Rep. Charlie Brown, of Gary, makes a call in the first floor hallway of an Urbana, Illinois hotel Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011.Brown and more than 20 other members of the Indiana House Democratic caucus met behind closed doors for most of the morning. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

Rep. Charlie Brown, of Gary, makes a call in the first floor hallway of an Urbana, Illinois hotel Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011.Brown and more than 20 other members of the Indiana House Democratic caucus met behind closed doors for most of the morning. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

URBANA, Ill. — The leader of Indiana's House Democrats said they have a constitutional right and responsibility to stop Republicans' "tyranny" at the Statehouse, and he declined to say when they'd return to Indianapolis.

Rep. B. Patrick Bauer of South Bend also accused state Republicans of declaring war on his party and the middle class with so-called right-to-work proposals and bills that would reform public education and expand charter schools.

He said an offer by Republican Senate President David Long of Fort Wayne to send the right-to-work bill to a summer study commission isn't enough to bring Democrats home.

Earlier, Democratic Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary responded to Long's comment with two words: "Bah humbug."

"Don't let them narrow it down to just one bill, right-to-work," Brown said.

Bauer said his caucus is making decisions "day by day," but he said its members could spend the rest of the week in Illinois. He made his comments during an inter-state press conference with reporters from a hotel room in Urbana, Ill.

Hoosier Democrats awoke in the Land of Lincoln Wednesday as a legislative shut-down they forced continued in Indianapolis.

Northwest Indiana lawmakers and other Democratic members of the House of Representatives spent the morning talking about the week’s events in the lobby and cafe of the hotel where they’ve taken refuge.

Hoosier Democrats awoke in the Land of Lincoln Wednesday as a legislative shut-down they forced continued in Indianapolis.

Northwest Indiana lawmakers and their Democrat colleagues from the House of Representatives spent the morning talking about the week’s events in the lobby and cafe of the hotel where they’ve taken refuge.

They watched television in a cafe as House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, gave an interview to MSNBC. Bauer spoke to the news network on his cell phone and said the legislature needed to take a time-out.

“You have that when some student acts radical in class,” Bauer said. “You just take a time-out and see if you can get some rational thinking and order back.”

Caucus members then entered a closed-door meeting to talk about what will happen next. Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, said no plans have been made to return to Indianapolis.

A few members said they’d prefer to change hotels, as more reporters arrived at the Democrats’ previously “undisclosed location.”

They all say they’ve left Indiana to protest a “radical” Republican agenda that includes a so-called right-to-work bill, but also an expansion of charter schools and other public education reforms.

In a statement Tuesday, they asked for assurances from Republican leaders that certain bills won’t be called for a vote this session. Some bills have already died in the stalemate, but their subject matter could still resurface.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, spent her morning building the “Indiana House Democrats Fighting for Families” page on Facebook.

“So that we can educate and inform the citizens of Indiana,” VanDenburgh said.

Republicans say the Democrats are cheating Hoosier taxpayers by not doing the job they were elected to do. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he won’t concede to Democrats’ demands.

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