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Indiana Suit Challenges Collection Of Boycott Fines

A lawsuit challenging the way thousands of dollars in fines were collected from Indiana House Democrats who walked off the job early this year is awaiting a hearing in Indianapolis.Representative Bill Crawford filed the suit earlier this month. His attorney, Mark GiaQuinta, says Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma ran afoul of state law when he ordered the fines seized from the lawmakers’ paychecks instead of seeking a garnishment order. "In my opinion, it’s no different that seeing it on somebody’s desk or taking it out of their wallet. The law is very clear. This is a violation of Indiana law, a Class C infraction. We’ll see if that law applies to the House Republicans or not," he said. Most House Democrats spent five weeks holed up in an Illinois hotel in protest of the Republican majority’s legislative agenda. They were fined for the absence; Crawford was assessed more than $3,000.A spokeswoman says House Speaker Brian Bosma has been out of the country and has not reviewed the specifics of the suit. Bosma told the Indianapolis Star after learning of the challenge that Crawford would have a hard time finding sympathy from potential jurors still angry about the walkout.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.