IN House Democrats continue to work in Illinois - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

IN House Democrats continue to work in Illinois

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By Katie Bauer email | bio

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WAVE) – The situation is rapidly changing in Indianapolis as Indiana House Democrats didn't show up for a second day.

Governor Mitch Daniels addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, saying he won't be bullied. He vows to call special sessions from now to New Year's, if necessary, and send the bill to the Democratic party of Indiana.

On Tuesday most House Democrats fled to central Illinois, out of the governor's jurisdiction, in an effort to kill multiple bills.

"I was very surprised when we came back Monday after having had a caucus and they just didn't show and then they didn't show and then they didn't show," said Rep. Rhonda Rhoads (R-Corydon).

Union workers and their supporters remained at the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday, many thrilled that the Republican-backed right-to-work bill appears to be dead this session. That's because most Democrats fled across state lines to Urbana, Illinois. They are staying at a hotel and it's not clear when they will be back.

Only three House Democrats stayed behind. "The two are here because they have to ask for a roll call, that's their job, so that's what they are doing otherwise they would be gone," said Rhoads.

The other Democrat in attendance was Rep. Steve Stemler of Jeffersonville. "I appreciate a person who has character and will stand up for things even if it is really difficult to do, but I really appreciate that Steve has been here," said Rhoads. "He has been here the whole time."

However Rhoads says 23 bills essentially died Tuesday night because they reached their deadline. Some of the legislation tackled partisan issues, like the right-to-work bill, but Rhoads says others didn't, including one that dealt with retirement benefits for teachers and public employees.

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) told WAVE 3 over the phone those employees won't get $41-million of benefits this year because a vote couldn't be taken. It's not certain if a vote could be taken up again.

"There's not just one bill like in Wisconsin, there's about a dozen and there coming in a downpour," said Rep. Pat Bauer, House Minority Leader.  "We had to put up some umbrellas and seek some shelter to see if we could get through this storm."

"They want to make deals, they want to take some things off the table, some things that we have already voted as a general assembly," said Rhoads.

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