BUTTIGIEG FRAMES HIS CAMPAIGN DESIGNED TO ‘WIN AN ERA’: Framed in a hulking, leaking Studebaker factory building that is being transformed into a tech center, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg launched his improbable Democratic presidential campaign, declaring that the party doesn't need to just win an election, "It needs to win an era" (Howey Politics Indiana). "Once in this city, we housed companies that helped power America into the 20th Century," Buttigieg told the 4,500 people who packed room as a heavy rain pounded outside, though he never mentioned President Trump or Vice President Pence during the speech, referencing only the "horror show in Washington." It was a speech he wrote himself. "Think of the forces that built the building we’re standing in now, and countless others like it now long gone. Think of the wealth created here. Think of the thousands of workers who came here every day, and the thousands of families they provided for. And think of what it must have been like in 1963 when the great Studebaker auto company collapsed and the shock brought this city to its knees. "Buildings like this one fell quiet, and acres of land around us slowly became a rust-scape of industrial decline, collapsing factories everywhere," the 37-year-old mayor said. "For the next half-century it took heroic efforts just to keep our city running, while our population shrank, and young people like me grew up believing the only way to a good life was to get out. Many of us did. But then some of us came back. We wanted things to change around here. And when the national press called us a dying city at the beginning of this decade, we took it as a call to arms. I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing that nothing like Studebaker would ever come back—but believing that we would, our city would, if we had the courage to reimagine our future. And now, I can confidently say that South Bend is back." As for the future, Buttigieg declared, "That’s why I’m here today. To tell a different story than 'Make America Great Again,'" a reference to President Trump's slogan. "It’s time to walk away from the politics of the past, and toward something totally different," the mayor said as rays of sunlight suddenly poured through the glass windows atop the ceiling. "So that’s why I’m here today, joining you to make a little news: My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States." South Bend is now the metaphor for one of 20 Democratic presidential campaigns, which now finds Buttigieg placing third in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.

MAYOR PETE COMPETED WITH TIGER WOODS: The Pete Buttigieg campaign roll out had him scheduled to speak at 2:30 Sunday afternoon. But a series of mayors and other speakers droned on and it became clear, Buttigieg was competing for air time with Tiger Woods' amazing comeback at The Masters (Howey Politics Indiana). It was just before 3 when word filtered through the cavernous Studebaker 84 building that Woods had captured his fifth Masters, and the first in years. Buttigieg wouldn't take the stage until about 3:20 p.m. The collision with the Masters wasn't as debilitating as Sen. Richard Lugar's 1995 campaign kickoff that was completely overshadowed by the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, but he ended up sharing TV coverage throughout the rest of Sunday and this morning.

GOP'S HUPFER RESPONDS TO BUTTIGIEG: Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said of the rally, “Finally, after over two years of bashing President Donald Trump, personally attacking Vice President Mike Pence, and neglecting his duties in South Bend, Pete Buttigieg announced what we all knew he was up to the whole time. But no amount of mudslinging, unhinged political rhetoric or time rubbing elbows with the coastal liberal elite will hide the facts of his failed tenure as mayor of South Bend. Poverty and eviction rates are high and crime is plaguing the city. If he can’t effectively run a city of barely 100,000, how is he supposed to lead a nation of 300 million-plus?”

STUDEBAKER BECAME A SYMBOL FOR SOUTH BEND: For decades, the biggest symbol of this Midwestern city’s decline was the vacant Studebaker plant at one end of the city with its broken windows. Kevin Smith, a business owner in South Bend who bought the property to renovate it, said the empty relic was holding the city back. “It looms over the town,” he said. “Everyone had the feeling that we could no longer compete” (Wall Street Journal). These days, some 40 organizations, including tech companies and a school that teaches coding to children, rent space on the 1.2 million-square-foot campus, including one building with an open floor plan and interior glass walls. Now called the Renaissance District, it is a symbol of the rebound in the state’s fourth-largest city. Since 2012, the South Bend area has added more than 10,000 jobs. The city’s unemployment rate fell from 11.8% to 4.4% at a time when the nation’s labor market is at its strongest level in 50 years. But business leaders and residents also give credit to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is raising money for a Democratic presidential run. Mr. Smith said Mr. Buttigieg, 37 years old and the city’s first openly gay mayor, helped secure state funding and provide tax credits to attract companies to the former Studebaker plant.

