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*** UPDATED x3 Bill withdrawn, but Hoosiers remain in IL *** Fleeing Hoosier Dems are holed up in Urbana - GOP Governor is OK with it

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* Urbana isn’t far from Springfield, so maybe the Hoosiers could come over to the Statehouse today

Indiana House Democrats who fled to Illinois like their counterparts in the Wisconsin Senate say they’ll continue their boycott until Republicans assure them they won’t debate public education and anti-union measures the Democrats oppose.

The House Democrats won a small victory on Tuesday when their absence at least temporarily blocked a GOP-backed labor bill. Republicans, who control the House, planned to try again Wednesday morning to resume business.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Democratic caucus said members were in Urbana, Ill., “for the immediate future” to continue reviewing Republican proposals on public education changes and the right-to-work bill that would prohibit union representation fees from being a condition of employment at most private-sector companies.

“By staying here, we will be giving the people of Indiana a chance to find out more about this radical agenda and speak out against it,” the statement said. “We will remain here until we get assurances from the governor and House Speaker Brian Bosma that these bills will not be called down in the House at any time this session.”

* WCIA TV in Champaign caught up with them

“When your political life and the things you stand for are on the edge, you don’t have many options in the minority,” State Representative Dale Grubb said.

They said they needed to clear their heads.

“We needed a chance to get away and be able to think without interruption,” State Representative Pat Bauer said. […]

“We simply need the opportunity to sit down and negotiate on those things and talk about the areas of concern without it being rammed through and shoved down everybody’s throat,” Grubb said.

* Unlike in Wisconsin, the Republican governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels is trying to calm things down

Speaking of the Democrats’ tactic of reportedly fleeing for one of Indiana’s borders to shut down the House, Daniels called it “a perfectly legitimate part of the process.” […]

“Even the smallest minority,” he added, “has every right to express the strength of its views — and I salute those who did.”


During an afternoon statement outside his office, Governor Mitch Daniels admonished Republicans almost as much as Democrats.

“I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised,” Daniels said, adding there were other items on his agenda more important to accomplish during this year’s legislative session.

The governor said he will not order Indiana State Police to seek out and return those missing lawmakers. Many are in Illinois and Kentucky anyways, where the state police cannot force them to return to work.

Democrats say they won’t come back to Indianapolis until the right-to-work bill is dead. Daniels held out hope that it would be sooner.

“I’m not going to divert a single trooper from their job protecting the Indiana public. I trust that the people’s consciences will bring them back to work. I choose to believe that our friends in the minority, having made their point, will come back and do their duty, the jobs that they are paid to do,” he said.

* And we have a new national poll

Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law. […]

The poll found people were divided on whether public employee unions were a good thing. A slight majority of 46% said unions were generally more harmful to states while 45% thought they were helpful. […]

Republicans supported limiting bargaining by a 54%-41% margin. However, only 18% of Democrats favored restrictions while 79% were opposed. Independents were against bargaining restrictions by a 31% to 62% margain.

More results. Notice that a majority is against cutting pay or benefits for public employees…

As usual, people are split on cuts, but nobody likes a tax hike.

* Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Dems
are still in Illinois. They had a caucus meeting in Harvard, near the border

Some of the 14 Wisconsin state senators who have been living outside of the state met Monday and Tuesday in Harvard.

The senators continue working while on the road to fight an anti-union bill proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“When he’s talking about ‘we need to do this,’ it’s a joke,” Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said. “I think the biggest thing right now is for Walker to take this bill, throw it out, let’s start from scratch, let’s figure out how to tackle this deficit without going after the workers, without going after the working class.”

The Democratic senators caucused and granted TV interviews in a rented conference room at the Heritage Inn and Suites in Harvard, 7 miles from the Wisconsin-Illinois border, although they did not stay in the hotel.


Four [Wisconsin] Democrats who were reached by The Associated Press said none of their daily expenses would be charged to taxpayers, and none will accept any per diem funds. Larson did say his hotel room Monday was paid for by the State Senate Democratic Campaign. He said the group might pay for more nights depending on how long he stays.

Others have donated food, he said, but he declined to name them.

“Let’s just say the senators have friends over here who’ve been more than generous in sharing with us,” Larson said.

Sen. Tim Cullen said he already planned to donate some of his pay to a food pantry in Janesville.

And one WisDem was on the Colbert Report.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got punked by someone pretending to be billionaire far-right causes financier David Koch. The fake Koch talked to Walker on the phone for twenty minutes yesterday

FAKE KOCH: What we were thinking about the crowds was, planting some troublemakers.

