BUTTIGIEG HEADING TO IOWA THIS WEEK: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is heading to Iowa this week to continue his exploration of a Democratic presidential candidacy (Howey Politics Indiana). On Friday he will conduct a meet and greet at the Cafe Diem in Ames, another at Iowa State University, a third at the Drake Community Library in Grinnell and, at 6:15 p.m., another at Ankeny. On Saturday, he will head to Johnston for a 10:30 a.m. house party hosted by the Syroka Family. Buttigieg kicked off his exploratory committee in January, spoke at the U.S. Conference of Mayors just prior to the death of his 71-year-old father, Joseph. He appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. This is a return to the Hawkeye State. In December he spoke at a Progress Iowa event as a prelude to his exploratory committee.

DONNELLY TO TEACH AT NOTRE DAME: Former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is heading back to his alma mater (WSBT-TV). Donnelly has accepted a part-time position at Notre Dame. The University said it asked Donnelly to teach as part of its efforts to incorporate real-world experience into political science and global affairs classes. Donnelly earned his undergrad and law degrees from Notre Dame.

TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE SUBPOENAED - President Trump’s inaugural committee on Monday received a subpoena for documents from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which last year opened a criminal investigation into how the fund raised and spent more than $100 million on 2017 inauguration festivities, according to people familiar with the matter (Wall Street Journal). Robert Grand, firm managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, was announced as one of 17 finance vice-chairs of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the IBJ reported in 2016. No one who worked for the committee has been accused of wrongdoing, and a subpoena is an initial step in the inquiry (New York Times). Mr. Barrack and other inaugural committee officials are not named in it. The subpoena requests documents related to the committee’s donors and spending, according to a copy viewed by The Wall Street Journal, including communications about payments made directly by donors to vendors—which would flout disclosure rules. Federal prosecutors are also seeking documents related to a Los Angeles financier who gave $900,000 to the committee through his private-equity firm and once registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of the Sri Lankan government. A spokeswoman for the committee said in a statement Monday evening: “We have just received a subpoena for documents. While we are still reviewing the subpoena, it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.” The subpoena escalates the inquiry into the Trump inaugural committee, which involved several of the president’s biggest campaign backers, and is one of several investigations into Mr. Trump’s associates.

30M AMERICANS DON'T KNOW PENCE: Sure, about 40 percent of American adults say they approve of President Trump in the newest CNN poll out Monday. But that's nothing new. A more intriguing data point is that 12 percent of American adults say they've "never heard of" Vice President Mike Pence, as CNN's Ryan Struyk noted from the poll (The Week). By the most recent census estimates, that's 30,387,311 fully grown adults who are unaware of the second most powerful politician in the country. Pence's forgettable status isn't a result of some mass amnesia — the portion of CNN poll respondents who say they don't know Pence has generally hovered around 10 percent since he first entered office. Meanwhile, a record low percentage of respondents — 5 percent — say they've never heard of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

SEN. WALKER BILL WOULD REQUIRE VOTE PAPER TRAIL: A bill that would require counties using electronic voting systems to also maintain a paper trail is moving forward at the Indiana General Assembly (Erdody, IBJ). Senate Bill 570, authored by Columbus Republican Greg Walker, would require counties to have a voter-verifiable paper trail in addition to any electronic system the county uses. Indiana Election Division Co-Director Brad King said a voter-verifiable paper trail would work much the way an ATM generates a paper receipt to reflect a transaction. He said about half of Indiana counties already have such systems. But those who don't use the systems already could face costly upgrades. Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps, who testified last week on behalf of the Association of Clerks of Circuit Courts of Indiana, said it could cost a county between $80,000 and more than $1 million, depending on its size. Phelps received information from 30 counties and said, in total, those governments would have to spend a total of $4.4 million to upgrade their systems. King said federal dollars could be available to help with the upgrades, but the amount of funding that could be available or the timing of its disbursement is unknown. The Senate Elections Committee amended the bill on Monday to delay the requirement so that it would take effect in 2024, instead of 2022. “I think there’s still some question about funding,” Walker said. “They’ve got five years to come up with the means.” The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

