BIRCH BAYH MEMORIAL SERVICE SET FOR MAY 1: A memorial service honoring the career of Indiana’s former United States Senator and House Speaker Birch Bayh (1928-2019) will be held Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at noon EDT in the south atrium of the Indiana Statehouse (Howey Politics Indiana). Among those remembering Sen. Bayh’s accomplishments will be Gov. Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, former Congressmen Lee Hamilton and Baron Hill, and Federal District Court Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson. Indiana’s former Secretary of State, Governor and United States Senator Evan Bayh and Indianapolis attorney Christopher Bayh will eulogize their father.  Former First Lady Susan Bayh will attend, as will their sons Beau (2LT, USMC) and Nick (2LT, USA). Sen. Bayh’s widow, Katherine “Kitty” Bayh (née Halpin), will read a poem written by the Senator. The event is open to the public and no RSVPs are necessary.  Attendees should enter the Statehouse from either the upper east (Capitol Street) or lower west (Senate Avenue) entrances.  While the Indiana General Assembly is not scheduled to be in session, attendees should adjust for parking challenges in the vicinity of the Statehouse.

PENCE RESPONDS TO BUTTIGIEG CRITICISM: Vice President Mike Pence is pushing back at criticism from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Howey Politics Indiana). “He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally, and he knows better," Pence said in an interview with Joe Kernen on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. "We had a great working relationship. He knows me.” It was Pence's response to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's NBC "Meet The Press" interview in which the mayor discussed his own sexuality, saying, “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” Second Lady Karen Pence also weighed in, saying, “Well, it’s kind of funny, because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him, but I think it’s helping Pete get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president.” Buttigieg stopped by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to talk about Pence’s recent comments, and this historic moment in politics and in his own life. “I’m not critical of his faith; I’m critical of bad policies," Buttigieg said. "I don’t have a problem with religion. I’m religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community. So many people, even today, feel like they don’t belong. You can get fired in so many parts of this country just for who you are and that’s got to change. And if the VP, I’m not interested in feuding with the Vice President, but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That’s all.””

BUTTIGIEG 3RD IN ANOTHER IOWA POLL: Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the 2020 Democratic presidential field in Iowa, according to a new poll released Thursday that also suggests Pete Buttigieg — a previously unknown, small-city mayor from Indiana — is gaining significant traction with likely caucus-goers (Politico). The Monmouth University poll shows Biden, who hasn’t officially entered the race, is the first choice of roughly a quarter of likely caucusgoers, 27 percent. He’s followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 16 percent and Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., with 9 percent. That places Buttigieg marginally ahead of a handful of candidates who entered the race with more established profiles: Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are at 7 percent, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is at 6 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is at 4 percent and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is at 3 percent. Buttigieg has his fans: 45 percent of caucusgoers view him favorably, while 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. “Buttigieg’s current standing in the horse race is impressive given that nearly half of likely Democratic caucus goers have yet to form an opinion of him,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “He has one of the best positive to negative ratios in the field. He could move up if he is able to maintain that rating as he introduces himself to more voters.” It’s the second early-state poll released Thursday showing Buttigieg surging into third place. A St. Anslem’s University poll in New Hampshire showed Buttigieg at 11 percent in that state’s first-in-the-nation primary.

GAMING BILL FURTHER AMENDED ON HOUSE FLOOR: The Indiana House debated 11 amendments to the major gaming bill into the evening on Thursday en route to its final vote Monday (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). The 11 considered on the floor was just over one-third of the 30 amendments filed for the bill, and only 6 were adopted. However, there were some key changes. Two amendments added to provisions on the matter of casino licenses, with one clarifying that should a casino move from Gary its previous license would be terminated, and the other adding an additional $50 million fee to the casino should they transfer or sell the new license within 5 years. An amendment from former House Speaker Pat Bauer mandates that all meetings between the governor (or any representative of the governor) or a gaming commission member with a casino license operator or intended operator be put on public notice 48 hours in advance. Similarly, an accepted proposal from Rep. Holli Sullivan adds conflict-of-interest provisions to membership eligibility for a casino advisory board. The House also accepted sending some of the new tax revenues to the West Baden historic fund, as well as an amendment mandating job-assurances and transition training for casino employees should their facility be moved to Vigo County. Interestingly, among the amendments that went uncalled was a sweeping change filed by bill sponsor and Ways & Means Co-Chairman Rep. Todd Huston which would have struck out all portions of the bill dealing with the Gary riverboat moves, leaving only the sports wagering provisions behind.

