BUTTIGIEG COURTING BIG INDEPENDENT BLOC: In 2016, Bernie Sanders won a whopping 73 percent of these independent voters. But in our NBC News/Marist poll we released on Friday, Sanders was getting just 22 percent of them — compared with Buttigieg at 25 percent and Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren at 10 percent apiece. What’s going on here? Well, because there isn’t a competitive GOP primary this year, you not only have pro-Bernie indies, you also have the GOP-leaning independents who backed John Kasich and Jeb Bush in 2016. And Buttigieg has been trying to win over those independents while campaigning here in New Hampshire. “I have a vision for this country that is about moving us forward. It's about ensuring that we draw together the energies of Democrats and independents, and even some Republicans who want to cross over,” he said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. If Buttigieg is going to pull off the upset on Tuesday against Sanders — or at least make it close — it will be due to those independents.

SANDERS OPENS LEAD IN CNN NH TRACKING, BUT ...: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders holds on to his lead on the eve of New Hampshire's Democratic primary, the final CNN tracking poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows. In the final numbers, 29% of likely primary voters say they back Sanders, 22% back former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 11% support former Vice President Joe Biden, 10% support Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 7% back Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The rest of the field falls at 5% or less. Only about half of likely primary voters in New Hampshire say they have definitely decided for whom they will vote, meaning that despite the stability in the numbers throughout the six-day tracking period, there remains room for preferences to shift. Sanders has a gaping 24-point lead among those who say they are committed to their candidate (42% for Sanders, 18% for Buttigieg, 14% for Biden, 10% for Warren, 6% for Klobuchar). Buttigieg holds an 11-point lead among those who could change their minds (26% for Buttigieg, 15% for Sanders, 10% for Warren and 7% each for Biden and Klobuchar).

BUTTIGIEG STAKES OUT UNIQUE SPACE: Pete Buttigieg is offering a highly unusual proposition: He’s a revolutionary messenger trying to deliver a safe package. Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is in many ways the man to watch in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. He was the surprise force in Iowa’s caucuses last week, though it is hard to say whether he won, tied or came in just behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, given the muddled counting process there (Seib, Wall Street Journal). In any case, Mr. Buttigieg’s prospects moving forward are hard to gauge because the profile he presents is so different from anything seen before. Whether voters find it intriguing or a bridge too far is the question he now has laid on the table. He is the first openly gay candidate to become a plausible presidential candidate. He is young enough—age 38—that he could be not just the son but the grandson of two of his competitors, former Vice President Joe Biden and Mr. Sanders. His candidacy assumes that voters are prepared to skip not one but two generations to move beyond President Trump. He also proposes to make a leap previously unseen: from mayor of a midsize American city to the White House. Maybe it’s a time for unconventional candidates; Mr. Trump was the first president in American history to bring neither government nor military experience to the Oval Office. Mr. Buttigieg has both military and government experience, yet his election would represent a giant leap of a different kind.

INDIANA CITIZEN HIRES MORGAN: The Indiana Citizen announced today the hiring of veteran journalist Kevin Morgan to lead its efforts to connect Hoosier voters to unbiased information about the candidates who will appear on their 2020 general election ballots (Howey Politics Indiana). Morgan, who spent nearly three decades as a writer and editor at The Indianapolis Star, began today as director of digital content. “We are excited to have Kevin join The Indiana Citizen to take on the key role in our efforts to increase the number of informed, engaged Hoosier voters,” said Bill Moreau, president and co-founder of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation with his wife, Ann. “Kevin has a wealth of experience that will add greatly to our organization’s aspirations to provide Indiana voters vital information when making their electoral decisions.” Launched last year, The Indiana Citizen (indianacitizen.org) is a nonpartisan, one-stop resource for voter registration, candidate information and public involvement in the democratic process. It also is a key partner with the Indiana Bar Foundation and its 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index, which found that Indiana consistently ranks in the bottom 10 for the percentage of eligible citizens who vote, a key measure of a healthy democracy.

BURIAL OF 2,411 FETAL REMAINS IN SOUTH BEND ON WEDNESDAY: The 2,411 aborted fetal remains recently discovered in Illinois on the property of the late abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer will be memorialized at a graveside service at Southlawn Cemetery and Palmer Funeral Home, 61430 U.S 31 South, South Bend (Howey Politics Indiana). The burial service will commence at 1 p.m. EST, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Attorney General Curtis T. Hill Jr. will offer remarks on behalf of the State of Indiana and will be available following the service to discuss the status of the investigation.

