Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma says time is up for House Democrats to return to the Statehouse.
Bosma and Minority Leader Pat Bauer exchanged letters Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Bosma said he used his to make a final offer to the Democrats.
“Made one additional accommodation for them,” he said, “and confirmed a few others. I received instead a letter that said they need more clarification and more time.”
Bosma said he will no longer negotiate or clarify his already-stated positions. House Republicans have now raised fines to $350 per day, up from $250, and will discuss censuring the Democrats Monday.
Fort Wayne representative Win Moses said he hopes Republicans don’t cut off communication.
“I’m disappointed he says no more negotiations,” he said. “That’s what American democracy is about, that’s why we have a republic. We intend to talk.”
Moses called the Speaker’s decision to end negotiations “arbitrary” and “harsh.”
Governor Mitch Daniels said he agrees with House Speaker Brian Bosma’s decision to end negotiations with absent House Democrats.
“It’s sad, but I guess it’s necessary,” he said. “Democrats have been gone a month, someone says it’s the world record for a walkout and they’ve forfeited their right, really, to participation.”
Daniels said Bosma’s done more than enough to bring Democrats back.
“The Speaker’s bent over double backward to meet,” he said, “really, unreasonable demands, and it’s still not enough, so I don’t think he had a choice.”
Daniels said he still hopes to accomplish the state’s legislative agenda without a special session, but will call one if necessary.
Bosma has decided the Indiana House’s legislative business will attempt to proceed in the Senate, with House Democrats still in Illinois and a quorum impossible in the lower chamber.
Bosma and Senate President David Long announced today the Senate will begin budget hearings Monday with House Republicans providing input. Normally, the House Ways and Means Committee passes the budget on to the full House before the Senate considers it.
Long also said the Senate will work on putting language from House bills into amendments in the Senate.
“We will sit down with a list,” he said, “work with the Speaker and his team on the list of bills that they’re interested in hearing in the Senate and getting considered. We also have a list of our own that we think are priorities, and we will blend those.”
Bosma said House Democrats have left them no choice.
“We’ve turned to our Senate colleagues and said, ‘We have to salvage this for the taxpayers, for Hoosier families, for Hoosier workers.’”
House Minority Leader Pat Bauer said he believes the two sides were very close to an agreement before the Speaker ended negotiations.
“This has happened time after time,” he said. “We get very, very close and it’s almost ready to put together, and then there’s a blow up.”
Bauer said he thinks Bosma should put the House into recess until the Senate is done working in order to save taxpayers money. Bauer also acknowledges previous budget bills have originated in the Senate.