HOUSE REJECTS ENERGY 'MORATORIUM': A controversial decision to add what has been called a “moratorium” on major energy projects into a utilities bill in the House was reversed in a 53-38 vote by that body on Thursday (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). Republican Rep. Ed Soliday introduced the proposal in a committee amendment, which lead opponents to decry the bill as an attempt to prop up Indiana’s struggling coal operations at the expense of the renewable industry. The reversal came in the form of an amendment authored by Rep. Matt Pierce striking Soliday’s language from the bill, SB472. Pierce relayed that opposition to the bill when he spoke on the floor and added that there was little precedent – or interest – for the legislature to halt an industry in this manner. Soliday defended his addition to the bill, saying it had been mislabeled as a moratorium when it was really meant to slow down the industry to avoid a potential “bust” of the energy market caused by short-term overconfidence in newer parts of the industry. 26 Republicans joined with 27 Democrats to pass the amendment.

'VOTE COMPACT' REJECTED IN HOUSE: House Republicans, and four Democrats, voted down an amendment put forward by Democratic Representative Matt Pierce which would have added Indiana to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). The compact, which currently includes 14 states and Washington D.C., is an agreement by all of its members to pledge their electoral college votes to the presidential candidate that wins the national popular vote. That would kick in only if the total elector count of the members reaches the 270 needed to win the election. Pierce argued that the compact shouldn't be seen as unconstitutional because it is up to the individual states to choose how they allocate their electoral college votes. He also added that it shouldn't be seen as partisan, saying that past Republican presidents have won by narrow electoral college numbers despite larger margins in the popular vote. The amendment wasn't well received, GOP Rep. Ethan Manning, who served as a member of the electoral college in 2016, said detractors of the system were politically motivated and called the compact "sour grapes." Speaker Bosma wasn't fond of the idea either, quipping after its defeat "the republic shall survive."

SEN. YOUNG PRESSES VENEZUELANS ON IMPRISONED HOOSIER: Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) says he met with a representative from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government months ago to try and get answers about why a Bloomington man hasn’t been released from a prison there (Brosher, Indiana Public Media). Police arrested Todd Leininger when he was visiting the country in 2014. He was convicted of attempted homicide and concealing a firearm, but a court ordered his release in November. Leininger remains in prison. Young says the meeting took place before the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela escalated, and the Maduro representative said Leininger was still imprisoned because of a disagreement between the courts and the country's justice agency. "Frankly, they've come up with all manner of excuses to try and explain why Todd remains in prison long after there was a court order indicating that he needs to be released, none of which were credible," Young says.

CONVENTION ADVOCATES FRET LACK OF HOTEL ROOMS: For 25 years the annual FDIC firefighters instructors conference has come to Indianapolis and plans to return annually until 2028 (Fox59). Organizers said any commitment after that may depend on the city’s ability to add more hotel rooms connected to the Indiana Convention Center downtown. “Indianapolis growing is really critical, and has been really critical, to our success and our growth out here. Our firefighters love this city,” said Eric Schlett, senior vice president of Clarion UX Fire & Rescue Group, the conference organizer. “Literally our biggest hang up so far now is the fact that we are so limited on hotels in the downtown area. We could grow this thing bigger. We already bring about $43 million of economic impact into the city for the week that we come and that’s with 34,000 firefighters. If we had more rooms downtown we could blow this thing up to $50, $60 million economic impact for the city.” Chris Gahl, senior vice president of Visit Indy, said he hears the same worries from other convention planners. “It's this one roof everything is under with connected hotel rooms that continues to help Indianapolis win major business,” he said. “They pay a premium for hotel rates. The city of Indianapolis is making money and keeping the hospitality workforce growing and working.”

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Here's a hunch ... the Mueller report will be released late this afternoon by Attorney General Barr. He's promised the report released by mid-April. If there is troubling political news for President Trump, the best time to do it would be the bad news dump hour, which is about 5 p.m. on a Friday. - Brian A. Howey


HOGSETT, OSILI JOIN FORCES: Indianapolis Democrats are making earlier-than-usual organizing efforts to try to ensure as many victories as possible in the municipal election this November, when Mayor Joe Hogsett and all 25 City-County Council seats will be on the ballot (Colombo, IBJ). Hogsett and Council President Vop Osili have decided to pool resources and launch what Democrats say is the first true citywide coordinated campaign in Marion County in order to try to re-elect the one-term mayor and expand Democrats’ current three-seat majority on the 25-member council. The coordinated campaign is also staffing up early, opening new offices and investng in technology they say will enable them to reach more voters.  Hogsett and Osili hope to devote $250,000 to the effort, according to a source with knowledge of the campaign. It is being funded by their campaigns, and individual council candidates are not being asked to contribute. “It’s a landmark campaign for Indianapolis,” said Hogsett’s campaign spokeswoman, Heather Sager. “We’ve never seen an effort like this at this level.” This weekend, the coordinated campaign will open two physical offices: one at 5416 W. 38th St. and one at 2111 Washington St. It plans to open a total of four throughout the campaign, which will be used by campaign staff and volunteers. It also hired Democratic strategist Peter Luster as the coordinated campaign manager, and four field organizers: Courtney Meyers, Shea Joyce, Alex Nyirendah and Spencer Garnier.