REP. LUCAS SCHOOL GUN COMMENT CREATES A STIR: Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, caused a stir at Monday’s Third House session while answering a question posed by a 12-year-old student from ABC-Stewart School in Columbus. Student president Jackson Brewer, a sixth-grader, asked the four legislators attending the Third House session at Donner Center, including Lucas, Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus, Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus and Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, about their opinions on pending state legislation that would allow teachers to receive handgun training if they so desired and permit retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms on school property (East, Columbus Republic). Lucas told the nearly 60 people in audience, including four ABC Stewart students, that he believes gun control laws won’t prevent school shootings, training teachers to use firearms can make schools safer and that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled “police do not have a duty to protect children while they are being slaughtered.” After Lucas answered Brewer’s question, the student had a follow-up question: “Do you believe the more guns that are being carried, including in this room, would make my classmates and I safer?” Lucas immediately said “absolutely” and then told the crowd “I’m carrying right now. Does that scare anybody?” Around 20 people, or roughly a third of those in the room, raised their hands to signal that it scared them. Several other people said “yes” without raising their hands. There also were a few people who said “no.”

VIRUS GRINDS CHINESE ECONOMY TO A HALT: Workers are stuck in their hometowns. Officials want detailed health plans before factories or offices can reopen. Assembly lines that make General Motors cars and Apple iPhones are standing silent (New York Times). More than two weeks after China locked down a major city to stop a dangerous viral outbreak, one of the world’s largest economies remains largely idle. Much of the country was supposed to have reopened by now, but its empty streets, quiet factories and legions of inactive workers suggest that weeks or months could pass before this vital motor of global growth is humming again. The global economy could suffer the longer China stays in low gear. It has been hampered by both the outbreak and its own containment efforts, a process that has cut off workers from their jobs and factories from their raw materials. The result is a slowdown that is already slashing traffic along the world’s shipping lines and leading to forecasts of a sharp fall in production of everything from cars to smartphones. “It’s like Europe in medieval times,” said Jörg Wuttke, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, “where each city has its checks and crosschecks.”

CPAC HEAD FEARS FOR ROMNEY'S SAFETY: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has faced a bitter GOP backlash after casting the lone Republican vote for President Trump’s impeachment. There have been angry tweets and calls for the party to expel the man it once nominated to lead the country. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, made the controversial comments Sunday as he explained why Romney would be excluded from this year’s four-day event (Washington Post). Schlapp announced last month via tweet that the senator was “formally NOT invited,” as Romney took heat for breaking from staunch Republican support of the president to call for witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial. “We won’t credential him as a conservative,” Schlapp told Greta Van Susteren on “Full Court Press.” “I suppose if he wants to come as a nonconservative and debate an issue with us, maybe in the future we would have him come. This year, I would actually be afraid for his physical safety, people are so mad at him.”

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Gov. Holcomb's reelection campaign clarifies that it will not file a ballot signature access challenge to Brian Roth, who acknowledged in a Facebook post that he lacks the necessary signatures. It will fall to a private citizen to file the inevitable challenge. - Brian A. Howey


MYERS SAYS HOOSIERS 'READY FOR CHANGE': Health care business executive Woody Myers filed paperwork Friday to challenge Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, becoming the lone Democrat to qualify for the ballot in a bid to break the GOP’s 16-year hold on Indiana’s top office (Davies, AP). Myers became the last Democrat standing for the May primary after tech business leader Josh Owens dropped out the race Wednesday and endorsed Myers. He will be the first African American to appear on either the Democratic or Republican ticket in the state as a candidate for governor or lieutenant governor. Myers said he would focus his campaign on improving the state’s education and health care systems, job creation and tackling environmental problems. “I just truly believe that Hoosiers are ready for a change,” Myers said. “Hoosiers know that the leadership that we have today isn’t working for most Hoosiers. Those at the top of the food chain are doing really well, but the rest of the state is not.”

CARDWELL ENDORSES DIETZEN: 5th CD Republican candidate Chuck Dietzen received the endorsement of former Indiana Republican chairman Jeff Cardwell (Howey Politics Indiana). "I am proud to endorse Dr. Chuck Dietzen for United States Congress," Cardwell said. "Chuck is an unapologetic pro-life conservative leader and the embodiment of Hoosier values. I have known Chuck for over 20 years as we have served together to combat global housing, hunger, and health challenges. His heart for serving others remains unmatched and his passion to walk alongside those in need are both admirable and contagious. A doctor; an entrepreneur; and a lifelong Republican — there is no one more fit to serve Hoosiers in Washington."

HALE ENDORSED BY DEMOCRATIC ACTION FUND: The New Democratic Action Fund announced their endorsement of Christina Hale for Congress (Howey Politics Indiana). "NewDems stand for fresh approaches, bold ideas, and meaningful progress,” said Congressman Ami Bera, Chair of the NewDem Action Fund. “Christina has committed to that same approach and has what it takes to win in this competitive district. We look forward to standing side by side through 2020 and beyond.” Hale had previously been named a ‘candidate to watch’ by the organization and has gone on to earn the support of dozens of state, local and national groups and has set fundraising records. “I am running for Congress to get things done, to work across the aisle and to restore some common sense to Washington,” said Hale. “I’m excited to know that there are others that share my practical approach. I’m grateful for this endorsement and honored by the support of the NewDem Action Fund.”

