IBJNews

Judge removes Bosma from case over legislative walkout fines

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A Marion Superior judge has ruled that state courts don’t have the ability to interfere with the Indiana General Assembly’s constitutional authority to pass laws or its own internal rules, including how it compels attendance or imposes fines.

But Judge David Dreyer also ruled that if the legislative body is acting as an employer, then the state must adhere to state statute on employee-wage issues and those claims are ones that trial courts can consider.

In a five-page decision issued Tuesday, Dreyer kept alive a case filed in June after 39 Indiana House of Representatives Democrats were fined for a five-week walkout in February and March. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, used a House rule to assess fines against the Democrats who left the state in response to a proposed right-to-work bill. The fines were deducted from their legislative pay, and Rep. William Crawford, D-Indianapolis, brought suit to recoup  more than $3,000 taken in wages and retirement contributions by state Auditor Tim Berry.

The suit alleged that Indiana Code 22-2-8-1 prohibits employers from taking the fines out of paychecks. Attorneys for the defendants, including Bosma, argued that courts don’t have the authority to intervene in the internal affairs of a separate branch of government.

Dreyer agreed with the state’s argument.

“Indiana courts cannot interfere with the House’s ‘exclusive constitutional authority’ to pass laws, even if they violate other laws when doing so,” Dreyer wrote. “Similarly, this Court cannot interfere with the House’s ‘exclusive constitutional authority’ to compel attendance or determine a fine, even if it violates [Indiana code] when doing so.”

As a result of that determination, Dreyer dismissed Bosma as a party to the lawsuit.

But even when the House has “exclusive constitutional authority” to compel attendance and impose fines, Dreyer determined the courts can still interpret and enforce applicable Indiana statutes on wages because of its own “exclusive constitutional authority.” The judge found that the House fine affects statutorily protected employee compensation, which doesn’t fall within the legislative body’s exclusive power because the House is acting as an employer. That means Berry, the state auditor, remains as a defendant and the suit proceeds.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • It the actions had been part of the party platform...

    I don't like my elected officials to run without a platform stating they would take tax payer money and give to select private schools. When elected officials move to make major changes, without stating their intent at the time of the election is morally wrong. Walking away from the morally wrong actions is taking the high road. (But then, I am strongly against Mitch's giving the state to business and destruction of middle class.)
  • Ridiculous
    This lawsuit is a disgrace and the ruling is baloney. The Auditor is merely paying the employees at the direction of its department head, Bosma. To say the suit can proceed against the Auditor makes no sense whatsoever
  • Legislators Behavior
    As a citizen of the State of Indiana, I believe what the legislators did as to walking out and leaving the state. I think that it is a very immature way to behave and sets a very poor example to the youth and is a disgrace and lack of good faith to those who voted them into office. Lets grow up and assume our respnsibilities like adults even if we don't agree or like the issue. If I walked out of my job like that I would have been fired.
  • bosma lawsuit
    Bosma is a disgrace to the republican party, he should step down from office. yes I was a republican until 2004.

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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT