Nearly all of the democrats in the Indiana House have fled the state and gathered in Illinois, and they say they won't return to the capitol until several pending education and labor bills are removed from consideration.
The bills include:
HB 1002 Charter School Expansion.
HB 1003 School Vouchers.
HB 1479 Private Takeover of Public Schools.
HB 1584 Public School Waiver of state laws.
HB 1468 Right to work.
HB 1216 Public Works Projects and Common Construction Wage.
HB 1203 Employee representations.
HB 1450 Unemployment Insurance.
HB 1585 Right to work for Public Employees.
HB 1538 Minimum wages.
HB 1001 Budget Bill.
“We will remain here until we get assurances from the governor and House Speaker Brian Bosma that these bills will not be called down in the House at any time this session. Our leader, State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), is ready to talk to the Speaker any time. All the Speaker has to do is call,” the statement read.
Three democrats showed up for roll call in the house chambers Tuesday, but four more were needed for a quorum in order to get anything done.
Despite six tries to call the house to order throughout the day, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) was never able to obtain the numbers needed to form a quorum and get down to business. Three democrats were in attendance, but a minumum of four more are needed for a quorum.
"I'm shocked. This has never happened before," Bosma said. He and then asked Rep. Terri Austin (D) "Where are you guys? The Best Western?"
One of the major issues that prompted the walkout was House Bill 1468, the "right to work bill". But as pro-union demonstrators gathered at the capitol, Republicans lashed out at the lack of work they will be able to accomplish on many other bills that may now die because of the lack of a quorum.
"What we do makes a difference," said Rep. Wendy McNamara (R). "I want to be that difference but I cannot do that this evening because the democratic caucus is not here."
Reacting to the House Democrats decision to not come to work Tuesday, Governor Mitch Daniels (R) said, while the strategy is a legit part of the political process, he hoped Democrats would do their duty after having made their point and come back to work.
"I choose to believe they will come back and do the job they're paid to do," Gov. Daniels said.
He said he won't send state troopers to bring the Democrats back to the Statehouse.