HOLCOMB ANNOUNCEMENT WITH INDIANA BUILDERS ASSN: Gov. Eric Holcomb will join the Indiana Builders Association on Tuesday to make an announcement, his reelection campaign said on Monday. It will take place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Stardust Ballroom at the Columbia Club.

Presidential 2020

SANDERS OVERTAKES BIDEN IN NATIONAL QUINNPIAC POLL: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has taken the lead nationally in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, blowing past the longtime national front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden (The Hill). The survey shows Sanders with 25 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, up from 21 percent in a similar Quinnipiac poll conducted late last month. Biden, meanwhile, fell to second place with 17 percent support, down from 26 percent last month. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg placed third with 15 percent support, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) finished in fourth place with 14 percent. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, fresh off a win in the Iowa caucuses, came in fifth place with 10 percent, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

DEMOCRATS LEAD TRUMP IN QUINNIPIAC NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEADS: Among all registered voters in Monday's nationlal Quinnipiac Poll, Democratic candidates lead President Trump in general election matchups by between 4 and 9 percentage points, with Bloomberg claiming the biggest numerical lead against Trump: Bloomberg tops Trump 51 - 42 percent; Sanders defeats Trump 51 - 43 percent; Biden beats Trump 50 - 43 percent; Klobuchar defeats Trump 49 - 43 percent; Warren wins narrowly over Trump 48 - 44 percent; Buttigieg is also slightly ahead of Trump 47 - 43 percent. President Trump's favorability rating is underwater, as 42 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of him, while 55 percent have an unfavorable view of him. However, it is his best favorability rating since a March 7th, 2017 poll, when his favorability rating was a negative 43 - 53 percent.

BLACK VOTERS ABANDONING BIDEN: While Joe Biden is still holding onto his lead among black voters, according to the Quinnipiac poll, his support has plummeted from 49 percent before the caucuses to 27 percent (Politico). Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, has rocketed into second place among black voters, with 22 percent support compared to 7 percent late last month.

SANDERS, BUTTIGIEG ASK FOR IOWA RECANVASS: Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have officially asked the Iowa Democratic Party for a partial precinct-level recanvass of the results from last week's Iowa caucuses, which were thrust into chaos after technological issues entangled the reporting of results (CBS News). Sanders sent a letter to Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price on Monday asking for a recanvass of 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses, after his campaign said it had identified mathematical errors and inconsistencies in tabulations. The Vermont senator told Price that the discrepancies led South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to receive too many state delegate equivalents, while Sanders received too few. A correction could give Sanders one more national delegate, his campaign said.

BLOOMBERG CARRIES DIXVILLE NOTCH: Dixville Notch’s five residents cast their ballots just after the stroke of midnight. Michael Bloomberg received three write-in votes, one from a Republican and two from Democrats (AP). The remaining votes went to Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.

BUTTIGIEG PREDICTS 'A GREAT NIGHT': Pete Buttgieg said on NBC's Today Show today: "I think we're going to have a great night. Look, we are competing against home region competition, two New England senators, I recognize that, but I still think we're going to have a great night."

TRUMP INSERTS HIMSELF INTO DEM VOTING STATES: President Trump, who held a campaign rally here just hours before the first-in-the-nation primary, has inserted himself into the Democrats' nominating contest with a fervor that exceeds his predecessors — many of whom were reluctant to directly involve themselves in another party's political selection process (Washington Post). For Trump, visits to early-voting states allow him to inject his trademark bombast into a crowded and muddled field of Democrats, while also conducting a kind of political warfare against a party that is enduring bouts of disunity and uncertainty at the very moment that Republicans appear most unified behind him. Before leaving for New Hampshire, Trump wrote on Twitter that he wanted to “shake up the Dems a little bit.” The president also held a rally in Iowa last month ahead of that state’s critical caucuses. “They always talk about the Democrats, they have enthusiasm, right?” Trump told a crowd at the SNHU Arena here. “We have so much more enthusiasm, it’s not even close. They’re all fighting each other. They’re all going after each other. You got them all over the place. They don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing. They can’t even count their votes.”

BLOOMBERG'S MASSIVE SPENDING ON SUPER TUESDAY STATES: Mike Bloomberg is funneling more than a third of his massive advertising war chest into the 14 states voting on Super Tuesday (March 3), according to data from Advertising Analytics, Axios' Stef Kight and Sara Fischer report (Axios). 35% of Bloomberg's ad money has been spent on the four states with the largest number of Democratic delegates — California, New York, Texas and Florida. Nearly half has been spent on Super Tuesday and Rust Belt states. Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren have spent more than half of all their ad dollars since last January on early voting states.

