Most Indiana Democrats have stayed away from the opening of the state House session out of protest for a bill they say is harmful to unions. Still, a committee held a hearing on the bill Friday.

Most Indiana Democrats were absent from the House floor in Indianapolis Friday, the third day of session they skipped to protest a proposed bill they say is harmful to unions.

But their absence Friday did not prevent a House committee from hearing more than five hours of testimony on the bill in question, which would ban negotiations between a union and company if workers are forced to pay fees for representation.

The committee ended the day by voting to send the bill to the House for a full vote, which Republicans say will happen next week. However, a quorum in that chamber is needed for the vote. Actions by Democrats suggest they are not worried about the fines, at $1,000 per day per lawmaker, that they face for not showing up.

Republicans will get their vote, but it’s a matter of when, says Brian Vargus, a political scientist at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Democrats are reluctant to give the Republican majority a victory because it may weaken union support.

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