PETE COMES WITHIN EYELASH OF UPSETTING SANDERS: Pete Buttigieg kept his presidential dreams alive in New Hampshire Tuesday, finishing an eyelash short of a stunning upset of Bernie Sanders in a state the Vermont socialist had carried over Hillary Clinton in a landslide four years ago (Howey Politics Indiana). It was the late surge of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar that prevented the outright Buttigieg upset. Klobuchar was widely credited with winning the New Hampshire debate last Friday night, and her late surge prevented Buttigieg from gaining enough momentum to overtake Sanders. Appearing just before 11 p.m., a buoyant Buttigieg told supporters in Nashua, "And here in a state that goes by the motto 'Live free or die,' you made up your own minds. You asserted that famous independent streak and thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay. So many of you turned out—die-hard Democrats, Independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines, and even some newly-former Republicans, ready to vote for something new. Ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we can call in, instead of by who we push out. So many of you decided that a middle-class mayor and a veteran from the industrial Midwest was the right choice to take on this president, not in spite of that experience, but because of it." Sanders told jubilant supporters, "This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. The reason we're going to win is we're putting together a multi-racial, multi-cultural movement." Two weeks ago, Real Clear Politics polling composite at Sanders leading at 25%, Joe Biden at 17%, Elizabeth Warren and Buttigieg were tied at 14% with Klobuchar at 6%. "Give Pete credit, Pete drove turn out. Amy drove turn out. That's what we're looking for in November," said former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.ABC News exit polling revealed Buttigieg won those who made their choice in the campaign’s closing days. Those late deciders accounted for a remarkable 50% of all voters, far more than in previous New Hampshire primaries. The "moderate" Buttigieg and Klobuchar massed almost 45% of the vote (over 50% if you include Joe Biden). Sanders ended up with a little more than a quarter of the vote.

PROS REACT TO SANDERS NH VICTORY: Veteran political journalist Ron Brownstein observed, "Once again it seems virtually certain that the winner will capture the smallest percentage of any Democratic winner ever. None of these candidates is big enough to separate from the others" (Howey Politics Indiana). Veteran operative David Axelrod said, "What is striking ... and we saw last week in Iowa as well, Pete Buttigieg runs relatively well across all categories. He does well in different kinds of communities. And he has done a good job of casting a broad message that is hitting a large target."

Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political analyst, put Tuesday's election in perspective: "Two small white states aren’t the alpha and omega this time around." If Biden implodes before South Carolina vote 18 days off, veteran analyst Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal added, "Who wins the African-American vote going forward? No one, other than Biden, has a claim to their support. Bernie has a faction of the activist base, but deeply skeptical he can broaden support."

TRUMP JR. 'HONORED' BY CHANTS OF '46': Donald Trump Jr. said Tuesday that he was incredibly honored after leaving his father's campaign stage in New Hampshire on Monday to chants of "46" (Fox News). Appearing on "Fox & Friends" with hosts Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy, the younger Trump said the experience at his father's rally was "very humbling." However, Trump said that right now his singular focus is his father's 2020 reelection campaign, not on a potential 2024 run to be the nation's 46th president. "I mean, when you look at the accomplishments, the things that he's been able to get done, the things he's been able to get done despite unprecedented resistance...Right? Nothing but resistance," said Trump.

4 STONE PROSECUTORS RESIGN: All four career prosecutors handling the case against Roger Stone, a confidant of President Trump, asked to withdraw from the legal proceedings Tuesday — and one quit his job entirely — after the Justice Department signaled it planned to reduce their sentencing recommendation for the president’s friend (Washington Post). Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors, wrote in a court filing he had resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney, leaving government altogether. Three others — Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando — asked a judge’s permission to leave the case. Zelinsky, a former member of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team, also indicated in a filing he was quitting his special assignment to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, though a spokeswoman said he will remain an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore. None provided a reason for their decisions.

FEDS SIGN OFF ON SOUTH SHORE DOUBLE TRACKING: The South Shore Line's plan to double-track the railroad between Gary and Michigan City has received a major boost from the Federal Transit Administration with advancement of the project to the engineering phase of its Capital Investment Grants program (Steele, NWI Times). The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, operator of the South Shore, announced the decision Tuesday after it was published in the FTA’s "Annual Report on Funding Recommendations." The decision, along with a “medium-high” project rating, allows NICTD to begin the final engineering phase of the Double Track Northwest Indiana project and positioning it to begin negotiations late this year for a New Starts grant that would fund 38% of the project's estimated $416 million capital cost. “We are thrilled to announce that the Double Track Northwest Indiana project has reached this critical milestone in the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program,” NICTD President and CEO Michael Noland, said. “The continued hard work of the project team and the full support of Gov. Holcomb, the Indiana General Assembly, and our Hoosier congressional delegation is reflected in reaching this critical milestone.”