TRIBUNE DENIES BUTTIGIEG RUMOR STORY: Conspiracy theories and rumors have always surrounded presidential campaigns, so it shouldn't be a surprise that South Bend's former mayor has recently drawn his share. For the past few days, The Tribune also has been drawn into the web of rumors surrounding the campaign of Pete Buttigieg. They involve abused dogs, an "I can't breathe" T-shirt and even the CIA (Havens, South Bend Tribune). They're also the latest proof of how information — more precisely, disinformation — spreads on social media these days and, by the time it gets shared and circulated and passed along, becomes accepted as true. The public then gets suspicious of attempts by media outlets to debunk the rumors. Case in point: A Twitter user this past weekend made a fake image of a supposed Aug. 30, 1998 Tribune front page reporting that a teen Buttigieg was arrested for a shocking crime involving dogs. Everything about the image screamed bogus. It was generated through an online program that creates fake newspaper clippings. But even though that Twitter user admitted Sunday night he intended the fabrication as a joke, The Tribune was still receiving calls and messages Monday afternoon hoping to verify the story. Some thanked us for clarifying it; others angrily denounced us for "covering up for Pete." So let's just make this perfectly clear: The Tribune did not publish the story making the rounds. The real Aug. 30, 1998 Tribune front page is attached here. The fake one gives several hints it isn't real.

BLOOMBERG PROPOSES IMMIGRATION REFORM: Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is releasing his plan to modernize the United States’ broken immigration system and make immigration work for America’s economy and communities (Howey Politics Indiana). “President Trump’s demonization of immigrants and his fueling of fear and hatred are an ugly chapter in American history that we must close,” said Mike Bloomberg. “The fact is that immigration doesn’t threaten America, it strengthens America. I led our nation’s immigrant capital for 12 years and I know how much immigrants strengthen our economy and communities. America doesn’t need more of Trump’s fear mongering – what we need is a modern immigration system that honors our history and readies us for the future and, as president, I’ll get it done.” His plan: Rescinds the travel ban that Trump recently expanded; Ends family separation, establishes rigorous safeguards for children and promotes alternatives to detention for individuals who pose no threat to public safety; Protects Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders; Orders the Department of Justice to investigate abuse at ICE and CBP and reforms the agencies to ensure oversight and accountability; Sets the annual refugee resettlement target at 125,000. Trump has lowered the refugee cap to 18,000, the lowest since the program was created in 1980.

General Assembly

2ND HALF OF SESSION BEGINS:  Indiana lawmakers returned Monday to the Statehouse after deadlines last week on advancing bills for action during the last half of this year’s legislative session (Davies, AP). The 10-week legislative session is scheduled to end by mid-March. Here is a look at some of the top issues:

SCHOOL FUNDING: Holcomb has signed off on directing $291 million toward spending cash on six college campus construction projects, rather than borrowing money. Republicans held firm on that plan despite several thousand educators attending a November rally at the Statehouse during which stagnant teacher pay was a major concern.

STUDENT TESTING: The Indiana House voted unanimously last month to end the mandatory use of student test results in teacher evaluations. That would be a major about face on the mandate dating from a 2011 Republican-driven education overhaul that school districts incorporate those student exam results in their teacher evaluations, which are used in determining merit pay raises. That bill is awaiting action in the state Senate, where majority Republicans “are looking favorably towards it,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville.

DISTRACTED DRIVING: A proposal that would ban motorists from using handheld cellphones cleared the House last month and is pending with the Senate. Twenty-one other states already have similar bans. Supporters compare it to the adoption of seat belt laws and say that while a cellphone ban might be difficult to enforce it does send a message about what is acceptable.

PREGNANT WOMEN: Advocates of requiring workplace accommodations for pregnant women will need to find support in the House in the coming weeks after Republican senators rejected the Holcomb-supported bill. Top Holcomb administration health officials joined several doctors and other health advocates in backing the plan as a way of improving Indiana’s infant mortality rate, which was the country’s seventh-worst, with about 600 infant deaths in 2017. The bill has faced opposition from Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Manufacturers Association as possibly exposing more businesses to lawsuits.

SMOKING LAW: The House and Senate have approved separate bills on toughening state penalties for stores caught selling smoking or vaping products to anyone younger than 21. The action comes in proposals that include raising Indiana’s minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21 to conform with a new federal law. Senators approved tripling possible retailer fines to between $600 and $3,000 based on number of violations in a six-month period. The House endorsed different retailer penalties, and the chambers need to reach agreement on a single version before the legislative session ends. Holcomb supports the tougher penalties, which officials say haven’t been increased since 2008.

COAL PLANTS: Consumer and environmental groups are fighting proposal aimed at making it more difficult for Indiana electric companies to close more coal-fired power plants. The House narrowly approved the bill last week, sending it on to the Senate for consideration. The proposal comes as at least four large Indiana electric utilities intend to close several coal-burning plants in the coming years.

REDISTRICTING: Republicans refused again to consider changing how Indiana politicians dice up the state for congressional and legislative districts. This comes as that redistricting process will take place in 2021 using data from the once-a-decade U.S. census taking place this year.

MIXED REVIEWS OF CHILD SENTENCING BILL: A bill that would lower the age at which juveniles could be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction passed the Indiana Senate last week and now moves to the House (South Bend Tribune). The bill, originally authored by Senator Erin Houchin, R-Salem, would allow courts to sentence children as young as 12 to the Department of Correction and expands the list of crimes that could send a child to jail to include an attempt to commit murder, rape, kidnapping and armed robbery. The bill also increases the maximum sentence for juveniles to six years. In testimony before a senate committee, Houchin said this bill, as well as a similar one in the previous legislative session, were proposed on the heels of a shooting at a Noblesville middle school in May 2018. In that incident, a 13-year-old student shot and injured a classmate and a teacher, but could not be charged as an adult for attempted murder. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time what we need to do is give (juveniles) care and support from the community,” St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said. “I just want options to protect our community in those extremely rare cases.” “It’s too young, it’s way too young,” St. Joseph County Probate Court Judge Jason Cichowicz said. “Kids make mistakes, kids make poor judgment calls and sometimes that results in harsh things that happen in the community. I think we should be working with them to see if we can make a breakthrough.”

NAACP URGES DEFEAT OF COAL POWER BILL: The Indiana NAACP says keeping coal plants open longer would negatively affect the health of low-income and minority communities in the state (Thiele, Indiana Public Media). The group has asked lawmakers to vote down a House bill that could delay coal plant closures.  The bill would require the state to review a plant closure, hold a public hearing, and issue a report on whether or not the closure is reasonable. Lawmakers also added a provision that would help former coal miners in Indiana find jobs. But La'Tonya Troutman with the LaPorte County branch of the NAACP, says low-income and minority groups that live near these coal plants are often neglected. “We can't overlook these communities and their needs as well just for the sake of others, when we are the ones breathing it in," Troutman says. NIPSCO plans to shutter its Michigan City coal plant in eight years.

LEGISLATORS HELP WITH VETERAN CARE PACKAGES: The Indiana House of Representatives and the American Legion, Department of Indiana joined forces at the Statehouse Monday to fill care packages for homeless Hoosier veterans (Howey Politics Indiana). In January, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) selected Indiana’s American Legion as their bipartisan philanthropy project for the 2020 legislative session. House lawmakers launched a donation drive at the Statehouse, and collected over 7,000 food and hygiene items for veterans in need. In all, House lawmakers and over 30 members of the Indiana Legion assembled about 250 hygiene kits and 250 emergency food kits at the Statehouse on Monday. “Partnering with Indiana’s American Legion has been an honor, and this special project has given us all an opportunity to give back to many Hoosiers who selflessly served and protected us,” Bosma said. “Through our actions, we aim to shine a light on the tremendous needs of our homeless veterans while providing hope to these heroes, and encouraging others to donate or volunteer their time.”

MERRITT SHIFTS FOCUS TO POVERTY: Sen. Jim Merritt says his run last year for Indianapolis mayor has made him a better senator—one who’s more in touch with his constituents and who has seen the city’s poverty and crime problems firsthand (Erdody, IBJ). The Republican spent 10 months on the campaign trail, learning more than he ever knew about a community he’s called home for 60 years and has represented at the Statehouse for 30. Merritt, who represents District 31—which encompasses Lawrence Township, a small portion of Washington Township and Fall Creek Township in Hamilton County—lost the November election to Democrat incumbent Joe Hogsett after garnering only 30% of the vote. He returned to the Statehouse last month prepared to file or co-author several bills inspired by his run for mayor. They address food deserts, landlord-tenant relations and eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a state/federal cash welfare program. “I was thoroughly educated on every nook and cranny of Marion County,” Merritt said of his campaign. “I really, really picked up a lot of information and learned some valuable points that I took from the mayor’s run to the Indiana state Senate. I’m trying to do a percentage of what I wanted to do as mayor as a state senator.”


SEN. MANCHIN TELLS TRUMP TO 'GROW UP': Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday brushed off the stream of insults hurled at him by President Donald Trump, offering the president some stern advice: Grow up (Politico). “I expect — every American and myself would like my president and our president to act like a responsible adult, and he's not,” Manchin told CNN's "New Day." “For the sake of the country, I hope he does.”

