BIPARTISAN DEAL CLOSE ON SHUTDOWN, BUT TRUMP A WILDCARD:  House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Saturday that Republican and Democratic negotiators were optimistic about reaching a border security deal that would avert another government shutdown (Washington Post). “Based upon my conversations with members of the conference, I think there was, at least on Thursday, an expectation that they may well be able to get to an agreement, and if they do, I hope as early as Monday we will hear what that agreement is,” Hoyer (D-Md.) said in an interview with The Washington Post after leading a Democratic congressional delegation on a day-long visit to the border in El Paso and southern New Mexico. Hoyer said he doesn’t know the contours of a potential agreement, including the amount for border barriers that have been at the heart of the stalemate between President Trump and Congress. Negotiators late Friday were closing in on a bipartisan deal that would rebuff Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, lawmakers were focused on a compromise that would provide no more than $2 billion for barriers. It was unclear whether Trump would accept the compromise or follow through on his previous threats to declare a national emergency to build the wall, a move certain to face legal challenges. Lawmakers have just days to finalize legislation that can pass the House and Senate in time to get it to Trump before the Feb. 15 deadline.

MULVANEY SAYS SECOND SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday warned that another partial government shutdown is possible if congressional negotiators fail to reach a border security deal that President Trump finds acceptable by week’s end (The Hill). Mulvaney warned on “Fox News Sunday” that “a government shutdown is technically still on the table.” He reiterated the warning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” telling host Chuck Todd that “you absolutely cannot” rule out another shutdown because the president will not sign into law a deal he finds unacceptable. “Let's say for sake of this discussion that the Democrats prevail and the hardcore leftwing Democrats prevail,” Mulvaney said, noting that on Democratic lawmaker proposed on Twitter over the weekend that Congress shouldn’t appropriate any money for the Department of Justice. “Let's say that the hardcore left wing of the Democrat party prevails this negotiation and they put a bill on the president’s desk with, say, zero money for the wall or $800 million, some absurdly low number. How does he sign that? He cannot in good faith sign that,” he added.

TEACHER PAY VOTE MONDAY IN HOUSE: The House is ready to vote Monday on a plan to give teachers a raise (Berman, WIBC). House Republicans' bill urges but doesn't order school districts to steer 85% of their budgets to the classroom. Ways and Means Co-Chairman Todd Huston (R-Fishers) says there may be good reasons why some districts can't meet that standard -- the bill would require them to explain in writing. Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal to set a minimum teacher salary of 40-thousand dollars. Indianapolis Representative Ed DeLaney (D) says that's close to Indiana's highest starting salary, but Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says it's an arbitrary number, with many teachers' paychecks either far below or far above it. The House has already passed a bill allowing teachers to earn more by mentoring newer teachers. And Bosma says Gov. Holcomb's request to free up money by spending $150 million to cover unfunded local pension liabilities will be part of the state budget. He calls it one of the smartest one-time expenditures the state's ever made. All three bills will go to the Senate next month.

DEBATE ON SCHOOL REFERENDUMS: School referendums are getting a lot of attention this legislative session with some lawmakers wanting to curtail them and others wanting to expand them (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). “I'm not stopping referendums. I'm trying to have them at times when the largest percentage of voters are there,” said Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse. “A lot of people that vote for referendums don't understand the impact.” Lawmakers crafted operating and capital referendums as a way around tax caps that were put in the state constitution in 2010. The caps mean less money for cities, counties and towns, but those entities have other taxing options to fall back on. Schools didn't. So they were allowed to seek special referendums to give districts additional revenue. The key is all revenue from these referendums are above the caps and therefore even Hoosiers at the caps can see their property tax bills grow. According to Purdue University Professor Larry DeBoer, a property tax expert in the state, more than $314 million was levied through referendums in 2018. That was up 26 percent from 2017. That represents about 4 percent of the overall property tax pie. “Referendum funds are the fastest growing,” DeBoer said. “They're a small share of the total property tax, but a large share of the annual increase in property taxes statewide.” Doriot offered Senate Bill 246, which says public questions such as referendums could only be placed on the ballot at a general election or a municipal general election if the district is contained entirely within a municipality. That would mean schools might have to wait up to two years to put a referendum before the people.

BUTTIGIEG ENDORSES GREEN NEW DEAL: Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) said Sunday he endorses the Green New Deal introduced by progressive members of Congress (The Hill). "Yes, I think it's the right beginning," he told CNN's "State of the Union." Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend and the youngest candidate running for president, is the latest 2020 candidate to sign onto the climate change resolution. Buttigieg called the plan a "framework" and "more a plan than a fully articulated set of policies." "We're being disrupted by climate change...This is a national emergency," he said. "I think the elegance from a policy perspective of the concept of the Green New Deal is it matches a sense of urgency about that problem of climate change with a sense of opportunity around what the solutions might represent."

MAYOR PETE STUMPS IN IOWA: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s four campaign stops in central Iowa on Friday — his first in this early battleground state since declaring a run for president — included a college town coffee shop, a university campus building, a small-town library and a suburban senior housing complex. Different venues with different crowds (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). There was a common thread that wove through them all: People liked what they heard, but with the Iowa caucuses still a year away, most said it’s far too early to pick a favorite from the crowded field of 2020 Democratic hopefuls. And some said they’re waiting to hear more detailed policies from Buttigieg. Another common thread: No one interviewed by The Tribune thought that either South Bend’s relatively small size or Buttigieg being openly gay would derail his path to the Democratic nomination. Jan Bauer, chair of the Story County Democratic Party, host of the Ames coffee shop event, perhaps came closest to identifying Buttigieg as her choice. She first saw him at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting in Atlanta in 2017, where Buttigieg ran for party chair before withdrawing when it became clear he didn’t have the needed support to win. “He’s certainly someone I watch in the field because of that connection to Atlanta,” said Bauer, who recalled first noticing the “Mayor Pete” signs in Atlanta and then having lunch there with Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten. “You look for the policies and the issues to be right. But it certainly takes more, and he has the ability to connect with people that you really need to have.”