POWELL WARNS CONGRESS OF TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICITS: Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell told Congress on Tuesday that now would be a good time to reduce the federal budget deficit, which is expected to top $1 trillion this year (Washington Post). “Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path when the economy is strong would help ensure that policymakers have the space to use fiscal policy to assist in stabilizing the economy during a downturn,” Powell said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee. In past recessions, the Fed has played a large role in reviving the economy by sharply cutting interest rates. But Powell has been warning lawmakers that the central bank won’t have much ammunition left to fight the next downturn because interest rates are so low (the benchmark rate is just below 1.75 percent, far below rates above 5 percent in the past).

CHINA SEEKS SWAY WITH U.S. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: In May 2019, the FBI quietly formed a new task force aimed at countering China's political influence in the United States. In an exclusive interview with Axios, an FBI official reveals for the first time the bureau's approach to countering China's interference in local and state politics. "This is ultimately a potential systemic challenge to the world order that we've had for the past several decades," the FBI official tells Axios of China's efforts. There's a growing body of evidence that China devotes massive resources to influencing the political environments of foreign countries, including the U.S. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that China is targeting U.S. local and state officials. "For a long time we focused on the federal level," the FBI official said. "But we really have come to understand that the Chinese are playing a long game with the political influence in this country. ... So we have spent a lot more time and energy trying to understand the state and local people-to-people influences going on." China is increasing its efforts to hold sway over cash-strapped local and state governments.

3 YEARS LATER, DELPHI KILLER STILL AT LARGE: Three years ago, two young girls went for a walk. What happened on that unusually warm February day remains a mystery to this day to everyone but Liberty German, Abigail Williams and the man who murdered them (Cox, WRTV). Libby and Abby were dropped off at the trail near Delphi’s scenic Monon High Bridge, an abandoned railroad bridge over Deer Creek. Hours later, when they failed to meet their ride home at that same location it would kick off a series of events that would forever change the tiny town of Delphi, Indiana. Despite having a video, audio and two sketches from potential witnesses in the area, investigators have yet to find the man responsible for their murders. "(We) thought we were going to get the clues that we needed and be done with this in four or five days," ISP Detective Jerry Holeman told RTV6 in 2019. "We realized that this is a totally different type of investigation.” But a killer is still out there. Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley says investigators have interviewed over 1,000 people, including possible witnesses, suspects and anyone who may have information about suspicious activity on the day the girls went missing.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Pete Buttigieg had an impressive showing in New Hampshire, but he didn't win. This campaign changes dramatically with Super Tuesday less than a month away. Sanders raised $25 million in January and will have the funds to compete nationally. The key is whether Mayor Pete can keep up the money pace with Sanders and the bottomless treasure of Michael Bloomberg. Because the Democratic Party doesn't have any "winner take all" states, if Sanders keeps rolling, it may be impossible to stop him because the frontrunner will continue to accumulate delegates. Look for our full analysis on Thursday's weekly HPI. - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

INDIANA BUILDERS ENDORSE HOLCOMB: The Indiana Builders Association (IBA) was joined by Gov. Eric Holcomb at their February board meeting to announce IBA’s commitment to endorsing the governor in his 2020 re-election bid (Howey Politics Indiana). “It is critical that the home building industry support candidates for public office that understand the important role housing plays in Indiana’s overall economy,” said Indiana Builders Association President Brett Harter. “Gov. Holcomb’s success in bringing jobs to our state and making Indiana a desired place to work and live during his tenure has earned the support and respect of our leadership across the state.  It is our honor to endorse his re-election as Indiana’s Governor.” According to Harter, Governor Holcomb’s leadership in Indiana’s long-term infrastructure plan, Next Level Jobs initiative and community rehabilitation efforts make him an ideal candidate for the association. This is the first endorsement ever made by the IBA.

BRAUN TO HEADLINE HENDERSON FUNDRAISER: U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and former state senator Luke Kenley will host a fundraiser for 5th CD Republican candidate Beth Henderson from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday Feb, 17, at the Booth Tarkington House owned by Doris Anne & Tim Sadler, with Nancy and Charlie Hiltunen as co-hosts (Howey Politics Indiana).

OWENS LEFT HIS CEO JOB IN JANUARY: Josh Owens left his job as CEO of local tech firm SupplyKick in early January, in part to focus on his run for governor—an effort he abandoned just weeks later. Owens told IBJ on Tuesday that he hasn’t decided what his next move will be. Last week, Owens announced he was dropping out of the gubernatorial race and throwing his support behind fellow Democrat Woody Myers, clearing the path for the latter to be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Owens announced his decision on Feb. 5—one day after submitting the necessary signatures to qualify to be on the ballot and two days before the deadline to file a candidacy. In a statement, Owens said he talked to Myers and decided the party does not need a divisive primary. Owens joined SupplyKick, which helps its customers sell goods on the Amazon platform, as a consultant in 2015 and became CEO in 2016. “We knew the [Democratic] primary was going to come down to who qualified for the ballot first," Owens said. "It was going to be a sprint. We knew the primary might be decided before May.”

