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High court to hear legislative fines appeal

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken the appeal of a Marion County judge’s decision that ordered Democratic members of the Indiana House be refunded the money withheld from their paychecks due to a walkout in 2011.

State Auditor Tim Berry and other state defendants asked the Supreme Court to rule on the matter after Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer held this week that the Democratic representatives should be reimbursed any amount withheld in 2011 and shouldn’t be fined for walking out during the 2012 session.

Rep. William Crawford, D-Indianapolis, and other state representatives filed the lawsuit challenging the legality of the fines being deducted from their salary and per diem compensation.

The justices stayed the portion of the ruling that requires the state auditor to immediately pay the withheld amounts. The portion of the trial court’s order enjoining the auditor, Indiana house principal clerk, and the state from withholding the fines, and all other portions of the trial court’s order on final judgment, remain in effect until further order from the justices.

The Supreme Court granted transfer Jan. 27 to review the decision by Dreyer that held the trial court did not have jurisdiction to review the House of Representative’s internal discipline when it came to compelling attendance or assessing fines during the 2011 legislative session, but that it did have jurisdiction to review the manner in which the fines were collected. The justices consolidated the two appeals, but documents filed in the consolidated appeal will bear both Supreme Court cause numbers.

 

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