General Assembly

SENATE GOP REVEALS BUDGET PROPOSAL: The Senate majority's take on the budget bill that came to them from the House was revealed Thursday, showing slight increases in general education spending and corresponding cuts in other areas (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). The most noticeable addition is on school funding, where the Senate proposal puts forward increases to the total fund of 2.7% in 2020 and 2.2% in 2021, up from 2.2 and 2.1 in the House version. That's also above Governor Holcomb's request of a basic 2-and-2 increase that he proposed in his state of the state address. Also seeing an increase is Teacher Appreciation Grant funding, which Senate Republicans would like to fund at $90 million for the biennium, a 50% increase. The overall spending increases come out to be about 1.3% higher than the total set out in the House version. Seeing a decrease is virtual student funding, which drops to 80% of basic tuition support in this proposal. Also getting cut for the benefit of the general education fund is a 13th check provided per year to Indiana’s pensioning educators In addition, while the Senate budget would still meet the governor's proposal to spend $150 million once to fund the post-96 Teacher Retirement Fund perpetually, opening up savings to give to current teachers, it does so by taking money from the pre-96 plan's pension stabilization fund. Also, although the Senate GOP would maintain the current complexity-foundation spending ratio for schools, its proposal still lowers the total funding like the House. Finally, the Senate budget meets Holcomb's request to fully fund DCS, but uses a less direct route than the House, opting to mandate about $105 million less in increases over the biennium and leaving the remainder as an option available through a flexibility fund created under last session's gas tax.

BOSMA RAISES CAUCUS CONCERNS ON SENATE BUDGET: Speaker of the House Brian Bosma told reporters Thursday that while his GOP caucus was not "overly surprised" by the Senate budget proposal, there are a few points of disagreement that will need to be worked out (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). Bosma said the Senate's take on topping out the post-96 retirement fund, taking money from the pre-96 fund, caused “heartburn” amongst himself and some members of his caucus. On the use of gas tax money, the speaker doubted whether or not rerouting the flexibility money to DCS matched that particular fund’s purpose. Moreover, he relayed concerns on virtual education funding decreases, saying that to his knowledge the majority of virtual schools have seen successful results in Indiana. The elimination of a 13th check to teacher retirees also caught Bosma’s eye, as he stated it would be the first time such a such would not be provided since 2008. These are all closely tied to the Senate budget’s key additions to the school funding increases of 2.7% and 2.2%, however, and will require significant negotiation over the General Assembly’s final weeks. The speaker acknowledged that, saying “we’ll have good faith discussions with all parties, including the governor. We’ll try to get to ‘yes’ and get a great state budget that keeps our strong AAA credit rating, keeps our reserves in place, and does the best for Hoosier and, especially, educators.”

DEMS STILL UNIMPRESSED WITH GOP TEACHER PAY EFFORTS: Senate Democrats continued their party's disapproval of Republican efforts on teacher pay in wake of the Senate budget reveal Thursday (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). Indiana Senators Karen Tallian and Eddie Melton led a press conference where they outlined adjustments to the budget that they say would lead to direct teacher pay increases. The Senators proposed repurposing Teacher Appreciation Grants into base salary pay, saving money by stretching out the timeline for paying down the post-96 Teacher Retirement Fund, and diverting planned increases to charter and voucher grants (about $96 million in total). The Dems' plan also makes vouchers available only to students who have previously attended public schools and would eliminate a proposed tax credit to scholarship-granting organizations. Tallian and Melton, both members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, introduced these proposals in an amendment to the budget bill and said that almost all of the freed-up money could go towards teachers and classrooms, but received no Republican votes (unsurprisingly) en route a 4-9 defeat. Committee Chair Ryan Mishler expressed interest in some of the ideas going forward, but said he was uneasy making the changes in short measure.

