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House Republicans vote to fine absent Democrats

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The Indiana House Republicans passed a motion Thursday fining the Democrats who fled to Illinois last week $250 a day until a quorum is present.

The motion was brought up after Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, took roll call and noted that only 60 representatives were present so there was no quorum to move forward with legislative business.

The motion says the absence of the Democrats has cost taxpayers $250,000 and disenfranchised residents. Any representative who doesn’t return to the House on March 7 will be fined $250 a day from their session allowance or annual salary until a quorum is present.

Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, said the Republicans are hesitant to censure the absent Democrats because that would stay in the record books. They hope that the amount of the fine will make the Democrats think of the need to be home and represent Hoosiers.

“Without a quorum, none of us can conduct the state’s business,” he said.

Reps. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, and Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, spoke out against the motion. Brown questioned where the fine will come from as Democrats have stopped taking their per diem since going to Illinois. Battles said the fine just creates a headline or a story and tries to cover up deeper issues. He wants both sides to address the chasm and for people to reach out and have discussions.

Brown took the floor again later to speak for the Democrats, saying they don’t want to come back to vote until some issues have been addressed. After he said that the fines mean absolutely nothing and they will disappear, Bosma interjected “I wouldn’t count on that,” leading Brown to become upset that Bosma interrupted him. Bosma apologized.

Less than an hour after the House reconvened for the day, the representatives passed the motion by a voice vote to fine the absent Democrats.

Before addressing the motion to fine missing Democratic representatives, Bosma announced that the deadlines for the second and third reading of bills has again been pushed back. The deadline had already been extended by a week and was set to expire today. The new deadline would be March 9 and is contingent upon a quorum being present to vote on the matter. Bosma said it would be the first order of business for the House once a quorum is present.

The House adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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