INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Republicans on Wednesday approved
$1,000-a-day fines against boycotting Democratic legislators who gathered in
the Statehouse Rotunda with labor union supporters rather than show up to
debate a divisive right-to-work bill.
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”
came from among the five Democratic representatives not taking part in the
Most of the 40
Democrats resumed their walkout Tuesday after questions arose about the
constitutionality of the statewide referendum they’re seeking on proposed
amendments to the bill banning union contracts with mandatory representation
fees from nonmembers. At that point, Speaker Brian Bosma said fines should
begin if not enough Democrats showed up for the amendment debate on
the Democrats’ request for more time for lawyers to draft a revised
them an extensive amount of time, they asked for it and we gave it to them,”
he said Wednesday. “Now there is another item they need more time on. It’s
just a delay tactic.”
began their meeting surrounded by hundreds of cheering union supporters,
with 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,” said Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, to cheers from union protesters.
Minority Leader Patrick Bauer and one of his lieutenants, Rep. Linda Lawson,
D-Hammond, said Republicans broke a truce the two sides had negotiated last
week to allow a vote on the referendum proposal Tuesday.
Bosma said the
fines are being imposed under House rules and not the anti-boycott law that
Republican legislators pushed through last year.
Rep. Tim Brown,
R-Crawfordsville, spoke in front of the House before the fine vote, asking
for the Democratic representatives to return.
“This is the
best system where we debate ideas,” Brown said. “Let us have our time. Let
us do it the right way.”