HOUSE PASSES CIB BILL: The Capital Improvement Board Bill is nearing Governor Holcomb's desk after the Indiana House voted 78-13 to pass the bill Thursday, but still needs to meet the Senate's approval (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). Earlier this week, the House Ways & Means Committee adopted an amendment from co-chair Rep. Todd Huston removing the state from discussions over bringing new hotels to Indianapolis, following concerns from the industry. The amendment also relaxed the requirements for the Indy Eleven soccer team to build a public-private funded stadium, requiring the team to join a "pro league" rather than a "major league," which would allow the facility to be built under the team's current status. The version that came out of the Ways & Means Committee went unchanged on the floor and passed with strong margins, but its deferral from the hotel question could cause a hang up in the Senate.

MORRISON DEFENDS GAMING INDUSTRY: Legislation that could bring a casino to Vigo County lived on Thursday evening when the Indiana House by voice vote ordered Senate Bill 552 on to its third reading, which is set for Monday (Modisitt, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Vigo County’s casino effort seemed to face a challenge earlier in the day as Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, filed an amendment that could have cut the county out of the legislation entirely. Amendment 10 was filed by Huston but never brought forward on the floor, ending the scare for now.Also OK'd was an amendment offered by Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, D- South Bend. On the heels of recent news that owners of Spectacle Entertainment treated Governor Eric Holcomb to private flights to a Republican governors' conference, the Bauer amendment requires that any meeting with the governor's office regarding gaming be public. Rep. Alan Morrison, R- Brazil, seemed to take exception, and he took to the podium to offer his opinion. “The way we treat gaming in this state so differently, and I understand there will be arguments about other industries, but they are job creators and put a lot back into their communities,” Morrison said. “They are a big part of this state, and so I’m not going to vote for this. I think it’s bad policy.” Morrison ended up being one of 39 no votes, with the amendment passing 55-39.

BEEKEEPING BILL TO HOLCOMB: A bill that would loosen restrictions on beekeepers is heading to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk (Indiana Public Media). The measure comes after some Indiana governments began exploring beekeeping bans. Legislators say they don’t want to keep cities from regulating beekeeping activity, but say it’s impossible to ban something that occurs in nature. Mooresville beekeeper Debbie Seib says she doesn’t want to limit a city’s ability to regulate either. “We’re not trying to get them to prevent to be able to ban bees,” she says. “We want them to regulate them, we just don’t want them to ban them.” The bill isn’t expected to affect communities like Indianapolis and Bedford who already have ordinances limiting beekeeping.

LEGISLATORS EYE 20% VAPE TAX: Legislators are still looking to tax vaping, but the Senate has a different idea of how to do it (Berman, WIBC). The House voted to tax e-liquids by the ounce. A Senate committee has changed that to a straight 20% tax on the price. Markle Senator Travis Holdman says he wanted a tax more directly related to the potential health effects, including a tax based on the nicotine content. But he says that would be too hard to calculate. And Holdman says with so many one-man operations making e-liquids, it's not practical to tax the wholesale price. Holdman says the 20% tax accomplishes another goal of creating rough parity with the cigarette tax. Cigarettes are taxed per pack regardless of the price, but Holdman says the tax works out to about 22%. The amendment originally would have added a registration fee for sellers of CBD oil, to pay for testing to confirm the product is staying within legal limits for THC content.

TALLIAN SEEKS EMS INTEGRATION: This week, Senate Bill (SB) 498, authored by State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes), passed out of the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously. SB 498 would allow the creation of a mobile integrated healthcare program (Howey Politics Indiana). Sen. Tallian had the following comments on the passage of her bill: “Paramedics repeatedly service patients whom they call ‘frequent fliers’ – Hoosiers whose long-term illnesses force them to seek ambulance services for simple medical needs and treatments. Medics have the knowledge and capability to treat these Hoosiers in their own homes for routine care, but they currently cannot bill Medicaid for these services. Currently, emergency medical service (EMS) providers can only bill Medicaid for costly emergency transport services.  “My proposal allows certain EMS providers to be reimbursed for covered services that they provide to a Medicaid recipient. In consultation with the State Departments of Health and Homeland Security, the EMS Commission can develop a community paramedicine program. The Commission will also be able to establish and administer grants for cities and towns who start up such a program.

CONSTRUCTION EROSION BILL ADVANCES: A controversial bill regarding erosion on construction sites is headed back to the state House. It wouldn’t allow local governments to make stricter erosion control rules than state ones. But now, after a Senate amendment, there’s one exception (Indiana Public Media). Legislators recently amended the bill to allow local governments to make stricter erosion regulations for projects covering less than an acre of land. The state doesn’t currently have rules for these very small construction sites. Kerry Daily heads the legislative committee for the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. He says the sites tend to be closer to the road and so sediment can more quickly find its way into storm drains and then local waterways. “There’s a lot less room for error on these sites and — from what we’ve heard from some of our members — that those are the sites they get the most public complaints about,” Daily says. Daily says local governments should be allowed to makes rules that are stricter than what the state requires to protect sensitive areas like parks and wetlands.