SOUTH BEND PD TAPES DRAWING ATTENTION TO BUTTIGIEG: Pete Buttigieg’s meteoric rise as a presidential candidate is putting a spotlight on his years as mayor of South Bend, Ind., including his demotion of an African American police chief (The Hill).  An Indiana judge will rule soon on whether to release five cassette tapes of secretly recorded conversations between South Bend police officers that led to the 2012 demotion of Police Chief Darryl Boykins, the city’s first ever black police chief. The South Bend City Council subpoenaed Buttigieg to win release of the tapes, which were at the center of a police department shake-up and a series of lawsuits. Buttigieg’s critics say he’s gone to great lengths to conceal the contents of the tapes, which some believe could include racist language by white police officers. There is roiling anger in South Bend over the allegations of racism. Black leaders in the city say that if there is evidence of racism, it could call into question scores of convictions that stemmed from white police officers investigating black suspects in a city that is 25 percent black.

APRIL 24 SINE DIE NOW IN QUESTION: House Speaker Brian Bosma is hoping to end the 2019 legislative session April 24 — five days ahead of the April 29 adjournment required by state law. It's not because Hoosier lawmakers have been unusually efficient this year, though Bosma insists that "members are working hard to bring to their legislation to a successful close" (Carden, NWI Times). Rather, the majority of the 150 representatives and senators, including most of the Northwest Indiana delegation, will have no hotel rooms to stay in between April 25 and April 28 when the National Rifle Association convention takes over downtown Indianapolis. Bosma said Republican legislative leaders have a plan to wrap up state budget negotiations by April 22 to give lawmakers up to 48 hours, and certainly no less than 24 hours, to review the budget prior to voting on it April 24 and then adjourning for the year. However, he's not sure whether that plan still is feasible, given the differences between the House-approved budget and the Senate revisions to House Bill 1001 that's set for Senate approval Tuesday.

BUDGET FORECAST 'WRINKLE' COMING WEDNESDAY: A pivotal moment is coming for the Indiana General Assembly Wednesday, as the state’s latest revenue forecast for the 2019-2021 biennium is set to be released right in the middle of budget talks (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). While lawmakers haven’t seen the forecast yet, GOP leadership has already indicated that they’re not anticipating good news. “I expect there’s going to be significantly less funds” Speaker Brian Bosma told reporters last week, “I don’t know if that’s $50 million or $250 million, we’ll find out.” It could delay the targeted April 24 sine die that Bosma mentioned last week. Obviously, a downturn in expected revenue would have a major impact on the budget proposals that the two chambers are trying to come together on. Bosma added that if the forecast is indeed gloomy, Republicans will be looking to tighten spending and aren’t interested in re-opening other options like the proposed cigarette tax raise. He said there are “two big buckets” they’ll look at it if they need to do some fiscal tightening – K-12 funding and DCS – and said legislators will “have to decide which to start pouring water out of.”

KEY GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEADLINES THIS WEEK: The time for third readings in both legislative chambers runs out early this week, with the House hitting its deadline today and the Senate’s coming up tomorrow (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). That means this long General Assembly session has now moved into its final phase. With exactly two weeks left before the statutory mark for sine die, lawmakers will be heading to conference committees (some have already started) to work out the kinks between the House and Senate on the remaining bills that haven’t been sent to Governor Holcomb’s desk. Speaker Brian Bosma has thus far stuck with his April 24th goal for sine die and has repeatedly said that while the legislature is still grappling with big issues like the gaming and CIB bills, passing a budget is the only mandatory task they have to fulfill before closing up. For his part, Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray pointed to Wednesday’s revenue forecast as a major determinant for how smooth budget talks will be and how quickly session can be closed.

