Indiana Democratic Legislators Flee State To Block Votes

Copying the actions of their brethren in Wisconsin, the Democratic members of the Indiana House have left the state:

House Democrats are leaving the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, The Indianapolis Star has learned.

A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

The House was came into session this morning, with only two of the 40 Democrats present. Those two were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present.

As in Wisconsin, the triggering event is a proposed bill dealing with public sector unions:

Today’s fight was triggered by Republicans pushing a bill that would bar unions and companies from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to kick-in fees for representation. It’s become the latest in what is becoming a national fight over Republican attempts to eliminate or limit collective bargaining.

House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, “has taken a page out of the Wisconsin Senate playbook apparently” by keeping his caucus in hiding, Bosma said. “They are shirking the job that they were hired to do.”

Regardless of one thinks about the merits of the bill, childish actions like this strike me as being inexcusable.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Childish actions? Republicans in most cases are not acting in good faith, so why should their colleagues in the other party do the same?

  2. Jon says:

    What cases would those be Sean? Have any proof of that?
    The Republicans in Indiana are doing what the public elected them to do. The Democrats who fled are acting in violation of the law, and the good will of the people who elected them.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    When Illinois Democrats said raising taxes would be good for the Illinois economy, I didn’t think we’d become the favorite respite of Midwest Democrats.

  4. Jim K. says:

    Hope this isn’t setting a trend…the Democrat Party is proving what most people think of them anyway…their party is imploding because they can’t stand the truth, that so many people are waking up to their shenanigans, and and starting to go back to to the “center” where they should have never left. We are in interesting times, and we may see the pendulum swinging back from the radical “60’s and ’70’s. We may see a quiet revolution, kicking out the old guard of radicals, in favor of more solid, down to earth thinking , conservatives beginning to run this country the right way. Of course, it may never get the chance to happen, considering the unbearable debt that has been forced upon us.

  5. Ben says:

    Wait a second, the Democrats fled the state to protect the power of unions to make non-union employees pay them dues anyway? WTF?

  6. Gustopher says:

    I’m pleased Democrats are finally standing up against the continued assault on the middle class. Unions are what gave us the middle class, and the decline of unions has led to a decline in real wages for the middle class.

  7. Ben Wolf says:

    “Regardless of one thinks about the merits of the bill, childish actions like this strike me as being inexcusable.”

    Childish? People have a right to withold their labor in order to protect their interests.

  8. Axel Edgren says:

    Until I learn more about the ramifications of this bill, I am not sure who to support.

    My position is steady – if a state is in fiscal doldrums, I will never hold a governor who busts spending to give tax cuts to the rich or powerful in high regard. Spread the pain, don’t use a fiscal facade to pursue a vendetta against groups you have been taught to hate.

  9. Terrye says:

    I live in Indiana and this is not Wisconsin. People here will not think the Democrats are standing up to some assault as Gustopher so naively puts it…they will think that a bunch of cry baby sore losers have decided to go hide under a rock because they lost the majority and can’t win an honest vote.

    The people who pay the taxes that support these unions are middle class working families themselves and they are the ones these public service unions have been bleeding dry for years. It is just ridiculous. We have had to lay off teachers in this state because there was not enough money to keep them working and yet here these people are demanding more and more.

  10. Dean says:

    In both Wisconsin and Indiana, the voters spoke loud and clear when they elected Republican governors to deal with the budget messes left by previous administrations.

    And noow both Gov. Walker and Gov. Daniels would like to have their Obama moment and tell the Democratic senators, “We’re not campaigning anymore. The election is over.” Unfortunately, the Democratic senators in both states have defied the voters and fled to neighboring states.

  11. Trumwill says:

    Jon, which law are they violating? My understanding is that they’re violating the intent of the quorum rules, but I haven’t seen laws cited.

    As for whether or not they’re being crybabies or whatever, the rules are what they are. Maybe they should be changed, but as I mentioned before, this is not something new. Wisconsin could have changed its rules to prevent this from happening if it had wanted to.

    (I am somewhat indifferent to the politics of this, living in neither state. Let whichever party doing running further afoul of public opinion pay the consequences two years hence.)

  12. Ernieyeball says:

    As an Illinois Taxpayer let me be the first to thank the voters of Cheeseland and Hoosier Nation for paying the salaries of these tourists. I know I’ve dropped my cash working in both states over the years. It’s nice to see some return!

  13. wr says:

    Hey Terrye — I see you’re a truly informed voter. The issue in your home state has nothing to do with public unions, which your noble governor already destroyed. They are trying to wipe out private unions.

    Good to see you’re so aware of what’s happening around you.

  14. brinna says:

    The law they are breaking could very well be that of sedition. wikipedia defines sedition as such:
    In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

    Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism and public order laws.

  15. Allen Vorderstrasse says:

    To Gusopher: Public employee unions have created an upper middle class paid for by others including the lower middle class which includes me. Pay for your own retirement and I will pay for mine. Public employee unions do not deserve a fixed retirment plan. If stocks go up so do you;if stocks go down, then so do you. Private sector unions are ok but public employee unions are part of the vicious circle that leads to them feeding at the government money trough. We will vote you out. How come the democrats ruined the construction unions wages with cheap Mexican labor? Perhaps they like the votes.
    To Ben Wolf: If you withhold your labor then I the boss will fire you. I have the same question for you that I have for Gustopher: How come the democrats ruined construction unions wages with cheap Mexican labor? For the votes?

  16. Gustopher says:

    There are reports the none other than Abraham Lincoln committed “childish actions like this”.

  17. Trumwill says:

    Brinna, sorry, not buying it. We Americans do not define sedition so broadly.

  18. Rich K says:

    Brinna- Sedition: what our forefathers did in the Revolutionary War, the Civil Rights movement, the Feminist movement. You make sedition sound like a bad thing when sedition is a basic right of a government for the people, by the people. If the people don't have a right to stand up to their government for what they believe is injustice, than how do the people keep the government in check?