SEN. J.D. FORD CHOSEN AS PARADE MARSHAL: On Thursday, the 2019 Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade announced State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) as one of four Grand Marshalls of Indy Pride's annual summer event. Sen. Ford had the following remarks on his appointment (Howey Politics Indiana): “I am incredibly humbled to have been selected as a Grand Marshall of this year’s Pride Parade. It has always been my personal policy as a legislator that the Statehouse is your house.”


YOUNG SEEKS TO MONITOR OVERSEAS NUKE TRANSFERS: U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday introduced legislation to ensure that Congress has the legislative authority to review all materials related to so-called “Part 810 authorizations” and is aware when the U.S. government authorizes persons or companies to transfer certain nuclear technologies and services to governments overseas (Howey Politics Indiana). Part 810 agreements authorize the transfer or nuclear technologies and information related to the production of “special nuclear materials” as defined in Title I of the Atomic Energy Act. Some authorizations, which are approved by the Secretary of Energy, may be non-public and can thus be withheld from Congressional oversight. These 810 authorizations are different than civil nuclear cooperation – so-called “123” – agreements, which are subject to Congressional approval. The Senators are introducing this legislation after revelations that seven undisclosed authorizations were recently granted for companies to engage in nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia. In March 2018 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman stated in an interview that his country would develop nuclear weapons “without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb”. Just a few months later, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir echoed these comments. “The transfer of nuclear technology overseas poses a major threat to our security as a nation and demands rigorous Congressional oversight,” said Senator Young. “This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the transfer of nuclear technology or expertise to foreign countries, like Saudi Arabia, cannot move forward without Congressional review. Nuclear technology is too sensitive and the risks are too great to allow for these agreements to move forward in the dark.”

YOUNG QUESTIONS TELECOM EXECS: In reaction to the high volume of illegal robocall scams flooding Hoosiers’ phones, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, questioned a panel of telecommunications experts in today’s Commerce Hearing on his recently released Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act (Howey Politics Indiana). During the hearing, Senator Young asked the panel about improving phone call authentication standards to proactively prevent unsolicited phone calls. Mr. Kevin Rupy, Partner at Wiley Rein’s Telecom, Media & Technology (TMT) Practice, responded by saying, “The TRACED Act does two things that are going to help with that – the facilitation and interagency work… will make finding these actors easier and faster, but I really think that at the end of the day, that the criminal enforcement component so if they get caught that first time they can’t set up shop again.”

BANKS SEEKS MED DEVICE REPEAL: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) released the following statement regarding his cosponsorship of the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2019,” which would repeal the excise tax on medical devices.  Northeast Indiana is a leader in medical device development and manufacturing (Howey Politics Indiana). Said Rep. Banks, “Since I first entered Congress, I have been fighting for the permeant repeal of the disastrous medical device tax that has cost 29,000 jobs and made health care more expensive.  As the representative of the ‘Orthopedic Capital of the World,’ it is important that we give clarity to medical device makers so that they can invest in lifesaving innovations. I am proud to support this bipartisan effort to fully eliminate this counterproductive tax once and for all.”

CAIN LOSING GOP SENATE SUPPORT: Four Republican senators say they oppose President Trump’s latest pick for the Federal Reserve Board, Herman Cain, effectively sinking the former presidential candidate’s chances (Wall Street Journal). Sens. Mitt Romney (R., Utah), Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) all said this week that they wouldn’t vote to confirm Mr. Cain if he were formally nominated for a Fed board job. “If I had to vote today, I would vote no,” Mr. Cramer said Thursday, the latest senator to take a public stance on the matter.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB COMMENTS ON SENATE BUDGET – Gov. Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement regarding the budget proposed by the Senate (Howey Politics Indiana): “I appreciate the Senate’s hard work in crafting its budget priorities. There are now three budget proposals – the House, the Senate, and my administration. Now we can and will build consensus during the final stretch.”

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB NAMES KOSCIUSKO JUDGE - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced Christopher D. Kehler as his appointment to the new Kosciusko County Superior Court which will open July 1. Kehler has been in private practice in Warsaw, Indiana since graduating law school (Howey Politics Indiana). He has also served as an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech Community College. Kehler earned a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin College and his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law. Kehler will be sworn in as the judge of the Kosciusko County Superior Court on a date to be determined.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SELECTS WABASH JUDGE - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced Benjamin D. Vanderpool as his appointment to the Wabash County Superior Court to succeed Judge Amy Conner Cornell who passed away earlier this year (Howey Politics Indiana). Vanderpool has been in private practice in Wabash and Warsaw, Indiana since graduating law school. Vanderpool earned his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Vanderpool will be sworn in as the judge of the Wabash County Superior Court on a date to be determined.