TAYLOR U DISSENT OVER PENCE COMMENCEMENT: The first text message arrived while the faculty meeting was still in session. “Pence speaking at commencement,” it began. “Yeah, I know, horrible, but it’s the most exciting faculty meeting ever.” My phone didn’t stop buzzing Thursday. None of the people texting me were happy about the selection of Vice President Pence as the 2019 graduation speaker at Taylor University, an evangelical Christian college of about 2,000 students in rural Indiana (Peterson, Washington Post). I’ve worked part time at Taylor for eight years, teaching as an adjunct in the English, honors and communications departments. My husband and I moved here so that he could help build the school’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program for international students. As Christians and former missionaries, we believed in Taylor’s mission of developing servant leaders who would minister Christ's redemptive love and truth to a world in need, and this intimate community has been a rich and nourishing place for us and our children. But the selection of Pence, a former Indiana governor, as the May 18 commencement speaker is deeply disappointing, for me, and for many of the faculty. It reflects a failure of the university’s leadership to live up to its mission. But a lot of people here are upset. As soon as the announcement was made, a professor from the biblical studies, Christian ministries and philosophy department called for a vote of dissent. After some discussion, during which some faculty expressed support for Pence’s presence, comparing him to the biblical figure of Daniel, and others critiqued the decision, 49 faculty voted in favor of Pence addressing the community at commencement. Sixty-one voted in opposition.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: There were three Democratic presidential campaign rollouts over the weekend, Pete Buttigieg on Sunday, along with Cory Booker and Eric Swalwell. There was no comparison of the media coverage. Mayor Pete dominated. But as The Hill story above signals, the real scrutiny of Buttigieg's tenure in South Bend is beginning. He will also need to show more diversity. The 4,500 people who packed Studebaker Building 84 on Sunday were overwhelmingly white. He will need a strategy to draw minority support in states like South Carolina and California. He's got nine months to do that. Whether Buttigieg has staying power or is simply the "flavor of the month" is to be determined. But Sunday represented an extremely credible start as he channeled JFK's torch is passing to a new generation and Barack Obama's audacity to run. - Brian A. Howey


MAYOR PETE DESCRIBES HIS PRINCIPLES: Mayor Pete Buttigieg described his campaign which has raised more than $7 million as one with the "principles that will guide my campaign are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security, and democracy" (Howey Politics Indiana). As for freedom, Buttigieg said, "Health care is freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t start a small business because leaving your job would mean losing your health care. Consumer protection is freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t sue your credit card company even after they get caught ripping you off. Racial justice is freedom, because you’re not free if there is a veil of mistrust between a person of color and the officers who are sworn to keep us safe. "Empowering teachers means freedom, because you’re not free in your own classroom if your ability to do your job is reduced to a test score," he continued. "Women’s equality is freedom, because you’re not free if your reproductive health choices are dictated by male politicians or bosses. Organized labor sows freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t organize for a fair day’s pay for a good day’s work. "And take it from Chasten and me, you are certainly not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their political beliefs," he said. Toward the end of his speech, Buttigieg described the "he horror show in Washington" as one that "is mesmerizing, all-consuming. But starting today, we are going to change the channel. Sometimes a dark moment brings out the best in us. What is good in us. Dare I say, what is great in us. I believe in American greatness. I believe in American values. And I believe that we can guide this country and one another to a better place." Buttigieg will take his campaign to New York on Monday and then to Iowa later in the week. He's already made the Democratic debate cut, which means he'll take the stage for a series of 12 debates beginning in June. That is where the top tier of the Democratic nomination will begin to separate."

COVERAGE OF BUTTIGIEG ROLL OUT: Here is some of the coverage of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign rollout in South Bend on Sunday:

New York Times, Trip Gabriel: Pete Buttigieg, the young Midwestern mayor whose presidential bid has been an unlikely early focus of attention from Democratic voters and donors, kicked off his campaign on Sunday and proclaimed his hometown's revival was the answer to skeptics who ask how he has the "audacity" to see himself in the White House."

Washington Post, Robert Costa: Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of this northern Indiana city who in just weeks has vaulted from being a near-unknown to a breakout star in the Democratic Party, officially started his presidential bid here on Sunday, presenting himself as a transformational figure who is well positioned to beat President Trump, despite being young and facing off against many seasoned rivals."

