(STATEHOUSE) - House Speaker Brian Bosma jokes it was "deja vu all over again," but both parties are downplaying a lengthy Democratic caucus that again left the house half-empty for two-and-a-half hours.
The scheduled 10:00AM start of business in the house was postponed till afternoon while Democrats huddled behind closed doors to discuss Republicans' decision to hear some bills last week while democrats were still on strike in Illinois.
Minority Leader Pat Bauer questions the legality of committee votes on 14 bills for which the only public testimony took place in unofficial meetings without Democrats in attendance.
More such bills will be heard in committee on Friday, with a possibility of more next week.
Bosma says he'll leave it to committee chairmen to decide whether to schedule fresh rounds of testimony.
But he says it's perfectly legal for them to take votes without doing so.
One Republican stormed off the floor after waiting an hour for Democrats to emerge, but Bosma says while the caucus ran longer than he felt it should, it wasn't a problem for him.
The speaker says Democrats were entitled to time to fully understand the procedural steps taken during their absence.
Lengthy caucuses by both parties are routine at the statehouse, and the minority party in particular may disappear into caucus either to discuss bills and procedures or to protest them.
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