As we encroach on the month long strike by the House Democrats steps have been taken by leadership in the House Republican caucus and by Senate leadership to salvage the legislative session. The resolve of the three remaining caucuses to work together for the majority of Hoosiers and not only special interest groups is a responsibility I take to heart. In what job could a person leave for a month, with no explanation, and expect to still be employed when they return?
In a press conference late this week Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne) announced they would begin, along with leadership from the Senate Democrat caucus, to insert House Bills into Senate Bills. In addition, they will be moving forward with budget hearings in the Senate. We are constitutionally required to pass a budget by the end of this session on April 29. But, if a budget cannot be voted into law and the process continues to be stalled until June 30, then the governor will have to temporarily shut down government agencies. If there is no money allocated to these agencies, they can't run, and the people of Indiana will be hurt even more by the House Democrat Strike.
I fully support the continuing work in the Senate to move this session forward. Committee chairmen from both the House and Senate will be meeting to discuss which House and Senate bills are germane, or similar enough, to one another to combine and be heard first in the Senate. Then, if the House Democrats return, the bills can be heard on the House floor. I and my Republican colleagues are here at the Statehouse working hard to ensure that Hoosier families are getting the respect they deserve by moving the process forward.
The message of the Speaker to the House Democrats is that we will not negotiate and if they want to continue discussions, they need to return to their seats in the Statehouse. We can have open debate on the House floor and they must participate in the democratic process they pledged to uphold. They cannot continue to hold a moving target and expect to try to control the General Assembly while holding hostage the voices of all Hoosiers.
I take my pledge to represent the citizens of my district and collectively all Hoosiers, as well as the democratic process this country thrives on, very seriously. It will no longer be tolerated to put the democratic process at stake when the vast majority, 90 percent of Hoosiers that are not members of a union, needs a voice in the process.
We are standing up for those voices and will continue to work as we were elected to do. We won't shirk our duties, and I wholeheartedly support the decision to not let our plans be derailed to strengthen the state of Indiana.
Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)