Politico, Daniel Strauss: "Rising Buttigieg formally launches presidential campaign": "Surging in early primary polls, Democrat Pete Buttigieg officially kicked off his presidential bid on Sunday, starting a new phase of the campaign as one of the main candidates to watch just three months after he launched an exploratory committee to little fanfare."

Bloomberg News, John McCormick: "Mayor Pete Buttigieg, an underdog in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race who’s seen an uptick in support in recent weeks, called for a new generation of American leadership as he became the 18th candidate to formally join the fold. Speaking from a building with ties to America’s industrial past that’s now being re-purposed to house technology companies and other jobs of the future, the 37-year-old sold himself as unique in a field crowded with Washington lawmakers and longtime politicians. “It is time to walk away from the politics of the past, and toward something totally different,” Buttigieg told thousands gathered inside a former Studebaker car assembly plant in South Bend, Indiana.

South Bend Tribune, Jeff Parrott: Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially entered the race for the U.S. presidency on Sunday afternoon, casting his candidacy in historic terms and declaring it was time for a new era in the country, one in which he and Americans work with optimism and hope to meet the country’s challenges. “Are you ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in the American story?” he asked supporters crammed in a cold and wet Studebaker Building 84, a former auto assembly plant in downtown South Bend. Without ever speaking President Trump’s name, Buttigieg cast himself as a polar opposite figure. The Studebaker building, vacant since the automaker shut down in 1963, delivered Buttigieg some fortuitous symbolism as it continues a transformation into modern office space.

IndyStar, Kaitlin Lange: Pete Buttigieg officially entered the crowded 2020 presidential race Sunday, marking the young Midwestern mayor's rise from political obscurity to a notable name in the Democratic field seeking to replace Donald Trump in the White House. "My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I’m a proud son of South Bend, Indiana, and I am running for president of the United States," Buttigieg announced to a roaring crowd of about 4,520. Another 1,500 were watching outside, according to his campaign. Already Buttigieg has made history, as the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate in history. His announcement capped a week of heightened media attention — driven in part by his criticisms of a fellow Hoosier, Vice President Mike Pence.

MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborugh: "Mayor Pete has nothing to lose. He's not afraid, he's bold and he's audacious. I've never been flooded with the kind of phone calls I received Sunday afternoon from Republicans, Democrats and independents. A more important question for Mayor pete is this, you can win Iowa, but you have to have a more diverse coalition. How will he fare in South Carolina? How will be fare in California."

DEMOCRATS TURN OUT FOR BUTTIGIEG: Attending the Buttigieg rally on Sunday included former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, who has not endorsed in the presidential race, and his wife, Jill (Howey Politics Indiana). Also attending were Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody.

SANDERS TAKES ON TRUMP: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) walked onstage here Friday under a gray sky with occasional specks of snow and launched into a full-on attack against President Trump, labeling him a “pathological liar” in a state that was key to Trump’s victory in 2016 (Washington Post). He repeated the epithet Saturday at a union hall in Michigan, another Trump state, and again on Sunday at a park in Pennsylvania, where Trump also won. “The biggest lie was that he was going to stand up for working families and take on the establishment,” Sanders said. The blistering attacks on the president reflect Sanders’s developing, and arguably risky, strategy of reaching out to Trump’s voters — people the president has said would support him even if he shot someone. It’s a sharp contrast with other Democratic candidates who are focused on mobilizing Trump opponents. Not incidentally, it is also a way to signal to Democrats that Sanders is their best hope for knocking off Trump, at a time when many fear he is the opposite. The most striking example of this strategy will play out Monday night when Sanders appears at a town hall meeting hosted by Fox News Channel, an outlet many Democrats detest and one the party has blocked from hosting a debate. Sanders says it’s important to talk to Fox viewers directly and tell them Trump misled them.

SWALWELL ANNOUNCES HIS BID: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) formally launched his campaign for the presidency Sunday in his hometown of Dublin, Calif., according to CNN. Swalwell, who has made his push for stricter gun control a central theme of his run, identified the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., as a formative moment, according to the network. "A year ago, hope died at Parkland," Swalwell said. "But, in a uniquely American way, owing to the courage and strength of children, hope was reborn at Parkland. Hope has been reborn here in America too. That's why I started my campaign at Parkland. I pledged to that community what I pledge to you -- I will be the first campaign to make ending gun violence the top priority in my campaign."