SOUTH BEND ATTORNEY LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR SD10: Local attorney Alex C. Bowman has officially launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Indiana State Senate to represent the voters of District 10 held by Democratic Sen. David Niezgodski (Howey Politics Indiana). The South Bend native formally filed as a candidate on Feb. 6 at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. "Elections should be about choice,” Bowman said about his decision to become the second of only two Democratic candidates vying for the position. “I believe it's always better for the voters to choose their candidates than to have the choice made for them." In announcing his campaign, Bowman said he was keeping a years-old promise he made to himself: That upon earning his law degree he would return to his hometown and be a voice for people in the community that means so much to him. “I am committed to promoting the kind of economic growth and job opportunities in South Bend and Mishawaka that will encourage people to build their lives right here, in the place they already call home,” Bowman said.

Presidential 2020

SANDERS LOWEST PLURALITY WINNER IN NH HISTORY: Sen. Bernier Sanders becomes the first non-incumbent Dem to win NH back-to-back since Sen. Estes Kefauver in '52-'56 (Rudin, NPR). His apparent 2% victory makes it the closest Dem NH primary ever, topping Hillary v Obama in '08; and by finishing with 26%, he is the lowest % winner in NH (Carter had 28.4% in '76).

TRUMP CAMPAIGN ON SANDERS' NH WIN: Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager, said, “The enthusiasm for President Trump among Republicans is through the roof and record-breaking.  The President received more New Hampshire primary votes than any incumbent president running for re-election - of either party - over the past four decades. His vote percentage will also show historic strength when the numbers are final, likely beating the last three incumbent presidents - Clinton, Bush, and Obama - who were successfully re-elected. The intensity of Trump supporters is incredible. On the Democrat side, the alleged excitement was overhyped, probably because their cast of candidates is so uninspiring. We still don’t know who the opponent will be in November, but we do know President Trump will crush whoever it is.”

61% TELL GALLUP THEY'RE BETTER OFF: Sixty-one percent of Americans tell Gallup they are better off than they were three years ago, a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running. In the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, exactly half said they were better off. In three separate measures during the 2012 election cycle, an average of 45% said they were better off. The current results, from a Jan. 16-29 Gallup poll, echo record highs, measured earlier in January, in Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in their personal life and in their assessments of their personal finances.

FOX NEWS HAS BEST RATINGS SINCE TRUMP ELECTED: The week President Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial was Fox News Channel’s best in the ratings since the weeks he was elected and inaugurated (AP). The Nielsen company said Fox News averaged 4.27 million viewers in prime time last week, better than any network except for ABC, which televised the Academy Awards, and CBS. It was the fifth most-watched week ever for Fox’s prime-time schedule, and highest since election week 2016, Nielsen said. The only other times Fox topped that mark came during two weeks in March 2003, during the Iraq War, and the August week in 2015 when the network showed the year’s first Republican debate — the first one Trump participated in.

KLOBUCHAR CELEBRATES; BIDEN MOVES ON: Sen. Amy Klobuchar celebrated her third place finish, but will probably lack the resources to compete effectively in the Super Tuesday states unless she picks up Biden and Warren supporters in Nevada and South Carolina. "We love you New Hampshire," Klobuchar said (Howey Politics Indiana). "I love America and I will beat Donald Trump. We have beaten the odds every step of the way." Joe Biden, who has has run for president three times and has never won a primary or caucus, said from South Carolina, "We just heard from the first two of 50 states. Two of them. Not all the nation, not half the nation … two. Now where I come from, that's the opening bell not the closing bell."

BUTTIGIEG SAYS NH WIN WILL BE BOOST WITH MINORITIES: Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg suggested Tuesday that strong showings in the Democratic primary’s early states would boost his still-flagging support among voters of color, whom the former South Bend, Ind., mayor repeatedly characterized as “laser-focused“ on defeating President Donald Trump (Politico). “A big part of what’s happening right now is that voters of color who are laser-focused on defeating this president, more than anything else, want to know that you can actually win,” the former South Bend, Ind., mayor said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show that aired Tuesday, as voters headed to the polls in New Hampshire’s primary. “The process of proving that has only really been underway for the last few days, after a year of campaigning, proposing, talking,” Buttigieg continued. “And that, I believe, is getting us the look that we now need as we will travel directly to states like Nevada, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states that have a lot of racial diversity and where we can make that case eye-to-eye.“

SEN. GRAHAM COMPLIMENTS BUTTIGIEG: On the day of the New Hampshire primary election, both former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), spoke briefly about former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has consistently polled second in New Hampshire. Speaking with WIBC's Tony Katz in Manchester, Graham said he likes "Mayor Pete", but doesn't believe he has what it takes to defeat President Trump in a general election. "I like Pres. Trump's chances against any Democrat, but I will say I'm incredibly impressed with Mayor Pete," said Graham. "He's very articulate, has a centrist streak on national security, which I like. But, at the end of the day Pres. Trump's record of accomplishment is gonna overwhelm any Democrat." Graham was also asked about how he feels about Buttigieg's faith, to which the former mayor has frequently referred in his campaign. "I don't question anybody's faith," he said. "If you're a social conservative, I think you'd be pleased with Pres. Trump as president. From my point of view the policies of this president have been very pro-family and he's gonna win because he's been a good president fiscally, socially and national security-wise."

BUTTIGIEG SCHEDULE: On Thursday, Pete Buttigieg will speak at the LULAC Presidential Town Hall in Las Vegas (Howey Politics Indiana). On Friday, Pete will livestream into the Faith in Action’s 2020 National Faith Forum, host a town hall in Sacramento, and attend the Rhapsody in Blue Democratic Dinner in Turlock. On Saturday, Pete will join the Clark County Democratic Party’s “Kick Off To Caucus” Event. And on Sunday, Pete will participate in the United for Infrastructure’s Moving America Forward forum. Additional stops will be announced in the coming days.

BLOOMBERG STATEMENT ON STOP & FRISK: Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg released this statement on Tuesday (Howey Politics Indiana): "President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans. I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused. By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities. But this issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity. I believe we need to end mass incarceration and during my tenure we reduced incarceration by 40% and juvenile confinement by more than 60%. We created the Young Men's Initiative to help young men of color stay on track for success, which President Obama built on to create My Brother's Keeper.  And we overhauled a school system that had been neglecting and underfunding schools in Black and Latino communities for too long. In contrast, President Trump inherited a country marching towards greater equality and divided us with racist appeals and hateful rhetoric. The challenge of the moment is clear: we must confront this President and do everything we can to defeat him. Between now and November, I will do everything I can to defeat you whether I am on the ballot or not.”

YANG DROPS OUT ...:  Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur with no previous political experience who evangelized a universal basic income and warned of the perils of automation, ended his longer-than-long-shot bid for president on Tuesday night after a yearslong campaign that endured even as those of members of Congress and governors fell away (New York Times). Speaking to supporters inside a ballroom in Manchester, N.H., as the state’s primary results were coming in, Mr. Yang said “endings are hard” and that he had intended to stay in the race until the end.c“I am the math guy, and it’s clear from the numbers we’re not going to win this campaign,” he said. “So tonight I’m announcing that I am suspending my campaign.”

... SO DOES BENNET: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who campaigned for president on a promise to fix a broken Washington, ended his bid for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday after a dismal showing in the New Hampshire primary (New York Times). Mr. Bennet had staked all his hopes on New Hampshire, holding 50 town hall events there in the 10 weeks leading up to the primary and campaigning exclusively there in the final stretch, even on the night of the Iowa caucuses.

PENCE IN SC ON THURSDAY: Vice President Mike Pence will visit South Carolina on Thursday, according to a news release (FoxCarolina). Pence will attend a “Trump Victory luncheon” in Columbia before heading to Charleston where he will speak to the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at the Citadel and participate in a Citadel Republican Society Patriot Dinner.



General Assembly

HAMILTON PROSECUTOR TESTIFIES ON SB206: Hamilton County Prosecutor Lee Buckingham appeared before the Indiana House Judiciary Committee on Monday to testify in favor of Senate Bill 206, a bill protecting child sexual assault victims from being re-traumatized by depositions (Howey Politics Indiana). SB 206 eliminates discovery depositions for child victims of sexual assault. For victims of these heinous crimes, re-telling the experience over and over in a deposition, sometimes with the defendant in the room with them, is incredibly difficult. The bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support in the Indiana Senate, passing 49-1. The bill, authored by Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, and sponsored by Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, attempts to alleviate that trauma for the state’s most vulnerable and bring Indiana on par with 45 other states and the Federal judicial system. Indiana is one of only five states in the nation with unfettered access to depositions. “What these child victims have to go through, it’s very difficult,” Buckingham told the committee. “Eliminating the deposition, in my estimation, would be a huge step forward and help alleviate some of the trauma they experience.” Defendants would still have access to the victim’s forensic interview, which are conducted by a trained professional and video recorded, and the right to confrontation in a trial, as provided in both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. Messmer is joined on the bill by Republican Sens. Mike Young and Linda Rodgers as well as Democrat Sens. Lonnie Randolph and Tim Lanane.

2 BILLS DEAL WITH PESTICIDE MISUSE: Two bills working their way through the Indiana legislature would increase penalties for farmers and others who misuse pesticides. One aim of the legislation is to stop a controversial weed killer from drifting off of fields and killing neighboring crops (Thiele, Indiana Public Media). The state has gotten so many complaints about dicamba drift that farmers must stop applying certain dicamba products on soybeans starting June 20. Jeff Cummins is the associate director for policy engagement with Indiana Farm Bureau. He says the proposed bills would increase the maximum penalties for misusing all kinds of pesticides — something that hasn’t been done in decades. “Making sure that we don't lose access to those products. Because there are too many bad actors that are operating and paying the current level of civil penalties just as a cost of doing business,” Cummins says.

AMBULANCE COMPANIES CONCERNED ABOUT BILL: A bill under consideration by state lawmakers aims to cut down on surprise medical costs (WPTA-TV). But ambulance providers say some of the wording in the bill could ultimately put them out of business. No one likes medical bills, including after a ride in an ambulance. And a measure that passed the state house and now heads to the senate is designed to cut down on surprise medical bills. It includes a provision that if an ambulance takes someone to a hospital that's in-network for that patient's insurance company, it limits how much the ambulance company can bill for that service. "We try to keep our rates as low as possible for all of our residents, all of our patients, and by signing with a particular insurance company or insurance companies simply causes cost shifts to those who don't have those insurance companies," Gary Booher of the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority said.

LEGISLATORS TO HOST GARY TOWN HALL: State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) and co-hosts State Reps. Ragen Hatcher (D-Gary) and Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) and State Senators Eddie Melton (D-Gary) and Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) will conduct a town hall meeting at 12 p.m. CST on Saturday, February 15, at the Glen Theatre, 20 W Ridge Rd, Gary.

Congress

EMMERT APPEALS TO SENATE ON ATHLETE PAY: NCAA President Mark Emmert on Tuesday urged Congress to step in and put restrictions on college athletes’ ability to earn money from endorsements, telling a Senate committee that federal action was needed to “maintain uniform standards in college sports” amid player-friendly laws approved in California and under consideration in other states (AP). The Indianapolis-based NCAA last fall said it would allow players to “benefit” from the use of their name, image and likeness and is working on new rules that it plans to reveal in April. Under the NCAA’s timeline, athletes would be able to take advantage of endorsement opportunities beginning next January.

YOUNG HIGHLIGHTS STRONG ECONOMY: U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) highlighted the strong economy during the Senate Republican leadership press conference (Howey Politics Indiana). “On Friday, we received yet another strong jobs report. As some of my colleagues mentioned, 225,000 jobs created in January, wages continue to grow, labor force participation remains high, people are optimistic about their futures. They’re happy – they’re happy with this free enterprise as opposed to free stuff agenda. Tax relief, regulatory reform, and our trade deals like USMCA are kicking in and people are optimistic about the future. This Republican controlled United States Senate will continue to work with this President on the people’s agenda so that all of America can enjoy the fruits of prosperity,” said Senator Young.

State

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB 'HELL BENT' ON PREGNACY PROTECTIONS - Gov. Holcomb says he's "hell-bent" on passing workplace protections for pregnant women, despite a setback in the legislature. (Berman, WIBC) If you're pregnant or have just given birth, federal regulations require your workplace to make "reasonable" accommodations for you. Holcomb has called for more specific state protections. Lafayette Senator Ron Alting's bill listed a dozen potential steps, from less standing and lifting to modified uniforms and more frequent breaks. But Senate Republicans worry the list of special accommodations could prove endless. All but five Republicans voted to turn the proposal into a study of the issue. A similar bill in the House didn't even get a hearing.  Holcomb says he didn't do a good enough job of explaining the bill to legislators. He says he's still working to push the bill through, lobbying legislators one-on-one and in small groups. He says 27 other states have similar laws, and says some of those governors have told him they encountered the same objections.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH TO VISIT EVANSVILLE RESTAURANT - Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch will be visiting the Evansville airport restaurant, The Iron Compass, on Friday, February 14, to meet with the owner and see firsthand the success of her business (Howey Politics Indiana). The owner, Ayse Schablik, is originally from Turkey but came to America for school after her family lost everything in an earthquake. She now lives in Evansville with her family and owns and operates The Iron Compass.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL SUES NON-PROFIT - Following a months-long investigation, Attorney General Curtis Hill this week took legal action against a Charlestown-based nonprofit organization called Wildlife in Need (WIN) that claims to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife before returning animals to their native habitats (Howey Politics Indiana). In reality, Attorney General Hill alleges, under WIN director Timothy Stark’s guidance, the nonprofit organization has a history of abusing animals, neglecting to provide basic necessities to animals, and forcing animals to live in deplorable conditions. Further, contrary to its stated purpose as a nonprofit corporation, WIN allegedly has failed to return animals to their native habitats and misapplied assets purportedly collected for animal care. “This organization claims to promote the best interests of animals when evidence indicates the exact opposite is happening,” Attorney General Hill said. “Generous Hoosiers who have contributed money to Wildlife in Need deserve to know the truth.” In a lawsuit against WIN, Attorney General Hill asks a court to dissolve the nonprofit organization and to provide other remedies under Indiana’s Nonprofit Corporation Act and Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL SEEKS TO DENY TANOOS TRIAL PETITION - The Indiana Attorney General has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to deny the petition of former Vigo County schools Superintendent Danny Tanoos asking for review of the bribery charges pending against him in Marion County (Trigg, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). In a petition filed Monday, Chief Counsel of Appeals Stephen R. Creason said the denial of the Indiana Appeals Court to hear Tanoos' appeal was proper because Tanoos is properly charged with bribery according to Indiana law. The 18-page petition argues the Marion Superior Court 4 did not err when it denied Tanoos' motion to dismiss the three bribery charges filed in September 2018. The appeals court affirmed that lower court decision. The petition says the Supreme Court should deny the transfer because the case “does not present any significant questions of law” to be decided.