CARSON SUPPORTS 'RARE DISEASE DAY': U.S. Reps. André Carson (D-IN) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) have introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Res 840) to support the designation of the last day of February as “Rare Disease Day” to honor the nearly 1 in 10 Americans living with rare diseases (Howey Politics Indiana). “I am honored to join my colleague, Rep. Hudson, in recognizing the millions of Americans bravely battling rare diseases and celebrating their courage,” Rep. Carson said. “It’s also fitting that we are introducing this resolution during Black History Month, since African Americans are particularly vulnerable to rare diseases like Sickle Cell Anemia and Sarcoidosis. I hope our resolution shines a light on this struggle and strengthens the search for treatment and cures for African Americans, and all Americans, living with rare diseases.”


EDUCATION: IU MEDICAL SCHOOL LANDS $189M IN NIH GRANTS - Studying early-on Alzheimer’s disease in adults in their 40s and 50s. Recruiting minority patients to study the effects of pain control. Consolidating databases to analyze treatment of HIV/AIDS (Russell, IBJ). These medical studies and dozen more at the Indiana University School of Medicine helped the school raise $189.3 million last year, up 26% from a year earlier, from the federal National Institutes of Health. That helped the medical school set a school record for NIH funding for the fourth straight year. The grants ranged in size from $6,000 to $14.47 million, and covered almost every aspect of medicine from neurology and psychiatry to anesthesiology and emergency medicine. The NIH is the lead federal agency responsible for biomedical and public health research. The increase propels the IU School of Medicine to 14th out of 92 public medical schools that receive NIH funding (up from 16th place a year ago), and 28th out of 145 medical schools overall (up from 33rd place).

EDUCATION: LUBBERS TO MAKE HIGHER ED COMMISSION ADDRESS TODAY -  Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers will deliver the annual State of Higher Education address at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, February 11 at the Indiana Statehouse (Howey Politics Indiana). Lubbers will also outline several priorities and action items from the plan that the Commission and staff will support through advocacy and legislative efforts in 2020 and beyond. Earlier in the day, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Commission will celebrate 21st Century Scholars Day, honoring the 30th anniversary of the 21st Century Scholars program, Indiana’s nationally-recognized early college promise program. Those events will be held in the north atrium of the Statehouse.

MILITARY: ROLLS-ROYCE LANDS CONTRACTS - Indianapolis-based Rolls-Royce Corp. has been awarded two contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense, one for the Navy and the other for the Air Force. The work, totaling nearly $90 million, is being contracted by Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland (Parker, Inside Indiana Business). The over $69 million Air Force contract deals with the T56 Engine Component Improvement Program. Work on the engine program includes new support equipment designs and engineering changes, with the work to be done in Indianapolis and completed by December 31, 2029. The just over $20 million contract with the Navy deals with a modification from a previous contract for work on T56-A-427 engines. Work includes repair of the power section, torque meter, gearbox and accessories. The work will be done in San Antonio, Texas, Winnipeg, Canada and in Indianapolis and is expected to be complete by January of next year.

JUDICIARY: ALLEN COUNTY JUDGE APPLICATION SET - The Allen Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission is beginning the process of selecting a new superior court judge. A vacancy on the Allen Superior Court will occur in June 2020 when Judge Nancy Eshcoff Boyer retires from her position in the Civil Division (Howey Politics Indiana). Commission Chairperson and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steve David announced applications for the position are available online at courts.in.gov/5562.htm and must be submitted through the Indiana Courts Portal by Tuesday, March 10 at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).

AGRICULTURE: GRAIN INDEMNITY CORPORATION TO MEET - The Indiana Grain Indemnity Corporation (IGIC) will hold a special committee public meeting on Friday, February 14, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET) at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library (250 N 5th St., Zionsville, IN 46077)

SPORTS: CATCHINGS TO WOMAN'S HOF - Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson and Swin Cash are headed to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (WANE-TV). The trio headline the Class of 2020. Joining the three former WNBA stars are Carol Callan (contributor), Carol Stiff (contributor), Sue Donohoe (contributor) and Debbie Brock (veteran player). The seven members will be inducted on June 13. Catchings was a four-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S. and also a five-time winner of the WNBA defensive player of the year award. She led the Indiana Fever to their lone title in 2012 and Tennessee to an NCAA championship in 1998.


