By Samm Quinn

The Statehouse File

A day away from triggering possible $1,000-per-day fines, Democrats

who skipped Wednesday and Thursday's House sessions are looking for new ways to

turn the public against a Republican right-to-work


Though House

Speaker Brian Bosma

, R-Indianapolis, said he

hadn't yet decided when he would start imposing fines, House

Minority Leader Pat Bauer

, D-South Bend, said a potential blow to the

pocketbook is weighing on members of his caucus.

"There's no question that a fear of fines is a problem," Bauer said.

It could be the second year in a row Democrats faced fines for boycotting the

House. Bosma imposed fines last year, when Democrats

stayed for five weeks in Urbana, Ill.

"We did pay the price last time. It's just how high that price can go before

you have to find alternate means," Bauer said.

Though Bauer said the minority caucus has not decided what to do Friday if

fines are imposed, Rep.

Vanessa Summers

, D-Indianapolis, said she isn't worried.

"I've been poor before. I've been poor since Urbana," she said. "God


Bauer said he believes Democrats wouldn't have to pay fines until the end of

session. "That's my understanding, but we'll see," he said.

He also said fines are an attack on their first amendment rights.

"We think it's another assault against free speech and we know that perhaps the

courts will agree with us," he said.

Bauer said House Democrats would meet Friday before the session is scheduled to

begin to discuss whether or not they'll show, but they may find different ways

to try and stop right-to-work.

Democrats, whose requests for legislative committee hearings to be held around

the state was rebuffed by Bosma, said they intend to

hold at least five meetings outside the Statehouse, some beginning this


"We're going to try this weekend to do at least one in Evansville,

perhaps Fort Wayne and some other places," Bauer said.

Democrats say they are asking for more time so Hoosiers can understand the

issue. But Bosma said the issue has been debated for

a year now, with several summer study committee meetings on the topic. He said

Republicans are not seeking to move too fast, especially since this is a short

session that is scheduled to end March 14 and will be interrupted briefly by next

month's Super Bowl.

"We've actually been studying this issue now for a year," Bosma

said. "There's nothing extraordinary or fast about this. We have bills that are

right alongside this that are proceeding as well."


Ed DeLaney

, D-Indianapolis, said Democrats are

doing their best to put right-to-work on what he called a rational schedule

rather than push it through both chambers as quickly as possible.

"It was being rushed through like it's a crisis or some emergency," he said.

"Whatever it is, it's not an emergency."

DeLaney acknowledged Republicans and Democrats have

become two "immovable forces" in the House of Representatives.

DeLaney, as well as three other Democrats, were present for Thursday afternoon's session. If three more

break ranks and show up, it would give majority Republicans the two-thirds

quorum they need to conduct business.

The above is one of an

ongoing series of reports from the Statehouse File by students at the Franklin

College Pulliam School of Journalism.


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