DONNELLY MOVES BACK TO INDIANA: Joe Donnelly is the first Hoosier since Dan Quayle in 1993 to move back to Indiana after leaving the U.S. Senate – although Quayle's return was delayed four years by his term as the nation's vice president (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). News media reported last week that Donnelly has taken a part-time position teaching political science and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater. He lives in nearby Granger, and his wife works at Notre Dame. Democrat Donnelly served one term in the Senate, losing his seat in the Nov. 6 election to Republican Mike Braun of Jasper. Quayle, a Republican senator from Huntington from 1981 through 1988, moved to Carmel in 1993 after leaving the vice presidency. He moved to Arizona a few years later. Since then, Democrat Evan Bayh and Republicans Richard Lugar and Dan Coats stayed in Washington – Coats as President Donald Trump's director of national intelligence. Before Donnelly, the last Hoosier senator who returned to Indiana upon leaving the Senate was Republican Homer Capehart, who lost a bid for his fourth term in the 1962 election to Democrat Birch Bayh. Capehart moved to Indianapolis, where he ran his family's business and farming interests, dying in 1979 at age 82.

GREEN BERET FACES CHARGES IN CASE INVOLVING HOOSIER MARINE: In the largest battle in the history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Mathew L. Golsteyn watched to see if the man he believed was responsible for killing two U.S. Marines was coming his way (Washington Post). Golsteyn, a captain and Green Beret soldier at the time, said he had taken up an ambush position in the Taliban stronghold of Marja when U.S. forces released the man, a suspected Taliban bombmaker known as Rasoul. What happened next is at the center of an Army investigation that has stretched years, resulting in a murder charge against Golsteyn in December. Golsteyn didn’t know whether the suspected insurgent, who was unarmed at the time, would walk in his direction. But if he did, to Golsteyn it meant he was going back to insurgent activities and could be legally targeted. “If [he goes] any other direction of the 360 that you have available to you but mine, and he doesn’t meet me,” Golsteyn said. “He had been released, and are you going to go back to what you were doing? Or are you going to go somewhere else? If it had been me, this guy’s a-- would have beaten feet in a completely different direction.”The Battle of Marja would prove to be far more violent than other missions.  For days, Golsteyn and his troops faced hours of gunfights. Explosives laced the city, and he and other service members were frustrated with rules of engagement that were designed to prevent civilian casualties but limited how aggressively they could target the Taliban. On Feb. 18, a booby-trapped garage door exploded, killing Sgt. Jeremy McQueary, 27, of Columbus and Nashville, Ind., and Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson, 19, Marine combat engineers deployed alongside Golsteyn’s unit. After a search, Afghan forces detained a man with bombmaking material. But Golsteyn said U.S. forces were told they could not keep any detainees because of the amount of resources doing so would require.

WALORSKI SAYS DEMS 'WEAPONIZING TAX LAWS: With Democrats now controlling the House and holding the legal key to seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns, Republican lawmakers are invoking privacy in defending Trump's flank (Goshen News). At an oversight hearing Thursday, lawmakers examined proposals to compel presidents and presidential candidates to make years of their tax returns public. And they discussed the authority under current law for the head of the House Ways and Means Committee — now Democratic Rep. Richard Neal — to make a written request for any tax returns to the Treasury secretary. The law says the Treasury chief "shall furnish" the requested information to members of the committee for them to examine behind closed doors. Republicans accused the Democrats of using powers in the tax law to mount a political witch hunt for Trump's tax returns. "In reality, this is all about weaponizing our tax laws to attack a political foe," Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana said at the hearing by the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

HPI DAILY ANALAYSIS: President Trump’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney echoed Vice President Pence this morning, saying a second federal government shutdown is possible. I’m hoping this to part of the “art of the deal,” and we don’t have to go through the 35-day dysfunction we witnessed earlier this year. - Brian A. Howey


PRIMARY FOES FOR HOGSETT, MERRITT: Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Republican State Senator Jim Merritt each face challengers ahead of an expected matchup in November (WIBC). Denise Hatch, who lost a run for Center Township constable last year, will try to upset Hogsett, while Merritt faces Felipe Rios and Christopher Moore.

BRAINARD, FADNESS, GENTRY FACE CHALLENGERS: Mayors Jim Brainard in Carmel and Scott Fadness in Fishers face Republican insurgencies (WIBC). Hamilton County Councilman Fred Glynn is running against Brainard, while Logan Day, who's clashed with Fadness over plans for the Nickel Plate Railroad, will try to unseat him. Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry faces three challengers.

AGUILERA RUNNING FOR EAST CHICAGO MAYOR: Hours before Friday's filing deadline, former state Rep. John Aguilera announced a run for East Chicago mayor against incumbent Anthony Copeland (Cross, NWI Times). Aguilera, who served from 1994 to 2000 as a county councilman and the following six years as a state legislator representing East Chicago, is one of the few Latinos ever to hold office at the Statehouse.  According to available records online, Aguilera and Copeland are, so far, the only two candidates to file for the race.  As a four-term state representative, Aguilera worked on the General Assembly's Ways and Means, Local Government, and Transportation committees, according to a news release. He also served two terms as a Lake County councilman, including two years as council president. He also served seven years in the U.S. military. According to a news release, Aguilera said he "wants to use this experience to ensure our city government has diverse representation that invests in people before profits." The release said he wants to "restore the checks and balances system of our city government and remind citizens of East Chicago that they’re the most important resource of the state." Aguilera sought the East Chicago mayor's job in fall 2010, asking a caucus of East Chicago Democratic precinct committeemen to name him as a replacement to former East Chicago Mayor George Pabey. But he received only one vote. He also was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for state treasurer in 2018.

SMITH SEEKS RETURN TO ANDERSON CITY HALL: For the sixth consecutive municipal election cycle, Republican Kevin Smith announced he is seeking the party’s nomination for Anderson mayor (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). Smith declared his intentions Friday morning and filed the necessary paperwork with the Madison County Clerk’s office. He has served two terms as Anderson mayor from 2004 through 2007 and a second time from 2012 to 2015. Smith is running in the May 8 primary election against current Madison County Auditor Rick Gardner. The winner will face either incumbent Democrat Thomas Broderick Jr. or Terry May in the November election. “It was a long soul-searching process,” Smith said Thursday of his decision to seek another mayoral term. “I owe this to the community.” He said the energy level was high during his second term in office and that has tailed off. “Anderson needs hope again and not politics as usual,” Smith said.

10 RUNNING FOR SOUTH BEND MAYOR: At noon Friday, the deadline for filing in municipal primary races ended, solidifying a packed field of nine Democratic candidates for South Bend mayor and one Republican candidate, along with more than 28 candidates for city council. The primary election will take place May 7 (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). South Bend Mayoral candidates: Lynn Coleman — A retired South Bend police officer, Coleman was the 2016 Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District; Jason Critchlow was the chair of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party until stepping down last month; Councilman Oliver Davis; James Mueller — The executive director of the city’s Department of Community Investment; Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston; businessman Will Smith; 19-year-old businessman Shane Inez; 21-year0-old businessman Salvador Rodriguez;  businessman Richard Wright; and Republican Sean Haas a former U.S. Marine and current high school teacher, Haas received an undergraduate degree from Indiana University South Bend.

MUNCIE'S BAILEY FACES HATCH ACT CHALLENGE: As filing for the spring primary election closed midday Friday at the Delaware County clerk's office, incumbent city council member Linda Gregory filed a candidacy challenge against Democratic mayoral candidate Terry Whitt Bailey (Muncie Star Press). Gregory asserts in her challenge that Bailey, as the Community Development director for the City of Muncie, is paid with federal monies, which would be a violation of the Federal Hatch Act of 1939. The act and an amendment to it, passed to eliminate corruption during the Roosevelt administration, blocks federal employees whose positions are primarily paid for by federal funds from seeking political office. Bailey, however, disputes the challenge. "It's one of the reasons we took so long to file," Bailey said Friday afternoon, noting her campaign team had done their research. Bailey said they spoke with officials in the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C., about the issue after the government shutdown ended. She stated that her campaign was told that written confirmation is in process. The full list of primary candidates was finalized after filing deadline at noon Feb. 8. No new mayoral candidates filed on Friday.

9 RUNNING FOR MAYOR IN MUNCIE: The Muncie Democrat candidates for mayor are (Muncie Star Press): Terry Whitt Bailey, the city of Muncie's Community Development director; Andrew Dale, a longtime local business owner; Kenneth Davenport, a perennial candidate for office; David Smith; and Saul Riley. Republicans have four candidates for mayor: Nate Jones, Delaware County's veterans affairs officer; Tom Bracken, a seven-year member of the Ball State Board of Trustees and descendant of the Ball Family; Dan Ridenour, a Republican representative for District 2 on Muncie City Council; and Tony Cox, a retired police officer.

MILLER SEEKS TO REGAIN ELKHART MAYOR; HENKE WON'T RUN: City Councilman David Henke, R-3, will run for re-election to the council after previously saying he was strongly considering a bid for mayor (Elkhart Truth). Henke filed his candidacy for the 3rd District on Thursday, making him the only candidate for any party in the primary election for that district with one day of filing left.  Former mayor Dave Miller, who is running for the Republican nomination for mayor, is the only GOP candidate to have filed so far. Former Mayor Dave Miller kicked off his campaign to retake the office in 2020 during an event Friday evening at Lex 530. Miller was elected mayor in 1999 and served until 2007, when he did not seek a third term. But after a 12-year sabbatical, working in the RV transportation industry and as a school bus driver, Miller said he is more eager to run for mayor than ever before.

KOKOMO MAYORAL RACE SET: The Kokomo mayoral lineups are set (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). After forming an exploratory committee in late November, Moore announced his long-rumored candidacy just after the New Year on Jan. 9 to a crowd of supporters inside Gingerbread House Bakery. Moore, in his third term as a Howard County commissioner, is the heavy favorite to earn the Republican nomination and move onto November's general election. Republican Richard Stout: A political newcomer and lifelong Kokomo resident, Stout filed to run for mayor in an effort to engage with local residents on issues ranging from jobs to public safety. Democrat Abbie Smith: Smith, who has taken a leave of absence from her position as the United Way of Howard County's president and CEO, emerged with an early platform focused primarily on economic development, infrastructure and public safety. She said her campaign will narrow its focus to specific ideas following “listening sessions” and interactions with city voters, which have started at places like Bind Cafe in downtown Kokomo. Democrat Kevin Summers: Summers, who announced his mayoral bid in mid-December, is a former Kokomo Common Council member and KPD captain. His campaign has focused largely on measures that would rebut the last 11 years of Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, including needs he believes range from road construction reversals to the return of a city-run ambulance service.

KITCHELL TO FACE MARTIN IN LOGANSPORT: Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell is in the midst of his fourth year as the city’s mayor — a position he said he does not consider a job, but a calling (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). “Because I feel called to continue to serve you and further our community, I’m asking you tonight to take this path further with us,” he told colleagues and supporters on Dec. 18 at Boondockers. “I believe in the people that define Logansport, Indiana, and I will seek a second opportunity to serve you as your mayor in 2019.” Kitchell cited that the city’s unemployment rate has gone down during his term, while population and property values have risen. He pointed to Logansport Municipal Utilities’ improving financial standing, the lower electric rates beginning in January and the city’s growing reserves in the face of property tax caps as successes.  Republican Chris Martin also announced his candidacy for mayor in the upcoming election. The 27-year-old previously ran for Logansport City Council twice during his career — the first time at just 19 years old. Since then, Martin has continued to pursue his passion for politics and for helping others. Over the years, he has helped start up three nonprofit organizations in Logansport including Autism 7 Squared, Logansport Backyard Sports and Strive for Equality. Martin also served on the Stepping Stones Clubhouse board. One of Martin’s promises if elected to City Council four years ago was that he would lead the way to develop opportunities for kids in town. Through his involvement in the aforementioned nonprofit organizations, he has tried to do just that.

SNYDER CHALLENGES GOSHEN MAYOR STUTSMAN: Terry T. Snyder has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Goshen mayor in the May 7 municipal primary election (Goshen News). Snyder, 77, filed his candidacy paperwork at the Elkhart County Clerk’s office Thursday. He is hoping to unseat current Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, a Democrat, who is seeking a second term. The deadline to file a declaration of candidacy for the primary was noon Friday. A Goshen native, Snyder’s family has lived in the Goshen area for five generations. Following his graduation from Goshen High School in 1959, Snyder went immediately into the workforce as a local electrician, a job he would stick with for the better part of 60 years as owner and operator of Snyder Electric. “I was the youngest electrician in the history of Goshen, at the age of 16,” Snyder said of his work. “I’m technically retired. I haven’t been in the phone book for three years, but the phone still keeps ringing. I do a lot of service work, troubling shooting, etc. at this point in my life. I don’t do any big jobs anymore.”

PRICE JOINS GARY MAYORAL RACE: Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince is running for Gary mayor (NWI Times). Prince entered a crowded mayoral contest in the final hour of the final day of the candidate filing period to make Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson's re-election more challenging. Prince is well known in Gary as a former city councilman from 2000 to 2008, a former Gary representative on the Lake County Council from 2008 to 2014 and boss of the city's Democratic party since 2016. He currently oversees the setting of real estate values for taxing purposes for about 240,000 parcels across the county. He joins fellow Democrats, Gary Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade, Mildred "Tinye" Alcorn, Kerry Rice, Carl "Doozie" Jones, Eddie Tarver Jr., Joe L. White, Jerry Freeman Wilson and James "Sirmack G.I." Edward McKnight II in and effort to upset the incumbent mayor in the May 7 Democratic primary. Freeman-Wilson's administration is vulnerable to criticism that the city government's finances have rarely been in worse shape. But she commands a campaign machine that raised nearly $167,000 in campaign contributions last year.

MAYOR THALLEMER FACES GOP CHALLENGER IN WARSAW: Incumbent Warsaw Republican Joe Thallemer will face Republican Ron Shoemaker (Warsaw Times Union).

SCHMITZ RUNNING AS INDEPENDENT IN INDY: Homelessness. Crime. Roads. Those are the three issues that mean the most to John Schmitz, a candidate running for Mayor of Indianapolis as an Independent (WIBC). "In my administration, we'd be working on the roads. I'd start tomorrow if I could. We'd be out fixing some stuff," Schmitz said to 93 WIBC's Tony Katz in an interview Friday.  John Schmitz is an Indianapolis businessman and developer. "I've done quite a few construction activities. I've built a sewer utility from scratch. I've built a subdivision.  I have projects all over the city," Schmitz said.  He said running as an Independent is his only pathway to getting elected, but he believes the party label shouldn't determine who would be the best mayor. "I just think our city can do better. We need some solid leadership that has experience in both building, management, planning, and vision. I feel like I can bring that for this city," Schmitz said. He claims there are many things that can be fixed in Indianapolis.

WARREN KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN: Sen. Elizabeth Warren officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign Saturday at a rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts, using the backdrop of Everett Mills -- the site of a historic 1912 labor strike led by women and immigrants -- to issue a call to action against wealthy power brokers who "have been waging class warfare against hardworking people for decades" (CNN). Over 44 minutes in sub-freezing temperatures, Warren described a political elite "bought off" and "bullied" by corporate giants, and a middle class squeezed so tight it "can barely breathe." "The man in the White House is not the cause of what is broken, he is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what's gone wrong in America," Warren said of President Donald Trump. "A product of a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else. So once he's gone, we can't pretend that none of this ever happened."

KLOBACHUR TO ANNOUNCE TODAY: Sen. Amy Klobuchar is expected to announce a presidential bid on Sunday, people close to her tell CNN, vaulting the three-term senator from Minnesota into the crowded field of Democrats angling to take on Trump in 2020. Klobuchar is expected to make the announcement on Sunday at an outdoor event on Boom Island, a park that juts into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. (The projected high on Sunday is 18 degrees.) The 58-year old senator will highlight her working-class roots and bipartisan appeal in her speech, the sources close to her said, leaning on the fact that she has won widespread appeal in Minnesota, a state that nearly went for President Donald Trump in 2016. "The people from the Heartland believe in hard work, telling it like it is, and getting things done," Klobuchar says in the invite to her event.