WHITE HOUSE: EXPERTS WORRY ABOUT TRUMP, PANDEMIC - When an outbreak of the Ebola virus touched the United States’ shores in mid-2014, Donald J. Trump was still a private citizen. But he had strong opinions about how America should act (New York Times). Mr. Trump, who has spoken openly about his phobia of germs, closely followed the epidemic, and offered angry commentary about what he said was the Obama administration’s dangerous response. He demanded draconian measures like canceling flights, forcing quarantines and even denying the return of American medical workers who had contracted the disease in Africa. “Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days — now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!” Mr. Trump tweeted on that July 31 after learning that one American medical worker would be evacuated to Atlanta from Liberia. “The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back,” Mr. Trump wrote the next day. Now Mr. Trump confronts another epidemic in the form of the coronavirus, this time at the head of the country’s health care and national security agencies. The illness has infected few people in the United States, but health officials fear it could soon spread more widely. And while Mr. Trump has so far kept his distance from the issue, public health experts worry that his extreme fear of germs, disdain for scientific and bureaucratic expertise and suspicion of foreigners could be a dangerous mix, should he wind up overseeing a severe outbreak at home.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP UNVEILS BUDGET - President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net (New York Times). The proposal, which must be approved by Congress, includes additional spending for the military, national defense and border enforcement, along with money for Mr. Trump’s Space Force initiative and an extension of the individual income tax cuts that were set to expire in 2025. Its biggest reduction is an annual 2 percent decrease in spending on discretionary domestic programs, like education and environmental protection. Speaking to the nation’s governors at the White House, Mr. Trump said Monday that his budget proposal would bring the deficit close to zero in “not that long a period of time” and that he was investing heavily in the military and America’s nuclear arsenal. “We’re going to have a very good budget with a very powerful military budget, because we have no choice,” he said, adding that he was aiming to reduce spending by rooting out fraud and abuse.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TELLS UTAH GOV HE CAN 'KEEP' ROMNEY - President Donald Trump continued his verbal barrage on Sen. Mitt Romney on Monday, telling Utah's governor, "You keep him" (NBC News). Trump, who's repeatedly criticized his fellow Republican since Romney voted last week to convict the president for abuse of power at his Senate impeachment trial, still had the Utah senator on his mind when Gov. Gary Herbert tried to ask him a question at a White House event. "How's Mitt Romney? You keep him. We don't want him," Trump told Herbert, also a Republican.

WHITE HOUSE: CONWAY HINTS AT MORE DISMISSALS - White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday hinted that additional officials could be forced out of their roles following the ousters last week of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland — both high-profile witnesses in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump (Politico). Asked during an interview on “Fox & Friends” whether there will be more dismissals in the days to come, Conway said, “maybe,” and sought to defend Vindman’s removal from a detail at the National Security Council. Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who had served as a senior lawyer on the NSC, was also forced out of the White House on Friday.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will sign the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act at 3:45 p.m.

PENTAGON: 100 WITH BRAIN INJURIES IN IRAN ATTACK - U.S. officials tell Reuters that more than 100 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury from the Iran strike on the base in Iraq. Previously the U.S. military had said 64 had been diagnosed.

PENTAGON: MORE MONEY TO BE DIVERTED TO BORDER WALL - The Defense Department, under White House pressure, is expected to announce this week that billions more in Pentagon funds will go toward the border wall, according to an administration official (CNN). A senior Defense official also told CNN that a major announcement about the border will made this week. While the White House is poised to ask for less money for the wall in the upcoming formal budget request to Congress, the administration appears to be increasingly relying on Pentagon funds to meet its goal of constructing additional barriers on the border. The Trump administration has argued that it does not need congressional approval to redirect military funds to the border wall.

JUSTICE: BARR ANNOUNCES INDICTMENTS OF 4 CHINESE OFFICERS - The Justice Department announced charges on Monday against four members of China’s military on suspicion of hacking into Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, and stealing trade secrets and the personal data of about 145 million Americans in 2017 (New York Times). “This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people,” Attorney General William P. Barr said.

JUSTICE: BARR SUES CA, WA, NJ OVER SANCUTUARY CITIES - The Justice Department sued New Jersey and a Washington county Monday over their laws and policies limiting local cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Wall Street Journal). The moves escalated a Trump administration battle with liberal states and localities that adopt so-called sanctuary policies intended to protect unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Attorney General William Barr reported the actions in a speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association on Monday. The suits target New Jersey’s law limiting the information the state’s law enforcement agents share with ICE officials on unauthorized immigrants living there as well as an executive order passed by King County in Washington—where Seattle is located—that bars its airport from being used for deportation flights. Two weeks ago, the government sued California over a new state law banning for-profit immigration detention centers.

JUSTICE: FEDS SEEK 7 TO 9 YEARS FOR STONE - Federal prosecutors on Monday said longtime President Trump confidant Roger Stone deserves a sentence of seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and tampering with a witness related to his efforts to learn about hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 U.S. presidential election (Washington Post). The sentencing filing came after days of tense debate within the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington about the proper prison term for the sixth Trump associate convicted and last person indicted in former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

PHARMA: LILLY, ROCHE DRUGS FAIL TO STYMIE ALZHEIMERS - In the latest failed attempt to help people with Alzheimer’s, a study found that experimental drugs from Eli Lilly & Co. and Roche Holdings AG failed to help people with a rare, inherited form of the dementia-causing disease (Wall Street Journal). The negative outcome continues a long streak of studies in which experimental drugs fail to slow, halt or reverse the underlying worsening of Alzheimer’s disease. Current treatments for Alzheimer’s only temporarily alleviate symptoms but can’t halt the underlying disease.