EDUCATION: JUDGE CURIEL SEEKS TO INSPIRE STUDENTS - Federal judge and Region native Gonzalo Curiel returned to his home turf Thursday to talk to hundreds of local high school students about the door-opening benefits of higher education (. Speaking at a town hall at Purdue University Northwest (Racke, NWI Times), Curiel recalled the journey from his hometown of East Chicago to the heights of the U.S. legal system, where he now serves as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of California. The key to his rise, he said, was seeing challenges related to his upbringing not as obstacles, but as way to prove what he was capable of achieving. “Embracing challenge is the greatest opportunity you can have,” he told the students. “They are opportunities because they test us.” Describing himself as an “accidental judge,” Curiel reassured students it wasn’t a big deal if they didn’t know what subjects they wanted to study or careers they wanted to pursue. He confessed he didn’t even consider the legal field until late in college, and only then after dropping his original dream to be a jazz guitarist.

EDUCATION: IU KELLEY SCHOOL RANKS HIGH - The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is ranked at the top of the 2019 World Rankings for Entrepreneurship Activity. IU is the only Indiana school included in the top 20 (McLaughlin, Inside Indiana Business). The list, determined by the Neely Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Texas Christian University, ranks schools based on research published in three top entrepreneurship journals. The university says research activity by faculty in Kelley’s Department of Management and Entrepreneurship "far outpaced" those at other universities. This year, Kelley faculty published 37 articles. “Even amidst that enormous growth on schools, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business maintains the No. 1 ranking solidifying its global reputation as the very best in entrepreneurship research. This is a huge tribute to the quality of our entrepreneurship faculty,” Donald Kuratko, the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship and executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said in a news release.

EDUCATION: PURDUE NW REMAKE ACHIEVES MILESTONE - Purdue University Northwest achieved a significant milestone this week in a process that began a year ago to chart the university’s future (Michigan City News-Dispatch). The comprehensive initiative – Imagine PNW – is intended to map PNW’s path forward and determine how best to invest the university’s resources to realize those plans, university spokesman Doug Clark said. "Working together, faculty and staff members from throughout PNW have examined each academic program and support function to assess how each contributes to PNW’s success," he said. "Decisions to be made by senior leaders over the next several months based on this assessment will help inform development of a new strategic plan for the university."

PUBLIC SAFETY: FIRE MARSHAL GLEESON HONORED - Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson was honored today at an Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association ceremony for his 50 years of service to the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana. Greeson was among several firefighters from across the state who were recognized for their longstanding careers in the fire service (Howey Politics Indiana). In a letter read to Greeson during the ceremony, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said, “Your professional achievements are surpassed only by your character and your extensive involvement in your community. We could not be more proud of our first responders, and for 50 years, you’ve been a real life hero.” During the ceremony, Greeson was presented with lifetime honorary memberships to both the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association and the Indiana Fire Chief's Association. Former Chief of the Indianapolis Fire Department, he was appointed Indiana State Fire Marshal in 2008. He continues to dedicate his career to serving the citizens of Indiana through promoting and enforcing fire and building safety.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP BELIEVES CAMPAIGN WAS SPIED ON -  President Donald Trump said Thursday he believes there was "spying" into his presidential campaign, echoing remarks made by the attorney general a day earlier, but going further and accusing the government of committing an illegal, unprecedented act (AP). The president's comments came a day after Attorney General William Barr testified at a congressional hearing that he believes "spying did occur" on Trump's 2016 campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russia investigation that shadowed Trump's presidency for nearly two years may have been mishandled. Barr provided no details about what "spying" may have taken place, but appeared to be alluding to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on a former Trump associate. He later said during the hearing that he wasn't sure there had been improper surveillance and wants to ensure all proper procedures were followed. "I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying into my campaign," Trump said Thursday. "I'll go a step further. It was my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying, and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP CLAIMS HE DOESN'T KNOW WIKILEAKS -  It was a far cry from "I love WikiLeaks!" President Donald Trump declared on Thursday that "I know nothing about WikiLeaks" after its disheveled founder Julian Assange was hauled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to face charges, a stark contrast to how candidate Trump showered praise on Assange's hacking organization night after night during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign (AP). Asked about Thursday's arrest, Trump said at the White House, "It's not my thing. I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange. I've been seeing what's happened with Assange and that will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who's doing an excellent job. So, he'll be making a determination . I know nothing really about him." "It's not my deal in life."

