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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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