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Judge temporarily blocks fines for House boycott

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Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer has blocked the collection of a $1,000-a-day fine imposed on boycotting lawmakers in the Indiana House of Representatives, granting a temporary restraining order until he can hold a hearing on the merits of the issue next week.

The TRO came late Thursday in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the legislative fines imposed by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, on Democrat House members who do not show up for official business because of the controversial right-to-work legislation. Rep Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, filed the lawsuit after last year’s five-week walkout. He and his colleagues were fined for the walkout which was in protest to the same right-to-work issue.

In addition to Crawford, the case lists Reps. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis, and Shelli Vandenburgh, D-Crown Point, who were added to the suit on Thursday. The court action challenges the legality of the fines being deducted from their pay, not whether those fines could be imposed.

Dreyer ruled late last year that state courts don’t have the ability to interfere with the Indiana General Assembly’s constitutional authority to pass laws or its own internal rules, including how it compels attendance or imposes fines. But the trial judge also ruled that if the legislative body is acting as an employer, then the state must adhere to state statute on employee-wage issues and those claims are ones that trial courts can consider.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller has appealed that decision. Zoeller issued a statement Thursday following Dreyer’s order.

"The order is unfortunate and is a textbook example of why we have separate branches of government and why courts should not allow the judicial system to be used as a legislative tactic during the heat of the session," Zoeller said in the statement.

Dreyer set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27 to hear the merits of the case.

 

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  1. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  2. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  3. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

  4. Well, I agree with you that the people need to wake up and see what our judges and politicians have done to our rights and freedoms. This DNA loophole in the statute of limitations is clearly unconstitutional. Why should dna evidence be treated different than video tape evidence for example. So if you commit a crime and they catch you on tape or if you confess or leave prints behind: they only have five years to bring their case. However, if dna identifies someone they can still bring a case even fifty-years later. where is the common sense and reason. Members of congress are corrupt fools. They should all be kicked out of office and replaced by people who respect the constitution.

  5. If the AG could pick and choose which state statutes he defended from Constitutional challenge, wouldn't that make him more powerful than the Guv and General Assembly? In other words, the AG should have no choice in defending laws. He should defend all of them. If its a bad law, blame the General Assembly who presumably passed it with a majority (not the government lawyer). Also, why has there been no write up on the actual legislators who passed the law defining marriage? For all the fuss Democrats have made, it would be interesting to know if some Democrats voted in favor of it (or if some Republican's voted against it). Have a nice day.

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