Indiana GOP hopes to gavel House to order

Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Republican House speaker in Indiana said he wanted to meet Monday, but House Democrats vowed to stay away until a deal is struck on bills they dislike.

Republicans have a controlling majority but are short of the number of members needed to begin floor sessions. Democrats said they would stay away from the Statehouse in a dispute over labor legislation.

Like Wisconsin Democratic senators, the Democratic House members in Indiana fled to Illinois so they couldn't be rounded up by law enforcement agencies, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Along with plans to stop a right-to-work bill that would ban unions and companies from negotiating contracts requiring non-union members to pay for representation, Democrats said they want 11 bills off the table.

"No one has indicated any desire to send the State Police after them, but we are counting on at least a half-dozen of them to do the right thing and return to work," said Speaker Brian Bosma.

The Democrats' action has left the fate of the two-year state budget unclear.

"My understanding is that our caucus is open to negotiations and we can't find anything to negotiate on," Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney told the Star. "If both sides aren't willing to negotiate, you don't have much."

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