Indiana House Dems Face Daily Fines for Boycott

March 03, 2011

(Additional reporting from the Associated Press and Illinois Public Radio)

Indiana House members who remain absent from the state capitol might soon face daily fines for every day they stay away. House Republicans on Thursday approved fines against the Democrats for every day they stay away from the House floor.

State Representative Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) said the fines could go as high as $250 a day.

"We wanted an amount that would make the members think about whether or not they need to be here," Torr said. "Furthermore, every citizen in Indiana is being disenfranchised because without a quorum none of us can conduct business."

Most Indiana House Democrats are continuing to stay in Urbana to prevent action on labor and education bills they oppose. But two of them were on the House floor Thursday for a quorum call --- including State Representative Charlie Brown (D-Gary). Brown said it is customary for such fines to be waived when the minority party returns. But he said Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma warned him from the speaker's rostrum, "Don't bet on it, Representative Brown."

"So obviously once more he's digging his heels in, and creating a greater divide between the Democratic and the Republican caucus," Brown said.

Democrats' boycott of the Indiana House session has now extended to an 11th day. Brown said there are five bills that are keeping Democrats from returning to the Indiana House --- one on school vouchers, and four related to Right-to-Work legislation.

Story source: WILL