WALKER: We thought about that. My only gut reaction to that would be, right now, the lawmakers I talk to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this.The teachers union did some polling and focus groups…

It’s unclear what Walker means when he says he “thought” about planting some troublemakers, but it seems fair to ask him for clarification.

NSFW audio of the conversation is here and here. Walker went on and on about his plans. Oops.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The right to work billw as withdrawn in Indiana, but the Democratic Hoosiers still won’t leave Illinois

Republicans have killed a controversial labor bill that has sparked a Democrat work-stoppage and large union protests at the Statehouse. […]

Democrats, though, were meeting in an Urbana, Ill., hotel room behind closed doors discussing their next steps. Last night they issued a statement saying they had concerns about 11 bills, including other labor-related bills, education reforms and the proposed next state budget. They singled out two in particular: the right-to-work bill and one which lets state tax dollars pay for private school tuition for some families. […]

Brown, who left the private meeting for a short break, said Democrats were not returning to Indiana.

“We don’t value that,” suggesting the decision to move the matter to a study committee would not sway the Democrats because they have additional issues they want to be resolved.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Former GOP Rep. Cal Skinner caught up with the fleeing Cheeseheads yesterday and was quite impressed

I asked him why he and his colleagues had not been evoking Abraham Lincoln’s jumping out the Old State Capitol’s window to break a quorum in Springfield back in the mid-1800′s.

He replied that was one of the reasons they had come to Illinois. He was really quite elegant and I wished I had had a tape recorder so I could do justice to his rhetoric.

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 9:23 am


  1. Some U of I student needs to give the Alma Mater a Statue of Liberty crown.

    It’s no “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses…” but it’ll do:

    “Amid the broad green plains that nourish our land,
    For honest Labor and for Learning we stand,
    And unto thee we pledge our heart and hand,
    Dear Alma Mater Illinois.”

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 9:48 am

  2. OMG. Rich did you see this?

    Someone pranked Walker pretending to be David Koch:

    He talked 20 minutes on a taped phone call discussing his union-busting strategy.

    I am now convinced this guy is the John Birch version of Rod Blagojevich.

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 9:51 am

  3. Since his childish comments about Illinois, “The Simpsons” and job-poaching, Daniels has demonstrated some responsible leadership, here and in his CPAC address.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:01 am

  4. If private sector employees really got up to speed on how good public employees have it, the whole dynamic would shift in a major way.

    Public employee unions rely on ignorance and on normal people being too busy to get up to speed.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:02 am

  5. Well, maybe Daniels has decided that the good of his state is more important than making a name for himself or positioning himself for a 2012 presidential bid.

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:03 am

  6. Its still wrong to run and hide rather than debate an issue. So anytime someone doesn’t like a topic, will they go run and hide.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:21 am

  7. just sayin’- why don’t you bring us up to speed? how good do they have it?

    Comment by chi Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:21 am

  8. Did I hear correctly that Ohio might be the next Indiana and Wisconsin? Or will New Jersey beat them to it?

    Comment by thechampaignlife Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:25 am

  9. Noted Trotskyite pamphlet “Forbes” has an interesting take on Walker, the Wisconsin budget impasse and the Koch Bros.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:39 am

  10. ===Its still wrong to run and hide rather than debate an issue===

    In both Wisconsin and Indiana, the quorum rules were written into the state constitutions. What is wrong about following the constitutional provisions? It’s not like the filibuster in the US Senate, which is a rule of the Senate, and not mentioned anywhere in the US Constitution.

    The framers of these two state constitutions intended to give the minority this power to deny the majority the opportunity to act. It is a perfectly legal and proper check on power, and the Democrats are right to make use of it in these cases.

    Comment by 47th Ward Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 10:44 am

  11. Wisconsin and Indiana Governors should just wait ‘em out - no pay and big hotel bills mount. Doctors writing false medical excuses; teachers ignoring their kids; elected legislators fleeing from the regular session they were elected to attend: all shameful.

    Comment by formerpolitico Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:10 am

  12. I guess elections really don’t have consequences…

    Comment by Federal Farmer Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:10 am

  13. Now when a Dem controlled statehouse wants to pass something the GOP minority opposes but does not have the votes to stop, the GOP members can just leave the state…and the Dem majority will just have to grin and bear it. Remember that IL GOP!

    Comment by 2canPlay Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:23 am

  14. ===Remember that IL GOP! ===

    Quorum law in Illinois requires a simple majority. Illinois Republicans could all walk out of the House and Senate and it wouldn’t matter. Business would carry on.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:26 am

  15. Likewise, Rich, if the Republicans regained majority the Dems could do the same and it wouldn’t matter.

    Comment by Joe Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:51 am

  16. I find the Gallup poll interesting. Money issues are one thing, taking rights away from working people is quite another. It doesn’t matter if they are electricians, nurses or teachers. All workers have the right to organize and bargain.

