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Democrats Still Missing, House Republicans Won’t Negotiate

House Democrats flee to Illinois to avoid voting on several controversial bills.

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The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis

Indiana Democrats remained in Illinois Wednesday morning leaving the House without a quorum, and House Speaker Brian Bosma sticking to his position that he will not negotiate.

Bosma spoke with Minority Leader Pat Bauer early Wednesday and emerged from the call saying he once more refused to give in to Democratic demands.

“If this was the demand to return I said, have fun in Illinois.”

Bauer’s “demand” consists of a list of 11 bills the Democrats want removed from the House agenda, including the budget bill, several education reform bills and labor legislation.  Bosma said he is considering measures to bring missing Democrats back to the Statehouse.

“There is precedent both on finding members who are not present for a certain period of time and for suspending per diem,” Bosma said.

Bosma said he expected the Democrats to be back Wednesday morning, and that one thing he is sure of is that he won’t give in.

“When I say, ‘No, we’re not going to negotiate a list of items to include on an agenda,’ I mean it. If they want to call my kids, Allison and Chris, they’ll confirm that pretty much though when I say it, I mean it. It’s not a negotiation point, it’s something that’s been though out.”

At one point during the roll call, Bosma threatened to clear the viewing gallery due to noise.  As the Speaker gaveled the House to recess, protesters in the gallery began to chant and sing, causing Bosma to make good on his warning.

“Unfortunately, the gallery will be closed at 2 o’clock, the gallery will be closed at 2 o’clock,” Bosma said over crowd boos. “And it will be cleared right now.”

Bosma said he may rethink his decision to close the gallery at the 2 o’clock roll call. He also said he hopes the Democrats will return on their own.

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