MEDIA: OSCAR VIEWSHIP PLUMMETS - ABC's politically charged Oscar telecast averaged 23.6 million viewers on Sunday night, the smallest audience ever, according to The Hollywood Reporter (Fox News). THR noted that total was “well below the 29.56 million and 7.7 for last year's awards,” and down 20 percent in year-to-year viewers. The Oscars managed a 5.3 rating in the key demographic of adults age 18-49, down 31 percent from last year’s 7.7 demo rating.


FORT WAYNE: FIRST VOTE FOR ELECTRIC WORKS - On Monday, the city Redevelopment Commission took the first vote in the process, approving pushing back the deadline. The date moves from February 1 to April 30. The developers have to close on the land by June 30 (Darby, WANE-TV). City Councilman Jason Arp attempted to table the decision on funding until after the tenant is revealed. A similar vote is expected to be taken by the Capital Improvement Board Wednesday morning. C.I.B. member told WANE 15 he would likely vote to approve moving the deadline. Noting hundreds of jobs being on the line, Tim Pape said “why wouldn’t we?” On the eve of the expired deadline, Mayor Tom Henry released a statement. “I continue to be optimistic that we’re going to be able to make Electric Works a reality. The local public funding partners remain committed to working with RTM Ventures to see the project happen and succeed while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m also encouraged that a potential anchor tenant has been identified. Our community recognizes that large projects are complex and time consuming but are important to help ensure local and regional success.”

FORT WAYNE: ELECTRIC WORKS LOCAL TENANTS - Among local companies who have signed letters of intent to lease space in Electric Works: Parkview, Joseph Decuis, Conjure Coffee, Three Rivers Music Theatre, Spherion Staffing, Rush Rock Gym, Fort Wayne Metals, Fort Wayne Community Schools and Indiana Tech (WANE-TV). Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. and a high-tech greenhouse in the farmers market are also on the list. Leaders of local music festival Middle Waves also announced the 2020 edition of the the event would be held on the east campus. The discussions of funding are focused on the campus west of Broadway.

INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT LAUNCHES COMMUNITY COMPASS - Mayor Joe Hogsett joined community leaders, advocates, service providers, and local officials to announce the launch of Community Compass – an innovative, multi-platform resource designed to connect Indianapolis residents to critical food resources and nutrition assistance. The development of the tool was championed by the Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS) and a broad coalition of community partners and service providers (Howey Politics Indiana). The Community Compass contains a finder for such resources as food pantries, Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) retailers and clinics, hot meal sites, farmers’ markets and other food related events, and more. Additionally, the platform will help residents navigate the nutrition assistance programs to determine if they may qualify for SNAP, WIC or other nutrition benefits. It also includes a “smart chatbot expert” – accessible via the app, text message, phone call, or Facebook messenger – to serve as a guide. “Ensuring that all families have access to nutritious meals is an essential part of improving the health of Hoosiers,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “We are thrilled to partner with Mayor Hogsett’s office to announce the launch of Community Compass, a potential game changer in our collective fight against hunger in Indiana.”

INDIANAPOLIS: NO 'SILVER BULLET' SOLUTION FOR VIOLENCE - Since four people were murdered at the same time last week, both city leaders and citizen groups have been vocal about their different approaches to respond to the violence. But, the answer is not all in one place, says a criminal justice professor (Davis, WIBC). "There's no real silver bullet solution to these problems because they are complex," said Jeremy Carter, associate professor of Criminal Justice and Public Safety at IU's O'Neill School at IUPUI. "People keep looking for this. What should we do? And, the answer not one thing. The answer is many things."

EVANSVILLE: PINTS & POLITICS SET FOR FEB. 26 - New Year. Same Mission. Advance Leadership and Projects for the Betterment of Evansville is hosting  the inaugural Pints, Politics, and Policy event on Wednesday, February 26th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the newly renovated lounge at The Rooftop.

ELKHART COUNTY: AI EMERGENCY MONITORING PROGRAM OK'd - Elkhart County officials hope an intelligent data monitoring program can help law enforcement respond to – or even prevent – the next emergency (Elkhart Truth). Elkhart County Council signaled support on Saturday for an agreement with a Utah company that developed an artificial intelligence program to watch social media and alert law enforcement to what it finds. The company, Banjo, describes it as a live-time intelligence platform that monitors things like 911 calls, traffic cameras, social media and weather data and synthesizes it all together in order to understand what’s happening.

BENTON COUNTY: SCHOOL REFERENDUM SET FOR MAY - The Benton Community School Corporation board voted to put a referendum question on the May ballot at its Monday night meeting. This decision has been months in the making, after looking at finances, finding ways to save money and consulting with the community (WLFI-TV). Superintendent Gregg Hoover said this referendum is their best option to gain important funding. "We find ourselves in deficit spending by close to $1.5 million," he said. "There really is no other option for getting money other than a referendum."