EDUCATION: LUBBERS ADDRESSES AIMS - Jóse Goméz Márquez came to America from Peru in 2003, eventually settling in Indiana with the hope of a better life. He soon realized he would need more education to realize his dream. Inspired by his children, Marquez pursued his education through the Next Level Jobs program (Carney, Statehouse File). Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for Higher Education, cited Marquez as an example of the goals of her department’s strategy to provide opportunities for Hoosiers to improve their skills that lead to better jobs. His was on several stories she cited as she delivered her annual State of Higher Education address Tuesday at the Statehouse. Marquez, she said, completed his certificate in supply chain management and is currently continuing his education as he works toward an associate degree. She spoke confidently of Indiana’s big goal for at least 60% of Hoosiers to have a quality credential beyond a high school diploma by 2025 and she described three action priorities—completion, equity and talent. “No longer can we assume that completion is tied to a singular credential,” Lubbers said. “The new economy will demand educational upgrades throughout life, and higher education must be more agile and relevant to meet this need.”

EDUCATION: ISU ATTRACTS MOST 21st CENTURY SCHOLARS - On Tuesday, the Commission for Higher Education conducted a 21st Century Scholars Day at the Statehouse, in celebration of the program’s 30th anniversary. The program is designed to give low-income Hoosier youth four years of paid college tuition, if they maintain good grades and stay out of trouble (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Commission numbers from 2018 show ISU with the heaviest concentration of 21st Century Scholars among the state’s largest four-year campuses. Thirty-one percent of ISU’s in-state undergraduate students were in the program, topping numbers from Ball State, IUPUI, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Purdue University in West Lafayette. A total of 1,832 of ISU’s overall student body of 13,405 students were 21st Century Scholars in 2018. “That’s a significant number,” Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education, said recently. “ISU leaders have clearly taken that on as a part of their mission.”

Nation

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SEEKS MILITARY DISCIPLINE FOR VINDMAN - President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the military will likely look at disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, just days after the National Security Council official was ousted from the White House after giving damaging testimony during the House impeachment hearings (Politico). “That’s going to be up to the military, we’ll have to see, but if you look at what happened, they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that,” Trump said in response to a follow-up question about what he meant when he said, “the military can handle him.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP'S WAR WITH DEEP STATE TAKES NEW TURNS - As far as President Trump is concerned, banishing Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman from the White House and exiling him back to the Pentagon was not enough. If he had his way, the commander in chief made clear on Tuesday, the Defense Department would now take action against the colonel, too (Baker, New York Times). “That’s going to be up to the military,” Mr. Trump told reporters who asked whether Colonel Vindman should face disciplinary action after testifying in the House hearings that led to the president’s impeachment. “But if you look at what happened,” Mr. Trump added in threatening terms, “I mean they’re going to, certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that.” This is an unsettled time in Mr. Trump’s Washington. In the days since he was acquitted in a Senate trial, an aggrieved and unbound president has sought to even the scales as he sees it. Colonel Vindman was abruptly marched by security out of the White House, an ambassador who also testified in the House hearings was summarily dismissed, and senior Justice Department officials on Tuesday intervened on behalf of Mr. Trump’s convicted friend, Roger J. Stone Jr., leading four career prosecutors to quit the case.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE HECKLED IN NH - A number of liberal Jews heckled Vice President Mike Pence while he was at a campaign event in New Hampshire (Washington Examiner). Pence, 60, was speaking at a Cops for Trump event with the New England Police Benevolent Association on Monday when a group of people interrupted him and began screaming, "Trump endangers Jews!" The three protesters held up a sign that was ripped away from them by a fellow attendee, and they were forcibly removed from the building following the disruption. “Our community is terrified of the white national violence you are inciting," one shouted as they were being removed from the crowd.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE SWEARS IN LISA HERSHMAN - Vice President Mike Pence swore in Lisa Hershman as chief management officer at the Department of Defense (Howey Politics Indiana). Pence tweeted, "Lisa is the highest-ranking woman at the Department and we know she will to make our Nation proud!" She is the wife of former state senator Brandt Hershman.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump will have lunch with VP Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m. in the private dining room. Trump and first lady Melania Trump will participate in the arrival of Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno and his wife, Rocío González de Moreno, at 2:15 p.m. in the South Portico. The foursome will meet in the Oval Office at 2:25 p.m. Afterward, Trump and Moreno will participate in an expanded bilateral meeting in the Oval Office.

