Indiana News

House Democrats' Caucus Chair Quits Post Over Walkout

Grubb urges GOP, Dems to compromise on timing of right-to-work debate

1/6/2012

The stalemate in the Indiana House has reached its third day -- and sparked a Democratic leadership shuffle.

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Caucus chairman Dale Grubb (D-Covington), the third-ranking Democrat in the House, resigned that post in a disagreement over the wisdom of continuing the party walkout. He's been replaced by Indianapolis Democrat Vanessa Summers.

Grubb joined four other Democrats on the House floor, and urged Republicans to slow the march of a right-to-work bill through the chamber. He notes without the walkout, the bill could have been rammed through as early as Tuesday. He says fellow Democrats view the plea for more time to explain the bill to the public as a "patriotic duty."

Minority Leader Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) says Democrats won't stay out forever, and believe their criticisms of the bill are getting through to the public. But he says the caucus will decide a day at a time when it's time to come back.

Until at least seven Democrats return to the floor, House committees can't vote on right-to-work or any other bill. The third day of the walkout means 28 of the 40 Democrats could be subject to a new law allowing thousand-dollar-a-day fines if they continue to prevent a quorum. Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he won't invoke that law unless he "has to" -- he declined to specify what those circumstances would be.

Along with Grubb, Representatives Dave Cheatham of North Vernon, Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis, Steven Stemler of Jeffersonville and Peggy Welch of Bloomington are now attending House sessions. Other Democrats have appeared for procedural reasons or have been excused, and thus are not yet subject to potential fines.

Grubb had announced last year he wouldn't run for a 13th term.

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