Indiana House Democrats Likely Won't Return Monday

Daily Allowances Will Be Returned, Minority Leader Says

Indiana House Democrats said Thursday they plan to be out of the state through Monday as they battle with majority Republicans from afar, in Urbana, Ill., about 100 miles west of Indianapolis.

House Minority Leader Pat Bauer said Democrats will stay away from the Indiana House, choosing to ride out their dispute with the GOP over labor and education issues, 6News' Rafael Sanchez reported.

"Never in the history of Indiana have we had such a partisan majority," said House Minority Leader Pat Bauer. "We have a majority that is dedicated to destroying the middle class."

Bauer fired back at Gov. Mitch Daniels, who accused Democrats of trying to bully Republicans into giving into their demands.

"It's unfortunate he's decided to become so militant," Bauer said. "There was a little voice of reason. It was probably to lure us into a situation that we could be bullied by him."

Bauer said that he and House Speaker Brian Bosma had a "friendlier" conversation on Thursday morning, but he didn't back down from his position.

"Obviously, he's having a hard time. I know he's gone through surgery. This is a time for reasoning, not trying to bully," he said. "I think some day when he calms down, maybe he could make this state better."

A handful of tea party protesters and union protesters showed up outside the Democrats' hotel on Thursday, chanting and carrying signs.

Police were called in to keep opposing groups separated, but the protests were peaceful.

Democrats said they will return their daily allowance for the days they've been out of state, amounting to $152 for each day. They said they are putting in 12- to 16-hour days, working on more than 100 amendments to existing proposals.

"I don't think we can solve this problem by taking the money away from teachers, taking money away from hourly workers," said Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis. "That's not going to solve our problems, but that's what's going on on a multi-state basis, and it's being resisted."

Democrats acknowledged that their decision to flee the state was primarily driven by unions and teachers, who are adamant proposals working their way through the Legislature will hurt them.

The Indiana House is at a standstill until Democrats return because there aren't enough Republicans for a quorum, which is required to conduct business in the chamber.

"Abraham Lincoln did it. The story is, he jumped out a second-floor window in the Illinois state senate to stop a quorum," said Rep. Scott Reske, D-Anderson.

Democrats said they will be active in the democratic process once they return to Indiana.

Many legislators got rental vehicles when they left the state, fearing that Indiana State Police were going to be used to bring them back to the Statehouse.

The vehicles and hotel are being paid for by the Indiana Democratic Party.