Sunday Talk

CORYN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SHUTDOWN DEAL: Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) said he is "optimistic" about the prospect of Senate and House negotiators reaching a compromise on immigration reform and border security before the February 15 deadline for a government shutdown (The Hill). In an interview airing Sunday on AM 970 "The Answer," Cornyn told John Catsimatidis that a compromise bill could still be possible while accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of causing partisan gridlock on the issue. “I am more optimistic today than I have been about a deal on border security," Cornyn says in the interview.

MEADOWS EXPECTS EXCUTIVE ACTION IF DEAL FAILS: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Sunday that he expects President Trump to declare a national emergency or use some form of executive authority to secure funding for a wall along the southern border if Congress is unable to reach an agreement to his liking. "I do expect the president to take some kind of executive action," Meadows said on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "A national emergency is certainly part of that. There are a few other things in his tool box that he could use, but I do expect him to do that if we don’t reach a compromise."

VIRGINIA DEMS STAND BY RESIGNATION CALLS: Two Virginia Democrats on Sunday stood by their calls for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign over a blackface scandal, but stopped short of urging Attorney General Mark Herring (D) to step down over a similar controversy. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that they were not swayed by a new interview in which Northam argued he was in a position to heal the commonwealth and address the fallout from developments involving Virginia's top three elected officials. "I know he’s determined to go on this reconciliation tour but I think he should do that as a private citizen not as the governor," Beyer said. "I know he wants to rehabilitate his reputation, and even his sense of what he called his moral compass, but he sacrificed so much of his ability to govern effectively." Wexton offered a similar perspective, asserting that Northam has "lost the confidence of the people" to effectively govern and lead Virginia into the future.

NORTHAM BACKS FAIRFAX PROBE: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Sunday that he supports an investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), but stopped short of calling on Fairfax to resign. "I can only imagine that it must take tremendous courage for women to step forward and talk about these things that just are so hurtful," Northam told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King. "And these accusations are very, very serious. They need to be taken seriously." Northam noted that Fairfax has called for an investigation into the accusations, and said it's important to "get to the truth."  "I support an investigation," he said. "These accusations are very serious and we need to get to the bottom of them."

BENNETT BLASTS GOP'S 'FISCAL HYPOCRISY': Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), who is mulling a presidential bid, on Sunday slammed Republicans for “fiscal hypocrisy” after they criticized President Obama for deficits but then passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut under President Trump. Bennet on NBC’s “Meet the Press” took aim at White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who was a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus when he served in Congress before joining the Trump administration. He said Mulvaney was “one of the people in the Freedom Caucus who tortured President Obama over and over and over again, calling him a Bolshevik and a socialist and all this stuff.”

General Assembly

FRYE BILL TARGETS JAIL OVERCROWDING: As counties across Indiana grapple with exploding jail populations, some state lawmakers are looking at ways to give them relief. They’re proposing changes that include directing more funding to counties and sending some felons back to prisons (Brosher, Indiana Public Media). But, in part one of a two-part reporting series, we explain why some worry those are temporary fixes to a larger incarceration crisis. Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) says he thinks the statehouse contributed to overcrowding when it passed criminal code reform a few years ago, and he thinks it's up to legislators to help resolve the problem (Indiana Public Media). A bill he's proposing would require the Department of Correction to create regional holding facilities where it would house convicted Level 6 felons from counties whose jails are at capacity. But, there's no funding attached to the bill. Frye says the DOC would get the same per diem rate for housing the felons that counties receive. But, the $35 a day would not cover the cost of operating the regional holding facilities. Frye says the state would start by using buildings it already owns, like shuttered prisons, if the bill passes.

LAUER, CHERRY OFFER UP ALTERNATIVE BILLS ON JAILS: Another proposal from Rep. Ryan Lauer (R-Columbus) would increase the per diem rate counties get for housing Level 6 felons from $35 to $55. It would require county governments to use about half of that money for police or jail operations (Indiana Public Media). "My bill focuses on county resources, on bringing that state per diem up to the level so counties will get adequate funding for housing Level 6 felons," Lauer.  The bill also allows county sheriffs to request the DOC take custody of a Level 6 felon.  The Legislative Services Agency analysis of the proposal says it would cost about $16.1 to $18.5 million more per year. It has yet to be heard in committee.  And Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) wants to increase the portion of a local income tax counties can use for jail and rehab facilities. Instead of using 0.2 percent, counties could spend 0.4 percent on those facilities. That could help his district as it considers how to fund a new jail.  Cherry's bill also has yet to be heard in committee.

ELECTION PANEL WON'T PROBE BOSMA: A state election panel won’t investigate Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s use of campaign funds to collect information on a woman who says she performed oral sex on the married Republican lawmaker when she was a legislative intern in 1992. The Indianapolis Star reports that those who filed complaints about the campaign’s $44,000 payment to Bosma’s attorney say the process appears to be rigged in his favor. The Election Commission proceedings and a House Ethics Committee meeting on a separate grievance against Bosma, both took place Jan. 31 behind closed doors and without notice to those who filed the complaints, including the former intern and her lawyer.

McNAMARA, BORDERS CLASH OVER PUBLIC NOTICES: People don't need to see certain public notices in newspapers, says local legislator Wendy McNamara. It's an online world now (Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press). The sentiment, simple and declarative as it is, has ignited a debate that touches on generational, economic and educational divides. McNamara, who represents parts of Posey and Vanderburgh counties, said her aim is no less than to modernize Indiana's public notice system. But press advocates and other supporters of requiring public notices in newspapers say limiting the notices to digital publication would make it harder for people without internet access and enabling devices to see them. Disadvantaged persons would be denied access unless they could get bus fare to travel to public libraries. Rep. Bruce Borders said, it's much easier and commonplace to find public notices in newspapers than by navigating government websites, as McNamara prefers. "It really bothers me that we are basically pretending that people are going to navigate to a government website looking for this information, and that’s simply not going to happen, I think in 99 cases out of 100," Borders said. "The ‘serial purchasers’ from out-of-state who buy up large amounts of property — they are the ones who are savvy enough to have a staff that checks out websites." McNamara countered that bank lawyers, professional investors, contractors, rental companies, mortgage companies and other financial institutions are the ones who dominate the sheriff's sale market anyway. "Mom and dad" prospectors — often neighbors of foreclosed properties — usually don't have the financial wherewithal to compete.