HARRIS RELEASES 15 YEARS OF TAX RETURNS: Sen. Kamala Harris has released 15 years of tax returns, more than any presidential candidate so far. Her campaign released returns for every year she has held elected public office, from 2004 through 2018 (CBS News). Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, reported an adjusted gross income of about $1.9 million in 2018, substantially more than the $142,000 Harris declared in 2004 when she was the district attorney of San Francisco. They paid just under $700,000 in federal taxes, a tax rate of nearly 37 percent.

TRUMP TO POST $30M: President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to the Associated Press. The haul brings the campaign's cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign. The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26.

Sunday Talk

SCOTT SAYS TRUMP TRYING TO MAKE 'EVERYBODY CRAZY': Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott said Sunday that President Donald Trump's threat to place immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities might just be the President trying to "make everybody crazy." "I don't know whether it's legal or illegal. I mean, maybe he's just saying this to make everybody crazy. Make everybody talk about it on their shows," Scott, who represents Florida, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." Scott added: "But what I do know is I've been up there -- I've been in the Senate for 90 days, we're not securing our border. We're not enforcing our laws."

RYAN DEFENDS CAMPAIGN FOCUS: Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on Sunday defended the focus of his 2020 presidential campaign on economic issues, saying that many Americans are tired of "just getting by." "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Ryan during an interview on ABC whether campaigning on economic issues will be effective, given that President Trump has seen sustained job growth and low unemployment rates. "Well, it's not doing well where I come from and it’s not doing well in a lot of places around the country," Ryan, who announced his White House bid earlier this month, explained.

SWALWELL FOR MEDICARE FOR ALL: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential candidate, said Sunday that he supports giving "Medicare to all," but does not want to see private insurance abolished. “I support a bill that would give Medicare to all," Swalwell said on CNN's "State of the Union. "The part of the bill that I would strike would be to give a public option, the Medicare portion, but allow people to keep plans they like." “Employers may offer a better plan," he added. "I think it’s very much in our DNA to have choice.”

CONWAY CITES 'RADICAL FRESHMEN': White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that there are moderate Democrats in Congress who are willing to negotiate with President Trump and are frustrated with "radical freshmen" in Congress. “There’s a great deal of frustration among rank and file members who represent more moderate districts and frankly who represent districts that Donald Trump won in 2016. They’re very frustrated," she added Sunday during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "They’ve been to the White House. They talk to people like me, quietly, saying they wish the radical freshman who get all the magazine covers and all the ink and airtime," Conway continued, interrupting herself to suggest freshman Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are causing "trouble in Pelosi paradise."

INSLEE SAYS PEOPLE REALIZING CLIMATE URGENCY: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Sunday that "people are coming to realize the urgency" of climate change. Inslee, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, added during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believes focusing on climate change is the best path to the nomination. “I believe it is the best path because people are coming to realize the urgency of this. Tied with health care it is the number one priority of voters in Iowa and for good reason," he said.

HOMELAND CHAIRMAN DESCRIBES 'SIMPLISTIC ATTACK': House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Sunday that President Trump's tweet with a video showing images from the Sept. 11 attacks combined with remarks from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was a "simplistic attack." “If I look at what the president says on a daily basis, we could criticize him almost by the hour, so for him to take the congresswoman on is just another one of his real simplistic attacks," Thompson said on ABC's "This Week." “I saw the speech she gave and I saw nothing wrong with it. I saw the president's manufactured tweet where he put pieces in there.”

General Assembly

CASINO BILL UP FOR THIRD READING TODAY: While not all state representatives from the Wabash Valley agree that Vigo County needs, or should even want a casino, each said it’s going to be a hectic final two weeks at the statehouse as the legislation likely faces substantive changes (Modisitt, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). As written, Senate Bill 552, authored by Republican Sens. Jon Ford of Terre Haute and Mark Messmer of Jasper, would create a gaming license for Vigo County should a public referendum in November or May 2020 be successful. If the referendum were to pass, legislation would require the formation of a Vigo County casino advisory board. The board will be responsible for evaluating proposals to operate a casino in Vigo County. The board would then forward its recommendations to the Indiana Gaming Commission. The commission would select the top three proposals and open an “auction process.” The auction would be at an advertised meeting of the gaming commission and would see each of the finalists submit one bid. The highest of the three would be awarded the license. It requires a minimum bid of $25 million. SB 552 made it through second reading in the House on Thursday with relatively minor changes. It will be heard again in the House on third and final reading today.

