On Thursday, March 3 Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson held a media availability to discuss issues surrounding the ongoing House walk-out, the future of this year’s budget bill and the status of redistricting work to draw new legislative maps.
The video and audio provided below was recorded during this media availability as Sen. Simpson replied to questions from Statehouse reporters.
When asked about the current status of the House Democrats’ decision to walk-out, Sen. Simpson remained cautiously optimistic, explaining that certain steps must take place in order for both parties to come to a compromise. She commended House Democrat Leader Pat Bauer on taking the first step toward reaching a solution by meeting with Speaker Brian Bosma last Wednesday.
“I think yesterday was a good start…”
Sen. Simpson assured reporters that, despite concerns that work has come to a standstill at the Statehouse, legislators continue to work.
“It behooves all of us to make sure that they understand that first of all, there is work going on…”
Noting the walk-out as a last-resort tool to defend the minority, Sen. Simpson expressed support for the House Democrats’ decision to stand for the rights of minority constituents.
“It isn’t about a walk-out or a boycott…”
To fine the House Democrats for remaining out of state will only strengthen their resolve to stand against attacks on Indiana’s working families, Sen. Simpson explained.
” I think that’ll be incentive to keep them there…”
Sen. Simpson told reporters that Republicans’ threat to diminish employees’ ability to collectively bargain for better wages and safe working conditions has fueled the current conflict.
“I think there is a belief that that’s what the Republicans are doing…”
In response to concerns over the status of this year’s budget bill, given inactivity in the House, Sen. Simpson explained other ways the bill could continue to move forward.
“The only requirement is that it has to be a House bill…”
Looking forward, Sen. Simpson discussed the status of redistricting work on new Senate and House district maps.
“We’re working on it, we have a staff person assigned to it…”
She stressed the importance of creating competitive districts and emphasized the need for Hoosiers to follow along in the redistricting process.
“What the public need to pay attention to…”