[r31] Mahan Messenger: Standing Up to Responsibilities (10/12/2011)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Start Date: 10/12/2011 All Day
End Date: 10/12/2011
When I was elected, I took an oath of office to serve the people of House District 31 to find ways to make our community and our state stronger. When someone takes an oath, it should never be taken lightly.

I say this because, as many of you may remember, there was a walkout during this last session-a 35-day walkout conducted by the House Democrats. It was all over the news and was, in my opinion, disgraceful. As a freshman legislator, I was eager to get to work and experience my first session. Never did I expect a walkout of such a magnitude to occur.

Granted, both parties have used a walkout before as a tool for the minority to stand in protest of what the other party is doing. However, they usually last one, two days at most-not 35 days, the longest in our nation's history. I enjoy making history, but not by disgracing our state.

During the walkout, Hoosiers across the state demanded the House Democrats have consequences for their actions. The Speaker and House Republicans passed a House motion to begin fining members who were not in attendance.

At the start of the walkout, House Democrats were fined $250 each day of session that they were not present-that fine grew to $350. Like any job in America, if you are getting paid to do a job, you are expected to you show up and do the work.

While they were congregating in Illinois, thousands of constituents in each of their districts were left without a voice at the Statehouse. Legislation dealing with vital issues for the state died due to a lack of quorum.

However, just as I thought this ordeal was behind us, it is making headlines again. Rep. Bill Crawford (D-Indianapolis) has taken legal action saying that the state, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), State Auditor Tim Berry and Principal Clerk Caroline Spotts, "improperly confiscated" his legislative wages as payment of fines.

Judge David Dreyer heard the motion of dismissal Thursday and will render a decision in the next 30 days on this motion.

In order to prevent this from occurring again, before session was over, the legislative body passed anti-bolting language that includes $1,000/day fine for legislators that decide to run away from their responsibilities in the future.

Again, I understand if you don't agree with something, but that is why there is a "no" voting option. Running away solves nothing.