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Indiana House Democrats still refusing to work

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An Indiana House Democrat threatened Monday to continue the caucus's ongoing boycott "as long as it takes" to get changes made to Republican-backed proposals, even if their absence shuts down state government when the current budget expires in June.

Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, said Monday that Democrats are prepared to deny the House the quorum it needs to conduct business until Republicans agree to changes. If lawmakers don't pass a new budget by the time the current one expires June 30, most of state government would shut down.

"We will stay out for as long as it takes — if that's April 29th, if that's May 1st, if that's Dec. 31st," Goodin said. "We will stay out as long as we have to stay out. We will not give in ... we will compromise, but we will never surrender."

House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, told reporters over the phone from Urbana, Ill., that he didn't think Democrats would be back when Republicans try again to convene Tuesday. But he said Democrats are considering their options "day by day" and he wouldn't yet predict a government shutdown. The Democrats fled to Illinois Feb. 22 to boycott proposals they consider an assault on labor unions and public schools.

"I am hopeful we'll remedy this," Bauer said. "I believe this can be done. It's not that difficult."

So far neither side is budging. Democrats say they'll stay out until Republicans negotiate changes to several bills. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, has repeatedly said he refuses to be bullied into taking GOP-backed items off the House agenda and says he won't hash out a backroom deal with Bauer.

"These matters will be settled on the floor of the House," Bosma said. "We need them to get back here."

The current legislative session is slated to end April 29. If lawmakers don't pass a budget by the time they adjourn, Gov. Mitch Daniels could call a special session to get a budget in place. If Democrats continued their boycott during a special session, it could eventually lead to a government shutdown on July 1.

Goodin — one of three Democrats at the Statehouse Monday — said blame for any potential shutdown shouldn't fall on Democrats. He said it's Bosma's responsibility to negotiate a compromise.

"The speaker of the House will be the person who shuts down this government," Goodin said.

Bosma had little to say about Goodin's statement other than it was the 39 boycotting Democrats who were causing the House to stop business.

"I keep kidding myself with confidence that they're going to return and conduct the business they were elected to conduct and end the strike and get back to work," Bosma said.

Bosma said he didn't talk to House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, over the weekend. Bosma said he's initiated five phone calls to Bauer since the boycott began, and Bauer has not initiated any phone calls to him. Bosma said he did send Democrats a letter explaining $250-a-day individual fines that would be imposed on absent members beginning Monday, but hadn't heard anything back.

Bauer said he would try to contact Bosma Tuesday to talk.

Bosma and Bauer met last week in an open door meeting both sides called positive, but the talk ended without any agreement and Bauer returned to Illinois.

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  • taxpayer
    The Democrats and Republicans have both been playing fast and loose with the taxpayers money. After all the state employees are payed with tax money. They then pay union dues which buys politicans who then grant ploitical favors to the public workers. Yes, it's corrupt. But until someone stops them, that's just how it is.
  • Here's an idea
    If this childish refusal to accept the results of the will of the people continues, you might be able to get so many Republics elected that you can get a quorum without ANY Democrats.

    That would be People Power. As things stand, they are giving the people of Indiana the collective finger, with a few, very loud, very abusive gangsters as exceptions.
  • Elections?
    Is there some provision in the Indiana Constitution to deal with non-show legislators? Like maybe declare the seats vacant, and hold a special election to fill them?
  • old news
    Enough with all the complaining about the runaway Dems - while the media loves a story that "keeps on giving" we are spending far too much time and energy reading and talking about these irresponsible and soon-to-be irrelevant union puppets. A better approach is to just ignore them and let them enjoy their little pity party in Illinois, and hope they stay there until the 2012 elections, at which time we can all express our disappointment and outrage in a very meaningful way - at the ballot box!!! Speaker Bosma has tried to do the people's work - now it is time to stop all the rhetoric and turn words into actions next November...
    • Seat of IN Goverment
      Since when is IN gov't negotiated at a motel or Bob Evans in IL. IN gov't is dabated and negotiated in INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. Either get to work or stay away without pay forever. How do spouses, children, and other family members feel about the behavior of these people who were elected? I wonder if they would allow their children to behave like this? Will their children boycott school if their teacher gives them a grade they do not agree with?
    • Sad Days for Indiana
      Too bad they can't all be fired. Start with the Democrats who think we owe them a living. Then follow up by firing most of the Republicans who couldn't see this coming and did nothing about it. Get rid of all these free loaders NOW!
    • Still Wrong
      The Democrats are so far off base that they will burn down their own house and still not make a point. Just thnk of all the years that they have controlled office and the Republicans did not skip their job responsibilities. What a statement these losers are making to the residents that elected them. The funniest part is how they are blaming the Republicans. Now how funny will it be when the state shuts down. Again I say it is time to look at impeachment. I think it is crimminal how they are burning tax dollars this way and looking to crash our government. Hopefully they will move thier permanant residency across the border as well.
    • Full support
      Keep up the great work republicans.
      The issue is forcing people to join a union and pay dues to be employed, that's wrong. Just like forcing people to buy health care, the Democrats are wrong on this one.
      They are also the minority because most people agree with what I'm saying here.

    • You're kidding Iregan
      who but these selfish whiners get to not go to work AND keep their jobs. Then the they have the gaul to say it's the Republicans fault? Who left? Since when does the minority get to dictate what teh majority want? There is a reason the Democrats lost a large number of seats in the last election.
    • What if this were you job?
      I don't know how anyone can support this bill or faults the Democrats for standing their ground. This bill is just wrong, Indiana was built by these Union workers who put their hard earn money into your businesses.
      • COMMUNICATION
        Just like in a family, when a conversation starts and no one responds, no one is acknowledge, the problem continues because there is no communication. Whether you are republican or democrat, 'Communication' must be kept open! How are you going to solve anything if daddy and mommy are not listening to each other! TALK, COMPROMISE AND PUT THE CHILD IN BED!
      • Indiana House Democrats
        The actions of the 39 have crossed the line to criminal and if they want to wait it out let them do it in jail. I think 6 months would be a good start and then see where they stand. Then start impeachment procedings against each of them and do not give them any breaks... They don't seem to want to help the people they were elected to serve so lets help them OUT!
      • Not Voting Democrat
        After this little stunt I will not vote for an Indiana democrat for a long time. Get over it. You are the minority. I hope they loose enough seats next election to prevent this from happening.

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      1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

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