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Associated Press
Protesters wait to enter the Statehouse on Wednesday morning.

Democrats refuse to take floor at Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS – House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer – standing with his caucus – told reporters late Wednesday that his members want statewide hearings on the right-to-work bill before it is rammed through the process.

“What’s the urgency?” he asked. “There needs to be time for the public to have input.”

Ironically, a public hearing is scheduled on the matter for Friday but can’t officially be conducted until Democrats come into session and provide a quorum for business to begin.

Democrats also did not ask for statewide hearings before Wednesday – the first day of the legislative session.

Bauer did say his members intend to stay in Indiana – thwarting a repeat of their five-week stay in Illinois last year.

A new anti-bolting law with stiff $1,000-a-day fines could be called into play if the House Democrats miss three consecutive session days.

Democrats stymied the first day of session by refusing to come to the floor to open business Wednesday – a move that miffed GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma.

He was especially concerned that a registered lobbyist for the AFL-CIO was seen leaving the Democrat caucus by media members.

“This is a shocking development,” Bosma said. “Why are they meeting with registered lobbyists while delaying public business?”

Most of the union protesters that had flooded the building earlier in the day had left by late afternoon.