Tue June 18, 2013
Court Upholds Fines Against Indiana House Democrats Over Labor Bill Protest
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld fines levied by state House Republicans on Democrats for their legislative walkouts over a labor bill.
In 2011, Indiana House Democrats fled to Illinois to protest a right-to-work bill that also brought union demonstrators into the House gallery, and staged another, shorter walkout in 2012, the year the bill was passed.
House Speaker Brian Bosma levied thousands of dollars in fines against the Democrats for their absence.
Democrats filed suit over the withholding of the fines from their paychecks, but in a 3-2 decision released today, the state Supreme Court dismissed their case, saying that the constitutional separation of powers bars it from interfering in internal legislative decisions.
Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the majority that it is not the court's role to assess punishments within the legislative branch of government. Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker dissented. The pair wrote that the House's "discretion to punish its members" doesn't include withholding pay.