HOUSE VOTES TO KEEP RAPE, INCEST EXCEPTIONS: A deeply divided Indiana House voted Thursday to keep exceptions in cases of rape or incest in a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state (Rodgers & Davies, AP). The Republican-dominated House voted 61-39 to defeat an amendment that would have removed those exceptions, with a majority of GOP members wanting their removal. The House vote displayed a similar division among Republicans seen in the state Senate over exceptions for rape and incest, which remained in the bill when an attempt in the Senate last week also failed to strip those exceptions. Republican Rep. Karen Engleman sponsored the amendment, arguing that even a child conceived in a rape or incest attack deserved a chance at life. “The intentional ending of human life has no place in medical practice,” Engleman said. The Indiana proposal follows a political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to end a pregnancy. The case gained wide attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child had to travel to Indiana because a new Ohio law bans abortions if cardiac activity can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. Democratic legislators questioned Engleman on whether that girl’s abortion would be prohibited if her amendment was adopted. Engleman, who said she had a child as an unmarried teenager, responded that doctors could still determine whether the pregnancy threatened the life of a young girl.

 

HOUSE REJECTS STATEWIDE ABORTION REFERENDUM: The House on Thursday also rejected, largely on party lines, a Democratic proposal that called for placing a non-binding question on the statewide November election ballot: “Shall abortion remain legal in Indiana?” (AP). The proposal came after Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have allowed the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten abortion restrictions or ban the procedure outright. The vote was the first test of voters’ feelings about abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. McNamara spoke against the ballot question, pointing out that Indiana law doesn’t provide for statewide referendums. The only such statewide votes are on proposed constitutional amendments after they’ve been endorsed two separately elected Legislatures.

 

LAWMAKERS SETTLE ON $200 TAX REBATE: All Indiana taxpayers would be eligible for $200 rebate payments from the state’s surging budget surplus under an apparent deal reached Thursday among Republican legislators (AP). Those payments will be less than the $225 refunds that were originally proposed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb but the deal represents a concession from GOP senators who were reluctant to go along with that plan. Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown said the package was an agreement with Senate negotiators. The plan endorsed Thursday in a largely party-line vote by the House will dedicate about $1 billion from the state’s record $6.1 billion in cash reserves toward the rebate payments. It also will direct $1 billion toward a state teacher pension fund’s future obligations. Senate Republican leaders had made paying down that debt a priority.

 

HEALTH COMMISSION RELEASES RECOMMENDATIONS: The Governor’s Public Health Commission has released its final report containing recommendations that ensure every Hoosier can access essential public health services regardless of where they live or work (Howey Politics Indiana). The 15-member commission, established by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb on Aug. 18, 2021, via executive order, was charged with examining the strengths and weaknesses of Indiana’s current public health system and making recommendations for improvements. The recommendations, contained in a 128-page report submitted to Governor Holcomb this week, are the culmination of a 10-month process that involved research, stakeholder meetings and public comment focused on six key workstreams: governance, services and infrastructure; workforce; funding; data and analytics; emergency preparedness; and childhood and adolescent health. “When this commission was first formed, I charged it with performing an exhaustive study of our public health system and making recommendations to ensure that Hoosiers can access the services they need to achieve their best health, regardless of where they live,” Governor Holcomb said. “I am overly grateful to the commission for the countless hours it has invested in this process and to the hundreds of Hoosiers who have commented throughout the process. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations and taking the next steps toward building a stronger public health system.”

 

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS: Key recommendations include: Providing additional state support to ensure every local health department can provide foundational public health services; Providing stable, recurring and accessible funding; Enhancing workforce recruitment, training and retention efforts; Enhancing data analytics resources for local health departments; Improving emergency preparedness and filling gaps in EMS workforce; and Increasing the number of school nurses to improve access to school-based health services. The full report with a complete list of recommendations is posted at www.in.gov/gphc.

 

WALORSKI'S CAR CROSSED THE CENTERLINE BEFORE ACCIDENT: The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office now says the car carrying U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown) was traveling northbound and crossed the centerline ahead of Wednesday’s fatal crash (Lazarro, WVPE). The department originally reported the opposite — Walorksi was traveling south and was hit by a northbound driver around 12:30 p.m. — but says that preliminary information was incorrect. In a Thursday news release, officials say evidence from the scene, eyewitnesses and video evidence confirm that the silver Toyota RAV 4 carrying Walorski was traveling northbound on State Route 19 south of Wakarusa and crossed the centerline just before the crash. The RAV 4 was being driven by district director and St. Joseph County Republican Party Chair Zachery Potts. The department says it’s currently unknown why it crossed the centerline and collided with the southbound vehicle, a maroon Buick LeSabre driven by Edith Schmucker. Walorski, Potts, Schmucker and communications director Emma Thomson were all killed in the accident. The Sheriff's Office says all four were wearing seatbelts and that airbags did deploy. The investigation is ongoing.

 

MEMBERS SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THE ROAD: Rep. Jackie Walorski died while on the road in her district, Wednesday afternoon. The men and women of Congress take trips through the territory they represent frequently, and one Indiana senator acknowledged the inherent risk that comes with that while remembering his friend and colleague (Davis, WIBC). “All of us are on the road a lot. You never imagine that one day that could happen,” said Sen. Mike Braun. “You spend those hours, endless sometimes,” said Braun, of the road trips between home and Washington. Members of Congress usually fly home and visit their districts to talk with constituents, sometimes for town halls and sometimes to find out how they feel about a particular piece of legislation being considered. “When I heard that (news of her death) it’s like the ultimate gut punch,” said Braun.

 

INDIANA SCHOOLS AREN’T REQUIRED TO TEACH SEX ED: For two weeks, Indiana lawmakers have been locked in debate about how to reduce the number of abortions performed in the state. The current proposal would ban all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies or when the life of the pregnant person is at risk (Herron, IndyStar). So far, though, lawmakers haven’t considered a strategy that research shows can be effective in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and, thus, the number of abortions – teaching young people how to prevent pregnancy. Studies show that children and teenagers who have received comprehensive, evidence-based sexual education – which teaches about abstinence, contraception and healthy relations, among other key concepts – starting having sex later in life, have fewer partners and engage in fewer risky behaviors. Indiana doesn’t require schools to teach these concepts, though. It doesn’t require schools to provide any kind of sex ed. And, if they do teach sex ed, the only thing required by state law is for schools to teach abstinence "as the expected standard for all school-age children" and that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and other associated health problems.

 

GEORGIA SAYS 'UNBORN CHILD' CAN BE CLAIMED AS TAX DEPENDENT: Georgians can now claim an "unborn child" as a dependent on their state taxes, the state's Department of Revenue announced this week (CNN). Residents filing their 2022 tax returns who had fetuses with detectable heartbeats at six weeks of pregnancy can claim a dependent personal exemption in the amount of $3,000, the department said on Monday. The announcement follows the US Supreme Court's landmark decision overturning Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal constitutional right to abortion, and the subsequent ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed a Georgia law banning abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy to take effect.

 

RUSS COURT SENTENCES GRINER TO 9 YEARS: U.S. women’s basketball star Brittney Griner on Thursday was convicted of bringing marijuana with criminal intent into Russia last February and sentenced to nine years in prison, an outcome that is expected to clear the way for negotiations over her release between the two countries (Wall Street Journal). Judge Anna Sotnikova found Ms. Griner guilty of bringing drugs into Russia in mid-February, and that she had done so deliberately, according to Ms. Griner’s legal team. The nine-year sentence also included a fine of 1 million rubles, the team said. Ms. Griner’s time served, since February, will be included in her term, the judge said. She will immediately be transferred to a penal colony, the judge said. “The court found the defendant guilty [of] illegal acquisition, storage, transportation of drugs without the purpose of sale, and … smuggling of narcotic drugs in a significant amount,” the Russia’s state news agency, TASS, cited the judge as saying.

