Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Democratic Legislators Flee to Illinois to Avoid Vote on Right to Work Bill

Indiana House of Representatives
The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Democratic House members have fled to Illinois to avoid voting on the right to work bill:
House Democrats are leaving the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, The Indianapolis Star has learned.
A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.
The House came into session this morning, with only two of the 40 Democrats present. Those two were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present.
In Indiana, there is a legal requirement that an elected member of the General Assembly be present and vote.  In a few rare cases, the state police have been ordered to return legislators trying to avoid a controversial vote  From my time working in the legislature, I remember a Republican legislator who, instead of staying to vote on an anti-union bill which was unpopular in his district, decided to drive back to his Lake County home.  The Republicans needed his vote though and the state police was ordered to intercept the legislator and bring him back to the state house.

The deadline for House bills to pass out of that chamber is this week.  If the Democrats do not return, the House will not have the 2/3 quorum to conduct business and scores of House bills will die.

4 comments:

Cato said...

Good for the Dems. I always like to see people standing up for principle. Don't know if I agree with them, but I love to see people use every bit of the political process to make a strong stand for something.

I wonder if Mitch will again accuse them of "firebombing" (or was it "carpetbombing?") his agenda by refusing to make a quorum? Because it's so helpful to make exaggerated claims of terrorism when a party makes a stand for core membership issues.

Downtown Indy said...

Standing up for principle? How about running away from responsbibility? (and yes, I know the other side of the aisle has done the same thing in years past). But the R's haven't put their stake in the ground claiming D's to be the 'party of no' either.

Seems to me the Dems have shown themselves to be the party of 'no sense of responsibilty.'

Steve said...

It is pretty much a challenge to Mitch to either take a stand or not. As a D, I do like much of what he does, and I especially admire his willingness to put fiscal issues ahead of ridiculous social matters. However, not taking a stand on the (IMO) dishonest marriage and immigration bills does not help him. And here, just stating that he would "prefer" this not be addressed this session does not cut it. He needs to lead, tell the Rs to cool it and bring the really important issues to vote...not just the ones that social conservatives want. He has to take a stand sooner or later.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Steve,

I think the D's overreached. They should have just stuck to their protest about the right to work bill. Instead they're trying to kill the entire education reform agenda. R's will not, and should not compromise on that.