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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. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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