 

SINEMA BACKS ENERGY-CLIMATE BILL: Senate Democrats cleared a huge hurdle Thursday night by securing Kyrsten Sinema’s support for a modified signature climate, tax and health care proposal, and will move forward on the legislation on Saturday (Politico). The Arizona Democratic centrist announced that she’s signed off on the legislation after winning tweaks that include the removal of a narrowed loophole for taxation of certain investment income, a provision known as carried interest. In a statement, Sinema said she’s also won changes that would “protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy.” It was a big, early win for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s caucus, even as some of the bill’s specifics are still clouded in uncertainty. Schumer said in a statement Thursday night that “I believe” the party-line bill will get unanimous Democratic support and previewed the introduction of a final version on Saturday that will “put us one step closer to enacting this historic legislation into law.” He said it preserves “major” pieces of his earlier agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Dick Cheney’s ad on behalf of his daughter, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, could be an American milepost, coming on the same day that Kari Lake was declared winner in the Arizona gubernatorial race. She is an election denier, and now the former vice president insists that “deep down Republicans know” that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. Lake represents a troubling new sequence in American politics, which is essentially, “I will only accept election results if I win.” If Kari Lake gets her way, Democrats will never win another election in Arizona. This is the ultimate slippery slope. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

LAKE WINS AZ GOP GOV NOMINATION: Former television news anchor Kari Lake has won the Republican nomination for Arizona governor, climbing past her opponent’s early lead and rounding out the victory for Trump-backed candidates in the swing state (Arizona Republic). The Associated Press called the race for Lake just after 7 p.m. Thursday. Lake won with a narrow advantage, just shy of 3 percentage points over opponent Karrin Taylor Robson. Having never held elected office before, Lake turned her more than two-decade career as a newscaster for Fox 10 in Phoenix into political success in part by attacking the news industry that made her locally famous. Lake ran a campaign that furthered stolen election lies and in many ways echoed former President Donald Trump's brash and populist approach.

 

DICK CHENEY CALLS TRUMP 'COWARD' IN AD FOR LIZ: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an ad released Thursday to boost his daughter Liz’s reelection campaign, took direct aim at Donald Trump (Politico). Cheney looked directly into the camera in the 60-second ad and lambasted the former president as a “coward.” “In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,” Cheney said. “He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He is a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election, and he lost big. I know it. He knows it, and deep down, I think most Republicans know.”

 

AUTOCRAT ORBAN ADDRESSES CPAC:  It was a Trump rally with a Hungarian accent. Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister who has consolidated autocratic power with hard-right opposition to immigration and liberal democracy, addressed a crowd of thousands of American admirers in Dallas on Thursday with a red-meat speech that could have easily been delivered by any Republican candidate on the campaign trail this year (Washington Post). Orban presented the two countries as twin fronts in a struggle against common enemies he described as globalists, progressives, communists and “fake news.” “The West is at war with itself,” Orban said. “The globalist can all go to hell. I have come to Texas,” he added, stumbling over a famous slogan attributed to Texas legend Davy Crockett.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: CROUCH HONORS PLAUT, TRUITT -  Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch presented Dr. Karen Plaut, Dean of Agriculture at Purdue University, and Gary Truitt, Chairman of Hoosier Ag Today and the Indiana Farm Equipment & Technology Expo, with the state’s highest agricultural honor, the AgriVision Award (Howey Politics Indiana). Now in its 16th year, the award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the agriculture industry and their communities. “The agriculture industry is constantly growing and advancing thanks to businesses and education systems run by outstanding Hoosiers such as Dr. Plaut and Gary Truitt,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “They are taking technology and community involvement to the next level through their careers and many projects. These individuals are serving the State of Indiana to better the lives of future generations to come. These two agriculturalists and their families are well deserving of being awarded the state’s highest agricultural honor.”

 

GOVERNOR: IHA LAUDS HEALTH COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS - Statement from IHA President Brian Tabor (Howey Politics Indiana): “Indiana’s hospitals are truly grateful for Governor Holcomb’s leadership and commitment to improving Hoosiers’ health. The Commission’s in-depth review of Indiana’s public health system provides an opportunity to address a decades-old problem—we can no longer tolerate being 45th in the nation in terms of per capita funding. IHA looks forward to partnering with policymakers to reinvigorate our health care workforce and create a healthier Indiana.”