EDUCATION: TEACHER UNIONS WARY OF ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILLS - The nation’s two largest teachers unions want schools to revise or eliminate active shooter drills, asserting Tuesday that they can harm students’ mental health and that there are better ways to prepare for the possibility of a school shooting (AP). The American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association joined with the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund in calling for an end to unannounced drills or drills that simulate gun violence. “Everywhere I travel, I hear from parents and educators about active shooter drills terrifying students, leaving them unable to concentrate in the classroom and unable to sleep at night,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association. “So traumatizing students as we work to keep students safe from gun violence is not the answer. That is why if schools are going to do drills, they need to take steps to ensure the drills do more good than harm.”

Local

INDIANAPOLIS: IMPD SETS UP HOMICIDE TIP LINE - Indy Metro Police are hoping a temporary tip line will help investigators gather information on recent unsolved murders (WIBC). The line is staffed by members of the IMPD Homicide Unit. For 48 hours, beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday, police will be waiting to collect tips on two recent unsolved cases: Subway homicide at 7401 Shadeland Avenue; Quadruple murder at Carriage House East Apartments, 4100 Shady Oak Drive. Please call the tip line at 317-327-3475 if you have any information about these or other unsolved murders. Tips can also be left with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL SET TO VOTE ON DISORDERLY HOME ORDINANCE - Fort Wayne City Council voted to approve a Disorderly Houses ordinance Tuesday evening. The ordinance was presented to the council two weeks ago, and after nearly two hours of discussion, the group decided to wait to vote on the ordinance. Three amendments came during that session, and four more were approved Tuesday evening before the final vote was 8 for and 1 against (WANE-TV). Republican Jason Arp was the only council member to vote against the ordinance. “There was some nervousness because of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) and how the city could get sued,” said Council president and co-sponsor of the ordinance, Tom Didier. If approved by Mayor Henry, Fort Wayne Police will have the right to issue a citation and the homeowner will have to go to court, where a judge will rule if the conduct was disorderly.

FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL TO MEMORIALIZE MLK VISIT TO CITY - Fort Wayne City Council approved a plan to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 visit to Fort Wayne (WANE-TV). The plan is to build a memorial with input from several local historic and art groups. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Michelle Chambers and Councilman Russ Jehl Tuesday and heard from members of the MLK Club as well as a spokesman for the NAACP.

FORT WAYNE: ALLEGIANT TO FLY NON-STOP TO VEGAS - Allegiant Airlines will add new service from Fort Wayne to Las Vegas beginning in June, the company said on Tuesday (WPTA-TV). The nonstop route will be in place seasonally and adds to the growing number of cities served by the carrier from Fort Wayne International Airport. It will be the 14th city with direct flights from the four major airlines at FWA. The new flight was among nine nonstop routes announced by Allegiant. "With summer quickly approaching, we know that many leisure travelers are looking to secure their vacation plans," said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. "These new routes expand our network of affordable, convenient flights and offer vacationers nonstop access to even more popular destinations for their summer adventures." The company said one-way tickets will start at $49.

FORT WAYNE: PROTECTIVE NETTING COMING TO PARKVIEW FIELD - Protective netting that currently runs along the first and third base lines will be extended into the outfield to increase fan safety at TinCaps games this season (WPTA-TV). The team on Monday announced the change would be implemented in time for Opening Day. “Fan experience is our number one priority. Keeping people safe while they enjoy a TinCaps game should always be a part of that experience," General Manager Mike Nutter said via tweet.

PORTAGE: SNYDER'S TRIAL MOVED TO APRIL - A federal judge is giving prosecution and defense attorneys an additional month to prepare for the next public corruption trial of former Portage Mayor James Snyder (Dolan, NWI Times). U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann reset the beginning of Snyder’s jury trial on a bribery count from March 23 to April 27. Both the government and Snyder’s defense team requested the additional time to prepare, and the judge agreed a delay was needed. Snyder is pleading not guilty to allegations he solicited a bribe from the former owners of a Portage trucking sale firm in return for steering the city of Portage to buy a used truck from that firm for garbage collection.

