IBJNews

Democrats plan legal challenge to Indiana House fines

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana House Republicans are hoping $1,000-a-day fines they voted to impose Wednesday break the boycott by Democratic legislators who are fighting the divisive right-to-work bill.

House Democrats are challenging the new fines in court. Republicans voted to impose the fines Wednesday morning while most of the Democratic representatives gathered in the Statehouse Rotunda surrounded by cheering labor union supporters instead of showing up in the chamber.

The Republicans voted to approve the fines as part of a resolution that accused the boycotting Democrats of "dereliction of their duty." The only shouts of "no" in the voice vote came from among the five Democratic representatives not taking part in the boycott.

Most of the 40 House Democrats have prevented legislative action for five of the 10 days that the House has tried to meet for its 2012 session — typically by remaining in closed-door meetings in conference rooms around the Statehouse.

They resumed their walkout Tuesday after questions arose about the constitutionality of the statewide referendum they're seeking on proposed amendments to the bill, which bans employment contracts with mandatory union fees. At that point, Republican Speaker Brian Bosma said fines would begin if not enough Democrats showed up for the amendment debate on Wednesday.

Bosma rejected the Democrats' request for more time for lawyers to draft a revised referendum amendment.

"We've given them an extensive amount of time; they asked for it and we gave it to them," Bosma said Wednesday. "Now there is another item they need more time on. It's just a delay tactic."

The Democrats began their Rotunda meeting surrounded by a few hundred union supporters, with several dozen more watching from the balconies above.

"We are simply asking Brian Bosma to hold House Bill 1001 (right-to-work) so we can get an amendment presented on the floor so the people of the state of Indiana have a voice," Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, said to cheers from union protesters.

A legal challenge of the fines by Democrats would be similar to one pending in court regarding smaller fines imposed on Democratic legislators who took part in last year's five-week boycott over a version of the right-to-work proposal and other Republican-backed labor bills.

House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer said the court challenge could be filed as soon as later Wednesday.

Bosma said he intended to begin withholding the fines immediately from the paychecks of those boycotting and that he believes the deductions are legal.

Bauer said Democratic lawyers were working on a new proposal for a statewide referendum after a review by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, which drafts bills for lawmakers and provides legal advice, found that the Indiana Constitution "does not include a referendum option" and that it is unlikely voters could have the final say on statewide legislation.

That opinion is being used to sway Republican legislators who might support holding a referendum to vote against it on the House floor, Bauer said.

"When you tell somebody that it's unconstitutional, that's a pretty good argument not to vote for it," he said. "I know members over there think the public should have an opportunity. This just threw a bomb into the middle of the proceedings."

Several of the boycotting Democrats took part in committee meetings held around the Statehouse after two failed attempts at a floor session Wednesday, but Bosma turned down an offer from Bauer that Democrats would return to the House on bills other than the right-to-work proposal.

"Their job is to get here and do the work that's before all of us," Bosma said. "Not dictate the agenda, not dictate the schedule, not make demands as though this is some sort of labor negotiation ... and then go on strike when they don't get their way."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Right to Work
    Let's see, the dems got to submit their proposal and learned they didn't have enough lawyers involved to make it work, now they want to do it again or they are going to go out in the hall and stomp around and be mad. These are adult, elected representatives folks. And now they are going to file a law suit becuase they are not being paid due to their temper tantrum. Perhaps they should just resign and go home.

    Bunch of cry babies........

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

ADVERTISEMENT