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Indiana legislator sues over walk-out pay deductions

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An Indianapolis lawmaker is suing the state for deducting some of his pay to cover fines imposed against him because of a legislative walkout earlier this year.

Fort Wayne attorney Mark GiaQuinta filed a suit June 16 in Marion Superior Court on behalf of Rep. William Crawford, D-Indianapolis, who took part in the five-week walkout that shut down the House in February and March because of a right-to-work bill.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, used a House rule to assess fines against the 39 lawmakers who had left the state during the walk-out, deducting the fines from their legislative pay.

In Crawford’s case, the fines total more than $3,000 and also affect his retirement pay. The suit challenges how the fines were imposed but not the fines themselves.

Specifically, the suit says Indiana Code 22-2-8-1 prohibits employers from taking fines out of paychecks and it’s considered a Class C infraction to do so. In addition to that, the suit says it’s official misconduct for an elected office-holder to violate the law and that amounts to a Class D felony.

State Auditor Tim Berry, the State of Indiana, and Bosma are named as defendants in the suit, which is the only legal challenge to the fines to date. Crawford also filed a civil tort claim in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office last week, making similar allegations.

Spokesman Bryan Corbin in the AG’s office declined to comment on the suit or tort claim, but referred to previous statements Attorney General Greg Zoeller had made in April when saying that no formal advisory opinion would be issued on the matter.

“Assessing fines against House members is an issue exclusively for the legislative branch of state government to decide,” he said. “Under the constitutional separation of powers, neither the judicial branch nor the executive branch has the authority to prevent the House from imposing sanctions. Since the Indiana House is on strong legal ground in imposing fines and in doing so through payroll deduction, the Office of the Attorney General as state government's lawyer will defend the authority of the legislative branch to determine its own rules for House members.”
 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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