McNAMARA'S BROADER AGENDA: Rep. Wendy McNamara's past remarks suggest she may have a broader ambition to eliminate requirements for newspaper publication of any kind of public notice. That would include notices showing how local governments spend public money on salaries and budgets, which zoning variances are being requested and school performance data. They would be found instead on government websites (Evansville Courier & Press). "As a state legislature, we should not be costing citizens dollars to publish any types of public notices in my opinion, but for sheriff's sales in particular," she told the House Financial Institutions Committee in January. McNamara acknowledged she made the remark, but she insisted it was "taken out of context" because she's focusing only on sheriff's sales.


PACs LINE UP TO GIVE TO BRAUN: Special-interest money flows to a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana no matter the occupant or his political party (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Many of the political action committees that have donated to the campaign of Republican Sen. Mike Braun since his Nov. 6 election had earlier given money to the senator he unseated, Democrat Joe Donnelly. Common donors included PACs representing bankers, air traffic controllers, beer wholesalers, hospitals, optometrists, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Comcast, AT&T, Walmart, Dow Agrosciences, CSX and Toyota Motor North America, according to campaign finance reports and data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. “Interest groups like safe bets, and in the political world nothing is so safe as giving money to a politician who's already in office. Re-election rates are so high that nearly all interest groups give an overwhelming majority of their campaign dollars to incumbents,” the center states on its website.

BANKS PRESSES TRUMP ON CHINESE TELECOM: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) released the following statement regarding a recent report that the Trump Administration is preparing Executive Orders that would ban Chinese telecom equipment from U.S. wireless networks (Howey Politics Indiana). Said Rep. Banks, “I hope today’s reports are true, and President Trump follows through on banning Chinese telecom equipment in the United States. As a matter of national security, America cannot sleep on the threats posed by companies such as Huawei and ZTE, which are nothing more than fronts for the Chinese politburo’s espionage activities and intellectual property theft.  Allowing them to develop a foothold in U.S. wireless infrastructure would be tantamount to letting the fox guard the hen house.  President Trump can display true leadership with a strong Executive Order, and I expect his team will produce just that in short order.”

YOUNG INTRODUCES STUDENT COMPETITIVENESS BILL: U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) announced they have reintroduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize Title VI of the Higher Education Act (Howey Politics Indiana). The Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act will ensure that American students have access to quality international and foreign language education programs that meet the needs of our nation and help our students remain globally competitive. “In order to remain globally competitive in the 21st century economy, it’s important that Hoosier students are equipped with the international skills that are in demand. We must also ensure that our institutions of higher education can successfully prepare students. This legislation will equip universities across the country with resources to help develop innovative international programs and ensure our students are prepared for success,”said Senator Young.

LIZ CHENEY TO SPEAK AT ALLEN GOP DINNER: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will be keynote speaker for the Allen County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner in April (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is chairman of the House Republican Conference, the party's third-highest ranking GOP position in the House behind minority leader and whip. She also is the top ranking woman in the caucus. County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said in a news release that Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, secured Cheney's appearance. Cheney's leadership profile will be a factor in Republican efforts to recruit female candidates and voters, Shine said. The Lincoln Day Dinner will be April 26 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 305 E. Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne. A VIP reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.


GOVERNOR: REVENUE DOWN $39M - The monthly revenue report for January 2019 state tax collections was released Friday (Howey Politics Indiana). General Fund revenues for January totaled $1,496.5 million, which is $39.1 million (2.5%) below estimate based on the December 17, 2018 revised revenue forecast and $108.5 million (6.8%) below revenue in January 2018. Overall, for the month of January, lower than expected collections from individual income taxes weighed on net General Fund revenues as other collections came in line with estimates. Significant monthly fluctuations are expected and revenues are better interpreted within the context of the longer term trend for fiscal year 2019. Year-to-date General Fund collections totaled $9,016.5 million, which is $11.7 million (0.1%) below the December 2018 revised revenue forecast but $314.5 million (3.6%) above collections through the same period in the prior fiscal year. Year-to-date sales tax collections totaled $4,721.5 million, which is $28.5 million (0.6%) above the December 2018 revised revenue forecast and $189.9 million (4.2%) above collections through the same period in the prior fiscal year. Year-to-date individual income tax collections totaled $3,329.2 million, which is $55.3 million (1.6%) below the December 2018 revised revenue forecast and $120.6 million (3.5%) below collections through the same period in the prior fiscal year. Year-to-date corporate tax collections totaled $373.6 million, which is $13.1 million (3.6%) above the December 2018 revised revenue forecast and $195.5 million (109.7%) above collections through the same period in the prior fiscal year.

• Sales tax collections totaled $756.0 million for January, which is $1.0 million (0.1%) below the monthly estimate but $13.3 million (1.8%) above revenue in January 2018. While it is early to identify the specific impact of the state enforcement of the recent changes in the taxation of remote sales on the fiscal year-to-date tax collections, the number of registrations of remote sellers have increased relative to the same period over the last two years.

• Individual income tax collections totaled $662.0 million for January, which is $36.9 million (5.3%) below the monthly estimate and $146.7 million (18.1%)

below revenue in January 2018. Tax collections last January 2018 were higher

mostly due to the 5 Fridays impact.

