Absent Indiana lawmakers show up out of state

House Democrats left the statehouse Tuesday.

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Indiana's absent Democratic lawmakers have shown up across the state line in Illinois.

An Eyewitness News crew traveled to Illinois to look for the missing legislators. After checking every hotel along Interstate 74, starting in Danville, and finding nothing, a White Volvo station wagon was spotted leaving a hotel in Champaign-Urbana. Inside the station wagon were four members of the Indiana House of Representatives.

Driving the Volvo was Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, with Rep. Dan Stevenson in the front passenger seat and Reps. Greg Porter and Vernon Smith in the backseat. They stopped at a sporting good store in a strip mall, but Candelaria Reardon was the only one talking.

"We are in Champaign to, uh, work on the amendments and slow down the radical agenda of the Republican party," she said.

Candelaria Reardon was then asked about the issues that would die without a vote.

"I don't think anything is going to die. Compromise is always possible. Nothing has to die if people compromise," she said.

That is where the conversation ended. As we waited for them to finish shopping, someone called the police. The officers that arrived at the scene didn't ask us to leave, but were interested in what we were doing.

When the representatives came out of the store, they had little to say. Smith had gone elsewhere, when he finished up shopping, he also had nothing to say. Porter never left the car.

But back at the hotel, where the majority of the house minority caucus was staying, Rep. Ed Delaney spoke freely.

"I'm doing this because we need some reflection. We have people that want to cram radical, ill-thought-out ideas that will lower people's wages and will mess up our schools," Delaney said. "I'm not gonna sit there and let them just keep on their busy little schedule. I'm sorry. This is serious stuff. The public needs to get informed as to what's going on and part of what we're doing is informing them. People are paying more attention and they should be paying attention. These proposals came down a very fast track and a very ill-thought-out track."

Delaney also said he wouldn't "take a penny" for the time he spent out of state.

From the Associated Press:

TV station WCIA of Champaign, Ill., showed video Tuesday evening of at least a couple dozen of the Democratic legislators gathered in a conference room. The station reports the legislators were in central Illinois but isn't giving the exact location.

Only three of the 40 Indiana House Democrats have been in the chamber as Republican Speaker Brian Bosma has tried to conduct business, leaving it with too few members for a quorum. That happened as hundreds of union members protested a Republican-backed bill on so-called right-to-work legislation.

Democratic Rep. Dale Grubb of Covington tells WCIA that all the legislators are trying to do what they think is best.

(Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)