    Comment by lincolnlover Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 11:56 am

  17. Mitch Daniels-grown up, leader

    Comment by Wumpus Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:08 pm

  18. Oh wonderful. Daniels gave in on what was supposed to be the critical issue but now the Dems want a bunch of other stuff killed before they return. Give ‘em an inch and they take a mile, right?

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:28 pm

  19. Looks like the prank caller may have violated Wisconsin law -

    “Also a recording on the phone made from a out of state call or made to an out of state party, has to have the party informed of the recording and his consent or the tone on line, every 15 seconds, or a consent in writing before the recording is started.”

    Comment by Champaign Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:30 pm

  20. Lol, the “babba-booie”-like pranking of Walker may be karmic payback for the ACORN Pimp dust-up. Sure, the evidence of Walker’s true intent and nature were discovered illegally. But the genie is out of the bottle now. Walker’s unmasked, and the public and the media are going to have a lot of fun with this.

    Comment by Newsclown Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:50 pm

  21. Hmm - union busting governor in bed with major corporations versus tiny do-gooders? My sympathies are with the do-gooders.

    Comment by lincolnlover Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:53 pm

  22. At Champaign: if retroactive immunity is good enough for the telecomm industry, it’s good enough for buffalobeast, wikileaks, and Bradley Manning.

    Comment by Kasich Walker, Jr.'s wireless & ISP Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 12:58 pm

  23. The poll is very encouraging at a time that has been bleak for many of us. I’m surprised to see that at least in this poll, many Republicans do not support limiting collective bargaining, so if this poll is supported by what’s more or less out there opinion-wise, crippling collective bargaining is not a mandate, and independents’ views are strongly against stripping away collective bargaining.

    This might not bode well for Walker and his ilk’s national political aspirations.

    Comment by Grandson of Man Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 1:08 pm

  24. Looks like WI senate is taking up a bill that will require senators to pick up their checks personally if they miss more than 2 days of business while the senate is in session. The pressure is mounting a bit.

    Comment by dupage dan Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 1:31 pm

  25. Unannounced phone call recording and impersonation might run afoul of the law, and certainly run afoul of ethics. But hey, this guy got some YouTube hits, so it’s worth it.

    Comment by TD Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 1:52 pm

  26. Abe didn’t jump out of the old state capitol. It was under construction so the GA was meeting in a church. There’s a tourist sign noting this downtown. Think its at southeast corner of fifth and monroe.

    Comment by piling on Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 2:24 pm

  27. Chicago is a sanctuary city and Illinois is a sanctuary state.

    Agreed that Daniels (”a legitimate part of the process”) is handling this much better than Walker(”come back if you want to get paid”).

    Comment by Rudy Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 2:39 pm

  28. Re Abe Lincoln and the quorum jumping incident: he only did it once; he didn’t flee the state for days (or weeks) on end while a session was in progress; and later in life, he treated the whole incident as an embarrassing mistake he preferred not to discuss.

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 2:54 pm

  29. ==Its still wrong to run and hide rather than debate an issue. So anytime someone doesn’t like a topic, will they go run and hide.==

    This from someone called Anonymous?

    Comment by Bigtwich Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 3:10 pm

  30. SS: it was embarrassing because it failed. Turns out there had already been a roll call that day so a quorum had been established. So Lincoln’s crew jumped out the window while the Dems — who’d locked the doors — laughed at the futility.

    Comment by piling on Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 3:32 pm

  31. I encourage everyone to read the link provided on Gov. Walker’s call with the “Koch” Bros.

    The fact that Walker, at this time, can drop everything and talk to “Koch” for 20 minutes is telling. The actual conversation itself will blow your mind.

    That Cheesehead just stepped in a real big Holstein pie.

    Somehow, I don’t think think George Will be writing about his dreamy, Reagan-like “serenity” tomorrow.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 4:35 pm

  32. Somehow, some way, Scott Walker will be serving time. Maybe he and Rod B. can have adjacent bunks and share their stories.

    Comment by Geek Marine Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 5:06 pm

  33. You should do the google and listen to the audio of the “Koch”/Walker conversation. Talk about listening to your master’s voice.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 5:07 pm

  34. Is this the little issue that Illinois Dem’s will cling to and overcook to prove that, despite everthing going on around them, they’re still right??

    You got nothing to worry about, you own the State for 2 more years.

    Comment by Park Wednesday, Feb 23, 11 @ 6:24 pm

  35. Has Talgo officially announced it’s moving to Illinois yet?

    They are talking about a general strike up there now if Walker gets this bill through.

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 1:53 am

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