• Corporate tax collections totaled ($5.9) million for January, which is $5.3 million (788.1%) below the monthly estimate but $15.2 million (71.9%) above revenue in January 2018. • Riverboat wagering collections totaled $28.3 million for January, which is $0.6 million (2.3%) above the monthly estimate and $5.2 million (22.3%) above

revenue in January 2018.

• Racino wagering collections totaled $9.7 million for January, which is $0.8 million (8.5%) above the monthly estimate and $6.8 million (237.7%) above revenue in January 2018.

GAMING: REVENUE DOWN IN JANUARY - Casino gaming floors aren't full when it's 20 degrees below zero, and January revenue at Northwest Indiana's casinos made that perfectly clear (NWI Times). A collective gaming win of $65.9 million was the worst monthly total since another weather-wracked January, in 2014, when Region casinos took in $65.5 million. Last month's total was 10.7 percent below January 2018's total of $73.8 million. "We felt pretty good about the way January opened up," Horseshoe Casino Senior Vice President and General Manager Dan Nita said. But a couple snowy weeks and the second coldest temperature on record put a stop to that. Revenue at table games and slot machines was down across the board in January, according to data published Friday by the Indiana Gaming Commission. The amount of money played at both tables games and slot machines was down around 8 percent.

STATEHOUSE: McCORMICK WANTS 3% TEACHER RAISE - Educators must be diligent in speaking out and asking questions of public officials (Lanich, NWI Times). That was the message Indiana Superintendent of Schools Jennifer McCormick brought to Northwest Indiana in a recent talk to educators at Merrillville High School. McCormick visited at the request of the Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education on Wednesday, outlining the state of education in Indiana, and legislative priorities for the current 2019 session. “There is a way you can use your voice,” said McCormick, who will likely be the last publicly elected official to occupy the state superintendent post. “We don’t need rhetoric. We need action.” McCormick wasted little time getting to one of the most debated topics in Indiana education — teacher pay and retention. “This isn’t a blast on administrators,” McCormick said. “It’s just the job is hard.” She said the most promising proposal she’s heard to assist in an increase in teachers’ pay was Gov. Eric Holcomb’s State of the State address proposal to open up funding by allocating state surplus funds to pay off school pension liability. “Three percent’s not even going to get us where we need to go, but it’s better than what I’m hearing,” McCormick said. “The budget piece is going to be huge this year.”

JUSTICE: MAUER STUDENTS TO HELP JUDGES -  The Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington and the Indiana Supreme Court have announced a pilot program in which up to five first-year students committed to public service will work as clerks with judges throughout the state (AP). The program will expose students to rural and smaller-city practice and courtroom practice and procedure while letting them assist trial judges with research, drafting motions and opinions. Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Indiana Appeals Court Judge Edward Najam Jr. developed the idea for the program. Both serve on the Maurer School of Law’s Board of Visitors.

TRANSPORTATION: DEMAND FOR SAND UP - Sand is a hotter commodity than the average person might think (Indiana Public Media). According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the cost per ton used for construction in the state has increased about 30 percent since 2012. That’s significant because different types of sand are used in almost all aspects of construction from road projects to buildings and houses. Suppliers say in order to keep up with demand, they need more access to the source of the product. Joe McCurdy has owned Brookfield Sand and Gravel for about 25 years. He started the Indianapolis supply company because he noticed a demand for a quality product. Today, perhaps more than ever, the demand for sand still exists. "The economy is like a giant roller coaster," McCurdy says. "And when the economy is on the way up, then there’s more used."

EDUCATION: ACTRESS WHO COINED #METOO COMING TO NOTRE DAME - The activist who coined the phrase #MeToo more than a decade before it exploded as a global hashtag will speak this month at the University of Notre Dame. Tarana Burke is scheduled to speak on Feb. 25 about the #MeToo movement as part of the university’s Black History Month events. The event at the campus’ DeBartolo Classroom Building is free and open to the public. The South Bend Tribune reports that Burke is a New York civil rights activist who began using the phrase “Me Too” in 2006 to raise awareness about sexual abuse and assault, particularly among girls and women of color and in marginalized communities.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP DEEMED IN GOOD HEALTH - President Trump’s personal physician said on Friday that the president is in “very good health” and should remain so “for the remainder of his presidency and beyond” after Mr. Trump underwent a comprehensive physical examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington (New York Times). But Dr. Sean Conley, a Navy officer who is the president’s physician and the current director of the White House medical unit, released no details about what a team of 11 specialists had found in the course of a four-hour examination of Mr. Trump. Dr. Conley said that “reports and recommendations are being finalized,” but did not say if, when or in what form they would be publicly released.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP LIKED WHITAKER'S CONFRONTATIONAL APPROACH - President Trump watched live cable coverage of yesterday's chippy Hill testimony by acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, and liked what he saw (Allen, Axios). "He liked the combative approach," said an outside West Wing adviser familiar with Trump's thinking. "He thought the Democrats were grandstanding." Inside the White House, according to the adviser, here were the lessons learned: Do not give an inch, push back, resist, delay, deflect. The officials recognize a key flaw in this strategy: Some Trump Cabinet members, likely bound for the witness chair, don't have the experience or agility to pull a Whitaker.