BORDERS TO VOTE AGAINST SB552: State Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, intends to vote against SB 552 today, saying he is as against gambling in general as he is against an expansion of it around the state (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). “I’ve always said and still believe that gambling is economic development for people who are bad at math,” Borders said. “And ultimately what often happens with these places is it comes in with all the excitement and the bling and you get a great turnout initially. “But later what happens is ... they become a regressive tax on the poor. I do not, and will not support the expansion of gaming in Indiana.” Reps. Tonya Pfaff, Bob Heaton and Alan Morrison each said they intend to vote in favor SB 552 today and agree it’s important to let the people of Vigo County decide what’s best for them via referendum. “I think it’s very important that Vigo County has the opportunity to have a casino,” said Pfaff, D-Terre Haute. “What I believe is we need the opportunity to let voters decide. From what I’ve heard, all kinds of cities in Indiana want a casino and we need to at least have that choice.” Heaton agreed, saying he sees it as his job to give the people of Vigo County a voice in bringing something as divisive as a casino to the area. “I think it could be an economic driver for the area. And when I talk to people they seem all seem to be in favor of it, of course I’m sure there are people who aren’t,” said Heaton, R-Terre Haute. “But based on the referendum language in there, the people in Vigo County will get to make that decision for themselves.” If it passes third reading today, as each of the area legislators expect it to, SB 552 would then likely go to conference committee. Its there that Morrison, R-Brazil, expects SB 552 will again see substantive changes. “As 552 sits right now, even though I’m voting for it, there is a lot wrong with it and it’ll be a big lift to change some of it,” Morrison said.


EASTER RECESS: The House and Senate break for a two-week Easter recess.

CONCERNS ABOUT REP. OMAR'S SAFETY: Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms 'are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar, her family and her staff' following a tweet by President Donald Trump (Politico). Pelosi's announcement highlighted what has become an extraordinary situation — the speaker of the House is worried about the safety of one of her own members following a statement by the president of the United States. An Omar aide said on Sunday that 'there has been an increase in threats' against the Minnesota Democrat following Trump's tweet. Omar's office reports such threats to the FBI and Capitol Police, the aide said.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB EXPECTED TO SIGN SCHOOL ALERT BILL - Gov. Eric Holcomb is expected to sign a bill that would allow Indiana school districts to seek state money for alert systems to warn students and staff about emergencies (AP). The bill would permit all 92 counties to request grants from the Indiana Secured School Fund for an alert system similar to one that’s used in northwestern Indiana. The legislation is the “beginning of the most proactive effort that anybody can try to take in order to answer the problems that we’ve been seeing with safety in our schools,” said Rep. Chuck Moseley of Portage. When a school leader activates the system in Porter County, all area law enforcers at the local, state and federal levels are informed through a mobile phone application, said Sheriff David Reynolds. The officers can go directly to a school without waiting to be notified by a 911 operator. They can use their electronic key fob access to the building to promptly counteract a threat, or to help students and educators trying to escape. “The most important thing when you get there is to go in. Because we know once you go in, it’s not going to take long.” Reynolds said.

GOVERNOR: DANIELS REUNITED WITH RV1 - The recreational vehicle used by former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels became a museum piece after Daniels left office and became president of Purdue University (WTHR-TV). But on Sunday, Daniels tweeted a picture in front of the RV with the words, "Best birthday surprise ever." Daniels' post continued, "The family and the 04/08 campaign crew borrowed RV One from the state museum for the day. What memories. That vehicle and I saw every corner of Indiana over and over. He turned 70 April 7. Daniels donated "RV One" to the Indiana State Museum, but when he turned over the keys in 2012, it went on display at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, according to WNDU.

