill 1468, would weaken their bargaining power because companies under collective bargaining agreements wouldn't be required to hire union members.
, where Senate Democrats have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote on a bill that limits collective bargaining.
on Tuesday to rally against state Senate Bill 5, which would eliminate collective bargaining rights of state employees, including teachers.
Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston
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