By Jacob Rund
Gov. Mike Pence said Friday that Indiana continues to be a right-to-work state, even though a Lake County Circuit Court judge has refused to stay a ruling declaring the state’s right-to-work law unconstitutional.
On Thursday, Circuit Judge George Paras – who issued the ruling last month deeming Indiana’s right-to-work statute unlawful – denied Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s request to postpone the decision’s effective date until an appeals court considers the issue.
After speaking at a meeting of the Indianapolis Kiwanis Club, Pence spoke about Paras’s refusal to issue the stay and it’s implications for the state.
“We really do believe, given other court decisions, that Indiana’s right to work law is on a solid constitutional and legal foundation and we continue to support efforts to defend that law,” Pence said. “Indiana is a right to work state and we are going to continue to work to advance that in our state.”
Pence said Thursday he would support Zoeller’s efforts to “defend this statute and continue to tell Indiana’s story.”
Paras’s ruling comes on the heels of a 2013 ruling by another Lake County Circuit Court judge who also found the right-to-work law to be unconstitutional. The state’s highest court will hear oral arguments on the issue Sept. 4.
“Since both cases on appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court involve the same issues, the state hopes to see the cases consolidated and a stay in effect for both, to avoid inconsistency,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general. “We hope the two cases can be arranged procedurally in an efficient manner – and will file motions to that effect soon in the Indiana Supreme Court.”
Pence said Indiana’s right-to-work statute has contributed to the state’s job growth and is a large part of the state’s regionally low unemployment rate – 5.9 percent in June and July of this year.
“There is no question that Indiana’s economy is on the move, and our willingness to recognize economic freedom in the workplace and the ability of on individual to choose whether or not they join a union is a part of a success story in Indiana that we want to continue to advance,” Pence said. “The fact that Indiana recognizes the right to work has been a tremendous part of our ability to attract increased investment in the state.”
Jacob Rund is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.