 

EDUCATION: EMPLOYABILITY SKILL GRANTS ANNOUNCED - The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) today awarded 58 schools across 40 counties with $10 million in Employability Skills Innovation and Implementation Grant funding. The grant will help students develop in-demand employability skills that prepare them to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s workforce (Howey Politics Indiana). A complete list of grant recipients is available here. “For years, as a state and a country, we have relied almost wholly on a single test score to best determine student and school progress,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “While we know that academic mastery is essential to providing a strong foundation for a student’s future success, there are a number of other characteristics that also matter. This includes making sure students are equipped with skills like the ability to respectfully communicate and collaborate with others. The schools receiving this grant will be on the cutting edge of determining how best to measure these important skills, not just through an assessment, but through experiences. Congratulations to all of the awardees who are helping to lead this educational progress in understanding how skill development can be measured across Indiana.”

 

DNR: HISTORIC GRANT APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE - Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant application packets are available for FY2023 at the DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) at https://www.in.gov/dnr/historic-preservation/help-for-owners/financial-assistance/grants/ This opportunity is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund Program and is being administered by the DHPA. There are three categories of projects: Architectural & Historical, Archaeological, and Acquisition & Development (rehabilitation). Applicants should download the appropriate application packet and read all instructions carefully. The deadline for proposals is Friday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. This is not a postmark deadline; all proposals must be received at the DHPA by the deadline.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA SUSPENDS JEFFERSONVILLE FUNERAL LICENSE - Attorney General Todd Rokita has obtained the emergency license suspension of a Jeffersonville funeral director after police found 31 decomposing bodies improperly stored at a funeral home (Howey Politics Indiana). Randy Ray Lankford agreed Friday to surrender licenses for himself and his facility, Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center. Today, the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service approved the suspensions. “Our office puts a high priority on protecting Hoosiers from harmful business practices and professional malpractice,” Attorney General Rokita said. “In this case, our Licensing Enforcement team acted swiftly to take the appropriate actions.” The licenses are suspended indefinitely. On July 1, Jeffersonville police discovered the 31 unrefrigerated corpses in body bags throughout the funeral home in various stages of decomposition. Some of the bodies had been kept there for an extended period, with at least one of them having been there since March. The officers also found the cremated remains of 17 individuals.

 

General Assembly

 

HOUSE GAVELS IN AT 9 A.M.: The Indiana House is scheduled to gavel into special session at 9 a.m. The Indiana Senate is scheduled to convene at 1:30, after cancelling a session date Thursday (Howey Politics Indiana).

 

HOUSE HEARD OVER 80 AMENDMENTS; NEW LAW SEPT. 15: The biggest change to Senate Bill 1 that came from the Indiana House on Thursday involved the day the bill would take effect. Lawmakers changed the date to Sept. 15 instead of taking effect immediately if both chambers pass it and Gov. Eric Holcomb signs it (Longnecker, WTHR-TV). Over 80 amendments were filed, some of them bringing a lot of debate. The biggest discussion came over an amendment that would have taken out exceptions for rape and incest. “No one chooses to be a victim of rape or incest, which is also rape, but ending the life of an unborn child is neither necessary or evidenced-based treatment for rape,” said Rep. Karen Engleman, R-District 70, who proposed the amendment to remove those exceptions. “I have spent my professional career locking rapists up. This amendment would allow them to choose the mother of their child. Be reasonable. Vote no,” Rep. Mitch Gore, D-District 89, told his House colleagues. The measure failed 61-39, with a majority of House Republicans voting to remove the exceptions for rape and incest.

 

INDY CHAMBER AGAINST SB1: The Indy Chamber is urging Indiana lawmakers "not to proceed" with proposed abortion legislation during the special session and said the speed of the process has left "fundamental" questions unanswered (WRTV). In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Indy Chamber said the "expedited legislative process" to advance state policy on abortion is "at best, detrimental to Hoosiers, and at worst, reckless." The chamber said the speed of the special session has left the following questions unanswered: How will Indiana improve its poor infant and maternal health outcomes, particularly for women of color and women from low-income households? How will physicians balance their legal risk against the health and well-being of women and infants? How will Indiana address critical workforce shortages, specifically for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals?

