Finding A Way Around Democrat Walk-Out

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 22, 2011 Updated Mar 22, 2011 at 5:26 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The Indiana Senate and House are going ahead and holding hearings on legislation, despite the fact House Democrats continue to stay away from the statehouse.

In the search for ways to get something accomplished in the legislature, republicans confront the question, is it really a case of “no democrats, no progress”?

Some business is being conducted now, though not the kind that matters most to the end product.

The house floor is still very quiet.

Democrats remain on hiatus in Illinois, so there's no quorum to hold votes on bills.

But house committees are holding informal hearings on bills that earlier passed the senate.

When democrats walked out in Wisconsin, republicans approved significant restrictions on public sector unions, by stripping out financial matters and voting without their counterparts present.

Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics says, in Indiana, if one chamber alters a bill sent over from the other, the two sides have to get together and rectify any differences.

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " Or one chamber accepts the changes of the other chamber because they're considered to be minor. None of that's a possibility right now because the democrats aren't even in the state. With them gone, there is no work that can be done that involves the House of Representatives. So, basically, almost no work can be done."

There are now rumblings that the democrats might return sometime this week, but until they walk through the doors of the statehouse, republicans won't get their hopes up.

Lawmakers face an April 29th deadline to complete work on a new budget, and new legislative and congressional district maps.




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