Friday, March 04, 2011

Indiana Legislature: Now With Fines

Hey, it was good enough for Wisconsin. A majority of Indiana's remaining State Representatives voted yesterday to fine the truant Democrats -- still encamped in Illinois despite having been given everything on their original gift list -- $250 a day for every additional day they skip work.

What I have yet to discover is how many members short of a quorum the House is; if it's only a few, one might wonder if a carrot might work better than a stick. Or would that constitute bribery?

My feelings are mixed; as it stands, it's pretty hard for 'em to pass any laws that spend my tax-extorted money. On the other hand, I hate to encourage the parliamentary equivalent of holding your breath until you turn blue. Though denying a quorum is an old, established tactic, it's born of desperation and should be reserved for extreme cases. With "Right To Work" off the table, House Democrats have run out of things to be desperate about.

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Ah, here we go: Indiana Constitution, Art. 4: "Section 11. Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business[...]"

There were, as of the most recent news story, two Democrats in attendance; with 60 Republicans, they're four and two-thirds short and I assume one rounds up rather than subdividing a Representative, so we'll call it five. A hundred Reps in the House, so that leaves 38 huddled en masse across the border.

Fine 'em $250 per day per each, that's $9500 a day. Divide that among the first five to return for every day their fellows sit out, and The Honorables can collect a cool $1900 a day bonus for sitting in the House and voting a firm, proud "Nay!" on matters of which their Party -- or, heavens forfend, the bulk of their constituents -- disapprove.

Oh, Speaker Bosma....? Such a plan I have for you!
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Footnote: Intending to make a joke about the Speaker's J.D. degree ("He's a doctor!"), I Wiki-wandered my way to the founder of the first law school in the U.S. and from there to perhaps his most famous client, a truly remarkable woman. This is why we can't take Shakespeare's advice about the profession.

6 comments:

Tam said...

The unions will cheerfully match that total if they'll just stay put.

BobG said...

Or they could do what most employers would do if a worker refuses to show up for work; fire them.

D.W. Drang said...

Few remember that Shakespeare's line "First thing we do is kill all the lawyers" was preceded by worry about the fact that the lawyers were the ones who knew exactly why what was being done was illegal, and how to stop it.

Not that I don't generally agree...

Bob: It's called a recall; several of the Badger 145 already have recall petitions circulating for them.

Nathan said...

I thought the headline in the fishwarp this morning, "GOP: You'll Pay For This", was a bit overwrought.

But then I considered the source.

perlhaqr said...

I just emailed every State Rep in WI who listed NRA membership in their biographies, suggesting that since they only need 50% to get a quorum for bills which aren't spending measures, they ought to take this opportunity to pass a CCW bill. Or, if the Democrats hate that idea sufficiently to come back and vote against it, well, they're back...

D.W. Drang said...

Come to think of it, fines for congresscritters are a--sorry--fine idea, and should be expanded.