WHITE HOUSE: MIGRANTS TO SANCTUARY CITIES WAS EXPLORED - President Trump’s top aides considered an idea to pressure immigration agencies to release apprehended migrants into so-called sanctuary cities represented by Democratic lawmakers, according to several people familiar with the proposal (New York Times). The idea was floated in an email by a top White House policy adviser in November, when Mr. Trump was furiously condemning migrant caravans from Central America headed toward the southwestern border, the people, including two government officials, said. In the email dated Nov. 16, with the subject line “Sanctuary City Proposal,” May Davis, the deputy White House policy coordinator, raised the idea with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE TO GIVE TAYLOR U COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS - Taylor University, a Christian liberal arts school, says Vice President Mike Pence will be its featured commencement speaker (AP). Taylor University announced Thursday that Pence is scheduled to address graduates of the school in Upland on May 18 at the Kesler Student Activities Center. University President Paul Lowell Haines said in a statement that the former congressman and Indiana governor "has been a good friend to the university over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will speak about 5G technology at 2:25 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room, and at 3:15 p.m., he'll meet with the Fraternal Order of Police executive board in the Cabinet Room. Trump and his top telecom regulator will announce plans today to unleash the largest-ever swath of radio frequencies in the U.S. — plus a $20 billion fund to help wireless companies to keep pace with China in the 5G race. Proponents maintain that a significant economic advantage will be won by the first country to broadly deploy 5G networks, which will deliver wireless speeds 100 times faster than today's mobile internet. The U.S. lead in building current 4G technologies led to smartphone ubiquity and apps like Uber and Spotify. The next generation is expected to power self-driving cars and smart cities.

WHITE HOUSE: HUBBARD AT BUSH EVENT - Spotted at the Bush Center's 2019 Forum on Leadership in Dallas: former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Bill and Melinda Gates, Henry Kissinger, Robert Gates, Michael Chertoff, Don Evans, Paula Dobriansky, Anne Finucane, Dennis Muilenburg, Dan Gilbert, Ken Hersh, Ariane Cornell, Sean O'Keefe, Peter Altabef, Peter Pace, Dylan Tete, Jan Langbein, Holly Kuzmich, Kevin Sullivan, Ed Gillespie, Kelly Craft, Joel Kaplan, Al Hubbard, Mark Langdale, Margaret Spellings, Craig Stapleton, Thomas Stephenson, Robert McCallum Jr. and Mike Rawlings (Political Playbook).

INTERIOR: BERNHARDT CONFIRMED - The U.S. Senate confirmed David Bernhardt as the new Secretary of the Interior on Thursday, amid concerns about his conduct when he was a lobbyist for oil, mining and extractive industries. Democrats have called for Bernhardt to be investigated and questioned whether a former lobbyist for industries harmful to the environment should oversee public lands (CBS News). Bernhardt was confirmed largely along party lines in a 56-to-41 vote. Bernhardt was confirmed as Deputy Secretary of the Interior in 2017, where he has helped guide much of the Trump administration's deregulatory policies that has increased fossil fuel production on public lands. He became Acting Secretary of the Interior in January, after Ryan Zinke stepped down amid ethics concerns.

JUSTICE: OBAMA LAWYER CRAIG INDICTED - Former Obama administration White House counsel Greg Craig was indicted Thursday on charges of making false statements and concealing information in a Justice Department foreign lobbying investigation that intersected with the Russia probe (AP). Craig was charged in a two-count indictment that accuses him of willfully concealing material facts about work he and his former law firm performed for the Ukrainian government. The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia announced the charges. They came a day after Craig's lawyers said he expected to be charged in the probe, which spun off from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. In the statement, his attorneys, William Taylor and William Murphy, said, "Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government's stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion."

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - CBS "Face the Nation": Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brad Parscale. "Fox News Sunday": Panel: Rich Lowry, Anna Palmer, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Neera Tanden. Power Player: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, reflecting on his most famous speeches. NBC "Meet the Press": Panel: David Brooks, Kasie Hunt, Danielle Pletka and Eugene Robinson. CNN "State of the Union": Panel: Andrew Gillum, Scott Jennings, Jen Psaki and Linda Chavez. CNN "Inside Politics": Panel: Eliana Johnson, Toluse Olorunnipa, Karoun Demirjian and Jeff Zeleny.

OHIO: DEWINE SIGNS ABORTION HEARTBEAT BILL - Ohio's governor has signed a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions (AP). Republican Gov. Mike DeWine followed through Thursday on his pledge to sign the heartbeat bill. It cleared the state Legislature on Wednesday. DeWine's signature makes Ohio the fifth state to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. DeWine's support for the bill breaks with his predecessor. Former Republican Gov. John Kasich twice vetoed it on grounds it was unconstitutional and would spark a costly court challenge. Opponents in Ohio have already vowed to sue.