ENERGY: BIG CHANGES COMING ON POWER CONSUMPTION - As climate change brings hotter summers and warmer winters, Hoosiers will use less energy to heat their homes — but more energy for air conditioning (Stephens, CNHI). And if current trends continue, a larger percentage of that energy will come from clean-burning natural gas and renewable resources like wind and solar power. That’s according to the latest Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment report, “Climate Change and Indiana’s Energy Sector,” released in February. The Purdue Climate Change Research Center coordinates the annual report, which draws on research from dozens of Indiana universities and stakeholder groups. While energy used for heating will fall significantly, the report suggests the increased use of air conditioning will grow Hoosiers’ overall energy consumption.

EDUCATION: PURDUE NW PROF LEAVES SCHOOL $8M - A building at Purdue University Northwest is being named in honor of a former professor who left about $8 million from his estate for student scholarships and professorships (AP). The Purdue University Board of Trustees recently approved the official naming of the Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building, which is under construction in Hammond, Indiana, and is set to open in fall 2020.

EDUCATION: IU DIGITALIZES 160K PLANTS - Indiana University has wrapped up a 5-year project that digitized its collection of more than 160,000 preserved plant specimens (AP). The project launched in 2014 now provides online access to the IU Herbarium’s complete plant collection, including more than 72,000 specimens of Indiana flora. The herbarium’s director, Eric Knox, says digital photographs were obtained of the collection’s plant specimens. Those images and other data are now available to researchers around the globe. Knox calls the Bloomington campus’ digitized collection “a gift to the people of Indiana.”

SPORTS: NOTRE DAME INSTALLS METAL DETECTORS AT STADIUM - Metal detectors will be used at all Notre Dame Stadium gates, starting with the 2019 football season (AP). The new policy begins Sept. 14 at the Irish’s first home game. The South Bend Tribune reports that university officials say the change is part of their commitment to safety and security.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP EYES IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONS - President Trump and his top aides are weighing rules designed to clamp down on countries whose nationals overstay short-term visitor visas as part of a broader push for new ways to curb immigration (Wall Street Journal). The effort would target nationals of countries with high overstay rates of such visas, which include the African nations of Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to Department of Homeland Security data. The U.S. as part of a new rule would tell the countries’ governments that if rates don’t reverse, then future visas could be shorter or harder to get, according to an administration official who described the move as putting those countries “on notice.” Ultimately, nationals from countries with high overstay rates could be barred entirely, though the official said no ban is now under consideration.

WHITE HOUSE: SANDERS SAYS CONGRESS 'NOT SMART ENOUGH' - White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday that she doesn’t believe members of Congress are “smart enough” to examine President Trump’s tax returns, pushing back against Democrats’ demands for information on the president’s finances (Washington Post). House Democrats have given the Trump administration a hard deadline of April 23 to turn over the president’s tax returns, arguing that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s concerns about the request “lack merit.” In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Sanders said that Democrats were treading a “dangerous road” and that their request for Trump’s tax returns is “all about political partisanship.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: Monday: Trump flies to Minnesota for a Tax Day roundtable to promote his tax cuts. (Several Trump aides have told me the president and his political team are targeting Minnesota as a pick-up opportunity in 2020 after narrowly losing the state in 2016.) Tuesday: Trump has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. Wednesday: Trump will speak at the Opportunity Zone Conference with state, local, tribal, and community leaders. Thursday: The President and first lady will participate in the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. Trump will also meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


CITIES: MEERS TOUTS MICHIGAN CITY'S RESURGENCE - “There is no doubt that Michigan City is better off than they were seven years ago.” So said Mayor Ron Meer at his annual State of the City Address on Thursday at the Michigan City Senior Center (Michigan City News-Dispatch). The mayor spent his address highlighting some of his city departments and initiatives, identifying “what went right, what went wrong, and – more importantly – where things need to change or improve for (the) program to continue moving forward in the right direction.” Improving and protecting the local environment was the first highlight. Over the past seven years, Meer said, “We put approximately $40 million in green infrastructure, lift station improvements in our various neighborhoods, storm water separation, sanitary sewer improvements. And this has happened throughout the whole city, in all our neighborhoods. It's not always real glamorous to see these things because they're underground, but they are so important to your everyday life."