Tensions Mount As Democrats Stay Away From Indiana Statehouse

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

March 1, 2011 Updated Mar 1, 2011 at 6:43 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Preparing for a pressure cooker.

Republican state lawmakers foresee a chaotic stretch run in this year's Indiana General Assembly session.

That’s especially true, because it’s not clear when democrats might return from a week-long walkout.

State Representative Win Moses of Fort Wayne, who remains with other democrats in Illinois, told Indiana’s NewsCenter negotiations are underway between leaders of both parties seeking a solution to the stalemate.

Hundreds of union protesters continue to demonstrate at the Statehouse, even after republicans pledged to kill a "Right to Work" bill that organized labor detests.

Those protestors say they are crusading for rights their predecessors fought to secure a hundred years ago.

Steve Hughart/Union Member-Evansville: " The week-ends, holidays, sick leave, collective bargaining agreements. If we're not going to wake up and come down here and do something like this, those people died in vain, and we're here to protect that."

State Rep. Kathy Heuer/(R) Whitley County: " There is a rumor that Representative Bauer is in the building right now. So, I'm hoping that is a good first step toward working something out."

But House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer wants concessions from republicans on more than just the Right to Work bill.

Democrats find nearly a dozen education or labor bills distasteful.

But Moses says if republicans would take the school voucher bill off the table, then the democrats would be inclined to return to work.

Because so much time has been lost due to the walkout, lawmakers will likely have to scramble to get bills through both chambers of the legislature in the closing days of the session in April.

Democrats and republicans are still being paid a $155.00 per Diem; despite the fact the House has not conducted business since February 21st.

Everybody is still getting their base pay, which you can bet is not sitting well with some voters.

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