Bosma: Future Of Democratic Process At Stake

House Speaker Brian Bosma (Star photo)
House Republicans have increased the daily fine being imposed on the minority House Democratic members who have chosen to spend the past month in exile in Urban, Illinois in an effort to block the majority from conducting business from $250 to $350. House Speaker Brian Bosma also indicated the House will seek to garnish the recalcitrant Democrats' public and private pay, although it's not clear if the law will permit that action. "The future of the democratic process is at stake right now," Bosma said. State Rep. Win Moses (D-Ft. Wayne Indianapolis) called the move "poke in the eye" that would only increase the resolve of the Democratic caucus to stand their ground.

What is unclear is why Attorney General Greg Zoeller continues to shirk his duty to investigate who is paying for the Democratic lawmakers out-of-state travel expenses, which have been pegged at $2,500 a day. By statute, lawmakers are barred from having their out-of-state travel expenses paid by lobbyists. They are further barred from soliciting campaign contributions while the legislature is in session. By all appearances, both laws have been violated as unions pump money into Indiana Democratic Party coffers to fund the members' out-of-state travel and party officials have openly solicited campaign contributions for this purpose.

I don't believe in negotiating with terrorists, which I believe these House Democratic members are for holding the entire legislature hostage to their demands for a month now. It doesn't get any more undemocratic than this when a small minority is able to shut down the legislative branch because they don't approve of the agenda set by the elected majority. I find it troubling House Republicans were caving on their changes to satisfy these terrorist demands by agreeing to lower the threshold for project labor agreements from the $1 million proposed in pending legislation to $350,000, in addition to agreeing to scrap efforts to enact right to work legislation. Current law sets the threshold for public works projects that can be subject to project labor agreements at $150,000. What this law does is, in effect, eliminate many contractors from bidding on publicly-funded construction projects. These projects already require all contractors to pay the prevailing wage rate (i.e., the union scale) on public works projects. The only reason for limiting project participation to union contractors is to eliminate competition on the project. We've just witnessed the sloppy workmanship at Lucas Oil Stadium constructed under a project labor agreement limited to union contractors. The new Wishard Hospital similarly has a project labor agreement. With the prevailing wage law, there is absolutely no reason the law should permit these project labor agreements.