STATE: U.S./SOUTH KOREA REACH SECURITY DEAL - The United States and South Korea signed a “preliminary” deal to share the cost of the U.S. troop presence in the country Sunday, removing an irritant between the allies ahead of President Trump’s upcoming summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Washington Post). But the deal was a stopgap agreement, only covering one year, instead of the usual five-year-term, after long-drawn-out negotiations caused by Trump’s determination to get Seoul to pay substantially more. The U.S. had initially demanded a doubling of the South Korean contribution, but in the end had to settle for a rise of 8.2 percent for the first year, equivalent to the rise in Seoul’s total defense budget this year. South Korea has agreed to pay 1.0389 trillion won, or around $920 million, up from the 960 billion won a year it paid from 2014 to 2018.

PENTAGON: BATTLE AT LAST ISIS FOOTHOLD - U.S.-backed forces in Syria announced the beginning Saturday of the possible final battle for the last village controlled by the Islamic State (Washington Post). In a brief statement posted on its website, the Syrian Democratic Forces said the push began Saturday night and was focused on the village of Baghuz, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in the southeastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zour. The statement gave no indication of how long it could take to capture Baghuz, but President Trump said on Wednesday that he had been told the full territorial conquest of the Islamic State could be completed in the coming week.

AUTOS: MASSIVE CAR AIRBAG RECALL - Subaru, Tesla, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler Vans, Mercedes and Ferrari are recalling about 1.7 million vehicles to replace potentially deadly air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. of Japan (IBJ). The moves, announced Friday by the U.S. government, are part of the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history. About 10 million inflators are being recalled in the U.S. this year, with as many as 70 million to be recalled by the time the whole mess ends late next year. In the latest round, Subaru is recalling 826,144 vehicles, including various Forester, Legacy and Outback models from 2010 to 2014. Mercedes is recalling 288,779 vehicles from model years 2010 to 2017. Volkswagen is recalling 119,394 vehicles, including Audi and Passat models from 2015 to 2017. BMW is recalling 266,044 vehicles from 2000 to 2004 model years and the 2007 to 2015 model years. The recalls also include 159,689 vehicles from Daimler Vans spanning model years 2015 to 2017. Tesla is recalling 68,763 Model S vehicles from 2014 to 2016 and Ferrari is recalling 11,176 vehicles of various models ranging from 2014 to 2018 model years.

BUSINESS: AMAZON MAY NOT BUILD IN NY - is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians, according to two people familiar with the company's thinking (Washington Post). The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment. Unlike in Virginia — where elected leaders quickly passed an incentive package for a separate headquarters facility — final approval from New York state is not expected until 2020. Tennessee officials have also embraced Amazon’s plans to bring 5,000 jobs to Nashville, which this week approved $15.2 million in road, sewer and other improvements related to that project. Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in New York and explore alternatives, said the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about the company’s perspective.

VIRGINIA: FAIRFAX UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE TO RESIGN - Justin E. Fairfax’s refusal to resign as lieutenant governor of Virginia in the face of two allegations of sexual assault has presented Democrats with an excruciating choice: whether to impeach an African-American leader at a moment when the state’s other two top leaders, both white, are resisting calls to quit after admitting to racist conduct (New York Times). Less than a week after Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark R. Herring said they wore blackface as young men, Mr. Fairfax on Friday faced a second assault accusation in three days. On Saturday night, Mr. Fairfax called on the F.B.I. to investigate the allegations, and asked that “no one rush to judgment” and for “due process.” But he is now under intense pressure to resign or face impeachment, transforming what had been a crisis for Virginia Democrats into a searing dilemma for the national party.


CITIES: SNYDER WITNESS RECANTS TESTIMONY - Portage Assistant Street Superintendent Randy Reeder said he was under severe emotional distress when he told a grand jury he felt like he was Mayor James Snyder's pawn (Russell, NWI Times). Reeder is at the center of a charge that Snyder took a $13,000 bribe from Steve and Bob Buha, owners of Great Lakes Peterbilt at the time, in exchange for steering more than $1 million in garbage truck purchases. Reeder said Friday he wants to recant what he told the grand jury in early 2016. "I said I felt like a pawn," Reeder said of his grand jury testimony. "You told the grand jury, 'I felt like Snyder's pawn,'" Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Koster said. "I want to recant that," Reeder answered. Reeder spent Friday on the stand under direct questioning by Snyder attorney Jayna Cacioppo and cross-examination by Koster. During that questioning, Reeder testified Snyder was not involved in the bidding process nor did Snyder direct him to make sure the contracts went to Great Lakes Peterbilt. Reeder's testimony was in direct conflict with previous testimony of former Street Superintendent Steve Charnetsky and FBI agents who claimed Snyder chose Reeder to work on the project and to make sure the Buhas received the bids.

CITIES: NEESE RETAINS DANIELS FOR PD INQUIRY - A former U.S. attorney will lead a review of the Elkhart Police Department after controversies involving the disciplining of officers (AP). Mayor Tim Neese has selected Deborah Daniels to study the department’s use of force, disciplinary procedures and culture. Daniels is a partner in an Indianapolis law firm. She served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana from 1988 to 1993. She was an assistant attorney general from 2001 to 2005. Neese said in a statement that the final report will not name specific officers or incidents but “rather focus on the department’s overall systems, policies, and training, and provide recommendations for improvement where needed.” The police department has been criticized after a video showed two officers repeatedly punching a handcuffed man. The officers face misdemeanor battery charges.

CITIES: MAYOR HENRY HONORED - Mayor Tom Henry has received the 2019 National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The award recognizes public officials at the local, state and federal levels “who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to public service in their community and protecting the environment,” Fort Wayne City Utilities officials said in a news release. “Mayor Henry's leadership and support of City Utilities initiatives have led to the updating of aging infrastructure, protecting our water resources, reducing runoff pollution from our waterways, recapturing waste to create energy and building improvements to protect neighborhoods from street flooding and basement backups,” the release said. “His environmental stewardship at our plants saw the installation of power efficient lighting and HVAC systems.”