LAKE COUNTY: RECORDER BROWN ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY - Democratic and Republican Lake County leaders agreed Tuesday it's long past time for Democratic County Recorder Michael B. Brown to resign his office (Carden, NWI Times). Brown was arrested Monday afternoon at his Lake Station home on multiple felony domestic violence charges alleging Brown battered and violently shook his pregnant girlfriend on multiple occasions, including shortly before she gave birth. Under state law, if Brown is convicted of a felony, he automatically and immediately would lose his elected office. However, state law also permits Brown to remain in office until he's convicted — even if he's locked up in the county jail awaiting trial. Last year, Hamm joined all the members of the Lake County Council in looking at options for removing Brown from office — including reducing Brown's salary to $1 for the year — after the council discovered Brown largely stopped coming to work after he was sued in 2017 by a former subordinate for sexual harassment. The county paid $185,000 to settle that lawsuit in October 2018.

LAKE COUNTY: DERNULC, HAMM CALL FOR BROWN TO RESIGN - Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, said it's unfortunate there are no efficient mechanisms for removing an ineffective and indifferent elected official from office, so he said it's now up to Brown "to do the right thing" (NWI Times). "Mike Brown needs to resign. He needs to resign," Dernulc said. "Because this is a stain on every elected official that serves in an honest way by always putting their constituents and taxpayers first. "That's what Mike Brown is not doing. He needs to go." Lake County Councilman David Hamm, D-Hammond, said he wouldn't be surprised if Brown tries to hang on to his post until his second, four-year term expires at the end of the year. Though Hamm said if he was in Brown's shoes, he absolutely would resign. "I understand that he's only been charged. He hasn't been convicted. But people need to trust in their elected officials," Hamm said. "In this instance, because of the past, I feel the appropriate thing would be for him to resign his position."

KENDALLVILLE: LEARNING CENTER GETS $1M GRANT - Kendallville’s Community Learning Center is getting a financial boost from a regional development board (KPC News). The Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority recommended Regional Cities Initiative funding for four projects in northeast Indiana on Tuesday, including the Community Learning Center. The CLC project is a $1.05 million effort to complete renovation of the auditorium as well as the reception room across the hall from the theater space. The regional development authority pledged $183,000 toward the total cost of $1,052,009.

VALPARAISO: COPS TOLD REVENGE PORN CASE COULD BE DROPPED - The Valparaiso Police Department has been notified that a lawsuit could be on its way from a Virginia woman who had been charged under Indiana's new revenge porn law until her case was dropped last month (Kasarda, NWI Times). Kathy Browne targeted the department and Sgt. Stephen Kobitz, as well as a Valparaiso woman, with the tort claim, saying a suit could claim false arrest and imprisonment, submission of a false charging document, violation of constitutional rights, malicious prosecution and emotional distress. Browne had faced a misdemeanor count of distribution of an intimate image, based on allegations she obtained explicit photographs and sent them to the local woman, along with threats of providing the photos to her children's school, Porter County court records state.

PORTER COUNTY: VOTEMOBILE VOTE DELAYED - The proposal to buy a votemobile for Porter County was left spinning its wheels Tuesday (Ross, NWI Times). The proposal is expected to resurface at next Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting after it failed to get enough votes at this week’s special meeting to approve the $70,000 purchase of a V-Line type of bus for county election officials. Board of Commissioners President Jeff Good, R-Center, was absent Tuesday, which left a stalemate when Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, failed to second the motion by Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South. The board has three members. Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey said afterward she was typing up a request to have the purchase appear on the commissioners’ agenda next week. The county Election Board and County Council had already approved the purchase.

A natural disaster can strike at any moment, and Howard County wants to be better prepared (CBS4). "We’re kind of unique in that fact we’ve had some pretty major disasters in the last six, seven years. When you look at the situation we had with the snow storm and the cold, the flooding and two tornadoes, we have a lot of experience to draw upon," Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman said. The new group is the Community Organization Active in Disaster Group. "Under our plan, the committee that’s working on that will already have buildings identified and be ready to receive those goods right away. As oppose to if the disaster happened, we would have to go out and find space," Wyman said.

STEUBEN COUNTY: RAISES FOR DEPUTY PROSECUTORS - Steuben County’s deputy prosecutors were granted raises by the Steuben County Council on Tuesday (KPC News). Working with a rare five-member board due to the usual seven due to absences of Council President Rick Shipe and Council Member Dan Caruso, the council passed pay increases for Ryan Frey and David Brown. Brown will receive a raise of $4,500 and Frey $5,400 to bring them both to $70,000 annually.

VANDERBURGH COUNTY: EEOC SUIT FILED AGAINST PROSECUTOR - The woman claiming she was sexual harassed by Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann has officially filed suit (WFIE-TV). Last year, Samantha Merideth filed a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office says the complaint was dismissed by the EEOC in November. Now, a complaint has been filed in U.S. District Court. Merideth is asking for a jury trial. No criminal charges have been filed against Hermann.