Indiana Republicans to begin public hearings on budget, Dems still boycotting

March 21, 2011

by The Associated Press and City Room

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Indiana lawmakers are scheduled to begin public hearings on a new state budget Monday. But Democrats continue to boycott budget talks and remain in Illinois.

Indiana Republicans are beginning the process of working around the boycotting Democrats. State senators are holding public hearings Monday. They're using a two-year spending plan approved last month by a House committee as a starting point for getting public input.

State Sen. Luke Kenley says there are too many important issues to wait for House Democrats to come back to the state.

Those Democrats have been in Illinois since February 22 to block bills they say are an attack on labor unions and public education. There are no signs they will return to Indiana, even while Republicans have scheduled more public hearings on education funding tomorrow.