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Right-to-work boycott fines put on hold by Indiana high court

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The state Supreme Court placed on hold Wednesday all legislative fines against Democrats who boycotted the Indiana House during the right-to-work battle until it rules on whether it's legal for those fines to be deducted from their paychecks.

The court directed in an order signed by Chief Justice Randall Shepard that none of the $1,000-a-day fines levied this year against boycotting Democrats can be collected and none of the fines deducted for last year's five-week boycott can be returned to Democrats despite an order from a Marion County judge.

Majority House Republicans fined most House Democrats $4,000 for their January boycotts that left the House with too few members on several days as they tried to slow action the right-to-work bill that gained final legislative approval last week.

Mark GiaQuinta, a lawyer for the House Democrats, said he was pleased the Supreme Court had decided to take on the case and deny a request by the state attorney general's office to immediately allow deduction of this year's fines to begin.

"The court agreed with us that the denial of this method of collection until the appeal is heard in full does not constitute an emergency," GiaQuinta said.

State Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican, has maintained that handling of the fines isn't a matter for the courts.

"Under the constitutional separation of powers the legislative branch is where the dispute over legislative fines ultimately should be decided, but to redirect it there requires this necessary first step at the Indiana Supreme Court," Zoeller said.

The Supreme Court didn't immediately set any deadlines for legal filings or schedule any hearings in the case.

Last week, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the right-to-work legislation, making Indiana the 23rd state to ban contracts between companies and labor unions that require all covered workers to pay fees.

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  • Whaitaminit!
    Neither side should be ordering champagne just yet. The court has several choices: 1) agree that the fines are proper, but the collection method isn't (the original decision by the Marion Circuit court); The Legislature has the right and power to set its own rules, so quit whining, Dems; or something else. It's entirely possible that Justice Shepard and Friends could come up with something neither side would like - or that's even worse than a $1000/day fine... say, for example, that being a no-show for more than five continuous days constitutes a voluntary vacating of office, and a new Representative needs to be appointed or elected to fill the vacancy; meanwhile, the vacant seat(s) mean there are fewer Representatives needed to make a quorum! So, reserve judgement until Mr. Shepard rules.

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  1. Why should I a home owner pay for this"car sharing" ????

  2. By the way, the right to work law is intended to prevent forced union membership, not as a way to keep workers in bondage as you make it sound, Italiano. If union leadership would spend all of their funding on the workers, who they are supposed to be representing, instead of trying to buy political favor and living lavish lifestyles as a result of the forced membership, this law would never had been necessary.

  3. Unions once served a noble purpose before greed and apathy took over. Now most unions are just as bad or even worse than the ills they sought to correct. I don't believe I have seen a positive comment posted by you. If you don't like the way things are done here, why do you live here? It would seem a more liberal environment like New York or California would suit you better?

  4. just to clear it up... Straight No Chaser is an a capella group that formed at IU. They've toured nationally typically doing a capella arangements of everything from Old Songbook Standards to current hits on the radio.

  5. This surprises you? Mayor Marine pulled the same crap whenhe levered the assets of the water co up by half a billion $$$ then he created his GRAFTER PROGRAM called REBUILDINDY. That program did not do anything for the Ratepayors Water Infrastructure Assets except encumber them and FORCE invitable higher water and sewer rates on Ratepayors to cover debt coverage on the dough he stole FROM THE PUBLIC TRUST. The guy is morally bankrupt to the average taxpayer and Ratepayor.

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