 

REP. NEGELE PRESSES ON BIRTH CONTROL: As lawmakers took testimony on the abortion banning bill earlier this week in the House chamber, multiple women told their own abortion stories (IndyStar). Some regretted their decision and called on lawmakers to stop other women from making what they viewed as the same mistake. Others were grateful they had a choice and begged lawmakers to keep that option intact for generations of women to come. But the one question from Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, was always the same: were they on birth control when they got pregnant? She wanted to get to the bottom of access issues. "My angle has always been prevention," Negele, who voted for the near-total abortion ban in committee, told IndyStar. "Obviously when it comes to abortion, it shouldn't be used as form of birth control. You need to be on birth control, and so how do we get you there?"

 

Congress

 

VIGIL HELD FOR WALORSKI:  People gathered for a vigil Thursday to remember the victims in a Wednesday deadly crash: Jackie Walorski, Zach Potts, Emma Thomson and Edith Schmucker (WNDU-TV). The vigil took place at Jimtown High School. “When Jackie looked at you, she looked with eyes of hope,” said Organizer Tim Henke. “I’m Congresswoman Susan Brooks. I represented Indiana’s 5th Congressional District with Jackie. Proudly represented the 2nd District...We went in to Congress together and she was my sister. She was my best friend in Congress. She relied on that bible every night and every morning,” said Brooks. “A lot of people know Jackie as Jackie, or Jackie Walorski. I know Jackie as Jackie Swihart, my wife...Jackie took charge of whatever room she walked into, and it wasn’t because she was six foot tall,” Dean Swihart said. Among them was Tim Wesco, state representative of the 23rd District.

 

BRAUN CALLS FOR MAXIMUM COP TARGET PENALTIES: Following the tragic murder of an Elwood police officer by a career criminal who had previously shot at police, Senator Mike Braun is restating his support for strengthening penalties for criminals who target police. Senator Braun has been an original cosponsor of the Thin Blue Line Act since his first year in office (Howey Politics Indiana). Carl Boards II, who shot and killed an Elwood police officer on Sunday, had previously been convicted of criminal recklessness (and other lesser charges) after shooting at Indianapolis police during a pursuit in 2006, striking the police cruiser multiple times. Boards was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but was released after 13 years. The Thin Blue Line Act makes the targeting, killing, or attempted killing of a police officer an aggravating factor in favor of maximum sentences. Currently this only applies to federal law enforcement; the Thin Blue Line Act would apply this to local and state police as well. “The career criminal who killed an Elwood officer also tried to kill Indy cops 16 years ago, and should have paid a stiffer price. If you try to kill a police officer, you should pay the highest price possible. I support making the targeting of police in a violent crime an aggravating factor in favor the harshest penalties available.”

 

FOSTER SUCCESS STATEMENT ON REP. WALORSKI: Nonprofit Foster Success issues the below statement from President & CEO, Dr. Maggie Stevens on the loss of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and three others in a tragic crash (Howey Politics Indiana): "Foster Success joins our nation in mourning the loss of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. We are grateful for her leadership in supporting children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system across our country including her work over the past two years to support youth through the pandemic. Congresswoman Walroski was a fierce advocate for those with foster care experience in and out of Indiana. Throughout the pandemic, she advocated to provide stability and certainty for our nation’s foster youth. Our thoughts are with the Congresswoman's family, friends, and colleagues. We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of staffers, Zach Potts and Emma Thomson."

 

NATIONAL CONFECTIONERS STATEMENT ON REP. WALORSKI: Statement from John Downs, president & CEO of the National Confectioners Association on the passing of U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and her staff (Howey Politics Indiana): “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, along with two members of her staff. She was a great supporter of our industry and champion for our member companies in Indiana, and she served as co-chair of the Congressional Candy Caucus since its inception. Her Hoosier hospitality and spirit were always on full display. Rep. Walorski’s constituents, this country and our industry will miss her infectious positive spirit and principled leadership tremendously. Our thoughts and condolences are extended to her loved ones and to the numerous friends with whom she served alongside in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as to the families of the staff members who were also lost in this terrible accident.”

 

THE SENATE and HOUSE are out.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: CHINESE AMBASSADOR SUMMONED - The White House summoned China’s ambassador on Thursday to condemn Beijing’s escalating actions against Taiwan and reiterate that the United States does not want a crisis in the region, after a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sharply escalated tensions in the Taiwan Strait this week (Washington Post). “After China’s actions overnight, we summoned [People’s Republic of China] Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to démarche him about the PRC’s provocative actions,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” A démarche is a protest lodged through diplomatic channels.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule - 10:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. 1 p.m.: Biden will sign two bills that will help hold those who commit fraud under Covid-19 small business relief programs accountable. VP Harris: 3 p.m.: The vice president will convene Latina state legislators from Kansas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Illinois, New York and Texas to discuss abortion access. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at 2 p.m.