CALIFORNIA: AVENATTI CHARGED WITH CRIMES - Federal prosecutors in California announced on Thursday three dozen charges against Michael Avenatti, the prominent attorney best known for his criticisms of President Trump, accusing the lawyer of stealing millions of dollars from his clients and funneling their money into his own interests, including co-ownership of a $5 million private jet (Washington Post). The indictment was sweeping in its scope, accusing Avenatti of defrauding clients over a period spanning more than four years. The charges included bleak details, including claims that Avenatti’s alleged actions caused a paraplegic client to lose his Supplemental Security income benefits, which are paid to adults and children with disabilities, and prevented the same client from using settlement money to buy a home. Avenatti denied wrongdoing and wrote on Twitter that he will “fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY.”


CITIES: 300 JOBS COME TO CARMEL - The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says a suburban Indianapolis information technology consulting and staffing company plans to create up 300 new jobs by 2021 with an expansion including a training center for employees and customers (AP). The agency says Carmel-based BCforward will invest more than $1 million over three years to establish the training center. As part of the expansion, the company will hire for positions at both BCforward and a subsidiary, Stafforward, in technology consulting and administrative and clerical positions. The IEDC offered BCforward up to $2.6 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job-creation plans.

CITIES: JOURNEY GUITARIST IGNORES FORT WAYNE OFFICIALS - Lawyers for Memorial Coliseum have been trying for months to interview Journey guitarist Neal Schon and his wife, Michaele, who are suing the venue, a security company and a security guard accused of assaulting the woman at a concert in 2017 (Leblanc, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). No luck so far, according to court documents filed in Allen Superior Court. Instead, the couple have responded to attorneys' requests to sit for depositions with emailed threats to take the case and video of the alleged assault to the media. “Hate to rattle you but I don't think we will need to do any depos – when you see all my evidence We will take it straight to media soon,” a message sent Feb. 26 from Neal Schon's Gmail account states. “Have a nice day. You are messing with the wrong person.”

COUNTIES: MARION BEGINS NEEDLE EXCHANGE - In the war against the hepatitis C epidemic, Marion County health officials are pulling out their newest weapon: a mobile health unit that will roam the city, offering clean syringes in exchange for dirty ones (IBJ). The customized vehicle, about the size of a small school bus, will also be equipped with laboratory and medical supplies, and will offer health screenings and educational information, along with syringes. The county’s public health department unveiled the vehicle Wednesday, the latest effort to put a dent in the soaring rate of hepatitis C. Reported cases in the county rose from 0.6 to 7.6 per 100,000 people between 2013 and 2017, with much of the rise due to the opioid epidemic. Last summer, the health department declared an epidemic of hepatitis C, an often-deadly liver diseases linked to injection drug use and dirty syringes. The City-County Council later approved the county’s first-ever syringe-exchange program in an effort to boost public health and increase public safety. Dr. Virginia Caine, the county’s public health director, said syringe services can increase treatments, reduce health care costs and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. “The time is now for Marion County to step forward and take action for the health of residents and the community,” she said.

COUNTIES: BARTHOLOMEW EMERGENCY DIRECTOR DIES - A local county emergency management director who led his community through some of the darkest moments of the past three decades has died (Columbus Republic). Dennis Moats, who served as Bartholomew County’s Emergency Management Director from 1991 through 2015, died Wednesday afternoon at Columbus Regional Hospital.  He was 68. “He was an awesome guy,” said Todd Noblitt, a former Chief Deputy Sheriff who is now Bartholomew County’s Emergency Operations Center director.  “Dennis was just a wealth of knowledge who never seemed to get overwhelmed or bent out of shape over anything.”

COUNTIES: LAWRENCE MAN ARRESTED FOR SCHOOL BOARD THREATS - Intimidation and harassment are some of the charges against man in Lawrence County (WIBC). State police say they were called by a North Lawrence school board member last year. They said they had been emailed by a man identifying himself as James White. This man said they intended to ridicule and ruin the school board member's life and reputation if they tried running for re-election.  Troopers say not long after the investigation began, a second school board member came forward saying the same thing. The second school board member said they had several threatening emails from a James White dating back to 2016. ISP put their Cyber Crimes Unit on the case and they eventually tracked down Jade Miller of Bedford. They say Miller sent the emails not only from his home computer but from where he worked and even from where he was taking a vacation. Miller was arrested and taken to jail Thursday night. He's charged with intimidation, deception, and harassment.