The AWOL Indiana democrats are hiding at the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Illinois.
They don’t look too worried.
Indiana House Democratic Leader Pat Bauer shares a laugh during a phone interview with various members of the media in his room of the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Illinois on Wednesday, February 23, 2011. House Democrats were meeting privately in a conference room throughout the morning where they have stayed since Tuesday. (Matt Detrich / The Star)
Management already told the fleebaggers yesterday that they’ll have to vacate the premises by mid-March when a dance group comes to town.
JC Online reported:
Despite the many fighting words — “the Republicans and their extremist programs,” “they’re attacking the middle class and the public school system” — the Indiana Democrats’ stay at the Comfort Suites hotel is a subdued affair…
The Democrats, 32 of their 40 members in the Indiana House of Representatives, arrived Tuesday, their Statehouse exodus a quorum-busting effort to halt Republican legislation on education and labor.
The Democrats wouldn’t speculate on how long they’d stay in Urbana. But if a person had to stay indefinitely in Urbana, the Comfort Suites would not be a bad place.
The hotel has a fitness room (the TV was turned to “I Love Lucy”), an indoor swimming pool (“maximum bather load: 50″) and a hot tub (“maximum bather load: 6″). The Democrats had not yet taken advantage of the amenities, according to hotel staff, fellow guests and the Democrats themselves.
A room costs $99. Most of the Democrats had singles, though a few doubled up. They or the Indiana Democratic Party, and not taxpayers, would pay for the rooms, said Rep. Win Moses of Fort Wayne.
Moses and his colleagues secluded themselves in the breakfast room/conference room for several hours Wednesday and planned their legislative strategy while about a dozen reporters waited in the lobby.
Rep. Dale Grubb, passing by on his way to a cigarette break, said, “It’s a shame divisiveness has taken over from cooperation.”
Such walkouts by minority parties whose only weapon is to deny a quorum are not unusual but typically last hours, not days. It’s highly unusual for lawmakers to leave the state. That hadn’t happened since 1925, when outnumbered Democrats holed up in Dayton, Ohio.
The phone call was between Bauer and his Republican House rival, Speaker Brian Bosma. Bauer wanted modifications to several education bills, including the voucher bill, and to several bills that would affect collective bargaining.
The call came through, and it didn’t go well.
“All he said was, ‘Nuts!'” Bauer said of Bosma.
“I just told him,” said Bosma, “we weren’t going to concede to a list of demands and that he needed to get back here. If this was the demand for him to return, I said: ‘Have fun in Illinois.’.”
The Democrats settled in for another night. As far as the Comfort Suites management is concerned, they can stay until mid-March, at which time they’d have to vacate to make room for contestants in a statewide dance contest.
Most people West Lafayette, Indiana are not happy that most Democrats from the House of Representatives are in Urbana, Illinois instead of the Indiana state house.
Today, local St. Louis tea party members will discuss an upcoming roadtrip to Urbana, Illinois.