 

STATE: RUSS OPEN TO PRISONER SWAP - A senior Kremlin official said Moscow was ready to discuss a prisoner swap with Washington that people familiar with the matter say could see U.S. women’s basketball star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan traded for a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal). The comments from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a news conference in Cambodia, came a day after a Russian court sentenced Ms. Griner to nine years in prison following her guilty plea and conviction on charges she brought a marijuana product into the country. The U.S. maintains Ms. Griner has been wrongfully detained. “We are ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of a channel that was agreed upon by Presidents Putin and Biden,” Mr. Lavrov said Friday in Phnom Penh, on the sidelines of a regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

 

HHS: MONKEYPOX DECLARED HEALTH EMERGENCY - The federal government declared a public health emergency Thursday to bolster the response to the monkeypoxoutbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans (AP). The announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. “We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” said Xavier Becerra, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

JUSTICE: 4 LOUISVILLE COPS CHARGED IN TAYLOR DEATH - Federal officials on Thursday charged four current and former police officers in Louisville, Ky., who were involved in a fatal raid on the apartment of Breonna Taylor, accusing them of several crimes, including lying to obtain a warrant that was used to search her home (New York Times). The charges stem from a nighttime raid of Ms. Taylor’s apartment in March 2020, during which officers knocked down Ms. Taylor’s door and fired a volley of gunshots after her boyfriend shot an officer in the leg, believing that intruders had burst into the home. Two officers shot Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Merrick Garland, the attorney general, said at a news conference that members of an investigative unit within the Louisville Metro Police Department had included false information in an affidavit that was then used to obtain a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s home.

 

NOAA: 5 MAJOR HURRICANES FORECAST - As the Atlantic basin enters peak hurricane season, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have updated their outlook to predict up to 20 named storms and 5 major hurricanes in 2022 (Nexstar). The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. So far, we’ve seen three tropical storms strengthen to the point of getting named. None this year have strengthened into hurricanes, but the worst may be yet to come. “We are now entering the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season, August through October,” said Matthew Rosencrans, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Historically, this is when about 90% of all Atlantic tropical cyclone activity occurs.”

 

TEXAS: JURY FINES ALEX JONES $4M -  A Texas jury Thursday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million — significantly less than the $150 million being sought — in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, marking the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for repeatedly claiming the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history was a hoax (AP). The Austin jury must still decide how much the Infowars host should pay in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.

 

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - “Fox News Sunday”: Nikki Haley. Panel: Doug Heye, Francesca Chambers, Aishah Hasnie and Mo Elleithee. CNN “State of the Union”: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Panel: Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), Scott Jennings, Ashley Allison and Kristen Soltis Anderson. CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Kaitlan Collins, Molly Ball and Harry Enten. ABC “This Week”: Panel: Jonathan Karl, Chris Christie, Yvette Simpson and Julie Pace. NBC “Meet the Press”: Panel: Cornell Belcher, Pat McCrory, Susan Page and Anna Palmer. MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Kathleen Sebelius, Max Boot, Steve Phillips, Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Trevor Hunnicutt. CBS “Face the Nation”: Scott Gottlieb, Mary Daly.

 

MLB: ST. LOUIS NIPS CUBS 4-3; SWEEPS DH 7-2 -  Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the opener of a split doubleheader (ESPN). St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Nolan Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar's flyball to center. Newly acquired José Quintana won in his debut with St. Louis, Tyler O’Neill and Nolan Arenado homered and the Cardinals beat Chicago 7-2, completing a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs on Thursday night. The Cardinals won the opener 4-3 as Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth.

 

MLB: RANGERS DOWN CHISOX 3-2 -  Meibrys Viloria had a tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the seventh inning and Texas beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Thursday night, when the Rangers became the first team since 1986 to have two of its first-round picks make their big league debuts as starters in the same game (ESPN). Left-hander Cole Ragans, who twice had Tommy John surgery after being their first-round pick in 2016, allowed one unearned run over five innings in his debut. Bubba Thompson, the team's first pick in 2017, was 1 for 3 with a bunt single in his first big league game.

