Breakthroughs at Statehouse on hold until Dems return


Everything remains up in the air at the Statehouse.

All but one House Democrat are staying at the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Ill.

Senate work on House-passed bills appears to be slowing down as Senate Republicans wait to see what will transpire in the House.

Keeping House bills in committee limbo gives the Senate more flexibility if the session comes down to resurrecting concepts that remain in jeopardy due to the House walkout.

An odd routine has evolved for lawmakers still in Indianapolis. House Republicans gather in the chambers to conduct a quorum call that they know will fail. Senate Republicans have floor sessions with few bills to consider.

Union supporters gather daily to voice their concerns.

“It’s like the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’” lobbyist Jim Purucker said as he walked off a Statehouse elevator on a recent afternoon, referring to the 1993 Bill Murray comedy about a man who’s cursed to repeat the same day over and over again.

Ten minutes later, before the start of a committee hearing, Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, repeated the sentiment.

“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day,’” she said.

Also in limbo are the budget bill and required legislation to redraw boundaries for congressional districts, Indiana Senate districts and Indiana House districts.

The endgame for House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, is unknown, so what signal Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, could send to the Democrats to bring them into session is unclear.

The House Republicans already have agreed to withdraw right-to-work legislation for this session, but the line between what Democrats hope to accomplish with the continued walkout and what else Republicans would be willing to concede remains unseen.

The Republicans feel they have an electoral mandate with a 60-40 majority in the House.

Democrats feel portions of the legislative agenda are matters of principle that they can’t allow – regardless of the fallout.

Is there a middle ground between the two caucuses?

We’ll have to wait to see how Indiana’s version of “Groundhog Day” plays out.