 

Local

 

WARSAW: MAYOR THALLEMER MET WITH WALORSKI JUST BEFORE CRASH - Flags are at half staff following in Warsaw Thursday night (WNDU-TV). It comes one day after Rep. Jackie Walorski was in Warsaw meeting with the Mayor Joe Thallemer just hours before she was killed. There right by her side was Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, her two key aids. According to Thallemer, that meeting lasted until about 11:15 am. on Wednesday. Hours later, following a visit to Claypool, Walorski, Thomson and Potts all were killed in a crash in Nappanee making Thallemer and the City of Warsaw one of Walorski’s last stops. “Her whole staff had been reaching out in anticipation of January 1, 2023 this being a part of her district. I know that is what she was doing here yesterday. Getting back, getting her feet on the ground. Putting her ear to the tracks as far as the orthopedic industry. It was just a really good informative meeting yesterday and Zach and Emma were both there. I didn’t speak with Emma. She was really busy. I spoke with Zach and just heartbreaking, heartbreaking for everyone,” Thallemer said. Despite the heartbreaking news, Thallemer saying he is humbled to have been able to spend one of Walorski’s very last meetings with her and her staff.

 

ELKHART & GOSHEN: COUNCILS BACK DRIVING CARDS - Elkhart and Goshen’s city councils have both expressed support recently for a proposed state bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally (DiCarlo, WVPE). The bill is authored by state Sens. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen) and David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) and co-authored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger). Doriot said the bill has yet to come before the legislature, but already has bipartisan support. “Eighteen Democrats and 22 Republicans have signed on that they want to see this move forward and go through the process in the General Assembly,” he told the Elkhart Council Monday. The bill would allow undocumented residents who have lived in Indiana long enough to achieve state residency to obtain a “driving card.”

 

CROWN POINT: UCHICAGO TO OPEN MICRO HOSPITAL — Over the next two years, the vacant field that sits near I-65 and 109th Avenue in Crown Point will be transformed into UChicago Medicine's largest off-site facility (NWI Times).  First announced almost a year ago, the micro-hospital will be UChicago's first freestanding medical facility in Indiana. On Wednesday morning city leaders and representatives from UChicago gathered to break ground on the $121 million project. "Our citizens, who now may travel away from Crown Point for their needed specialized medical treatments, will be able to stay local while receiving the same top-level patient care," Mayor Pete Land told the crowd.

 

PERU: CITY SEEKS FED HELP FOR BLOCKED RR CROSSINGS  — Peru officials are asking residents to start reporting train blockages in an effort to land a federal grant to fix the ongoing issue in which miles-long trains block every crossing in the city (Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). Interim Peru Mayor Patricia Russell said that for years, Norfolk Southern trains have blocked crossings throughout the city, leading to traffic backups and long detours for residents. Since the labor shortage, the problem has become progressively worse, she said. Now, trains are sometimes 3 miles long because the railroad doesn’t have enough workers to break up the cars. That sometimes leads to all seven crossing in the city being blocked. She said that forces drivers to head to North Broadway, which has the only railroad underpass in the city. However, during heavy rain events, the underpass floods, which cuts off all access to drivers. Russell said it also blocks access for students trying to get to school, and she’s received reports of kids climbing under or over the trains to get around them. That led city officials to begin applying for a grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration to pay for a feasibility study looking at how best to solve the problem.

 

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY: PROSECUTOR FACES CHARGE OVER DEATH THREAT -  The Bartholomew County prosecutor faces criminal charges stemming from an altercation he had with his neighbor in which he allegedly threatened to kill him, according to court records (WRTV). A probable cause affidavit filed July 15, but unsealed Thursday, alleges William Nash made the threat toward his neighbor on Mother's Day after an argument over his neighbor's dogs. At one point, Nash yelled at his neighbor "I can kill you! I will kill you and Indiana State Law says I can kill you!", the affidavit alleges. Indiana State Police began investigating Nash after his neighbor made a complaint to Columbus police.