REDISTRICTING REFORM URGED: Standing shoulder-to-shoulder before the Senate Elections Committee, members of the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting urged lawmakers on Monday to approve new standards for the way they draw maps for the state's legislative and congressional seats (Irish, Statehouse File). “Gerrymandering is no longer an art. It is a science,” said 17-year-old Christian Omoruyi, a senior at Columbus East High School. “Politicians have surgically manipulated district boundaries to ingratiate themselves with the kulaks of the party machine.” Senate Bill 105, authored by Elections Chair Greg Walker, R-Columbus, would establish a series of standards lawmakers would use to redraw district lines following population reapportionment, which occurs each decade after the completion of the U.S. Census. Should SB 105 become law, it would require congressional and state legislative redistricting processes to consider how districts reflect minority voices and to minimize divisions in neighborhoods, public school corporations and other entities that would share common interests. It also forces legislators to publicly disclose any deviation from these standards. But advocates for tighter redistricting rules say the measure ultimately fails to promote comprehensive reform, considering the General Assembly would still oversee district map development and approval.

REFORM ADVOCATES FAVOR SB91, BUT NO HEARING SCHEDULED: Reform advocates including Julia Vaughn and Omoruyi pointed to Senate Bill 91, authored by Sens. John Ruckelshaus, R-Indianapolis; Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores; and Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, as the Legislature’s best chance at putting control in the hands of the public (Statehouse File). That bill would establish a nine-member commission tasked with redistricting, consisting of four members appointed by legislative leadership and five members of the general public, who would be subject to an application process before receiving a seat on the commission. That bill has not been scheduled for a hearing. “Redistricting reform is a two-part equation, and redistricting standards are only one part of it,” Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, testified. She said a citizen’s commission is the best way to ensure redistricting is fair and representative of all voters.

HOLCOMB ANNOUNCES STATE CREDIT RATING STILL AT AAA: Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that Indiana has maintained its AAA credit ratings from all three credit agencies: Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings (Howey Politics Indiana). "These ratings are evident of Indiana's consistent fiscal integrity, and the hallmark indicator of being good stewards of Hoosier tax dollars," Holcomb said. "Maintaining our AAA credit ratings, having a balanced budget and continuing to have strong reserves are all key to keeping our economy growing." The credit agencies cited Indiana's "active budget management, with practices that have been consistently applied to maintain sound reserve levels, including the administration's willingness to use its power to align appropriations with conservative revenue estimates and implement a lower cost structure," (S&P) and the state's strong fiscal governance that "affords the state significant flexibility to be able to successfully weather future economic downturns," (Moody's) as reasons for affirming their AAA credit ratings. Credit ratings reflect how responsibly the state manages debt and are a factor in determining the state’s interest rates. Since 2010, Indiana has held AAA ratings from all three agencies, the highest rating assigned by the independent agencies. Only 12 states hold a AAA rating from all three agencies.

WILL TONIGHT'S SOTU BE TELEPROMPTER TRUMP OR TWITTER TRUMP? President Donald Trump may be the most untraditional president in modern history, but he has taken a strikingly traditional approach to that most presidential of rituals — speaking to Congress (Politico). In each of the past two years, Trump has delivered a lofty, optimistic annual message on Capitol Hill, reading dutifully from a Teleprompter and setting aside his personal insults, attacks on the media, even his rambling boasts. His aides are suggesting that this year will be much the same. But this year’s State of the Union Tuesday could present an especially jarring contrast with the realities of Trump’s presidency. Trump will speak amid a protracted battle with Congressional Democrats over his demand for $5.7 billion to build a Mexican border wall. “I don't take anything off the table…” he told CBS News in an interview that aired Sunday. “We're going to have a strong border. And the only way you have a strong border is you need a physical barrier. You need a wall. And anybody that says you don't, they're just playing games.” Moreover, anything Trump says on Tuesday may have a short life span. His last two speeches to Congress — his 2018 State of the Union address and a February 2017 speech to Congress soon after his inauguration — were both appeals to bipartisan unity. But in each case, Trump quickly returned to incendiary rhetoric and undertook little outreach to Democrats.

INDYSTAR RAISES HUPFER CONFLICT OF INTEREST CONCERNS: The involvement of two prominent Indiana Republicans in a deal to purchase a chain of liquor stores has raised conflict of interest concerns. The Indianapolis Star reports that state GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Indianapolis Business Journal co-owner Nate Feltman are minority partners with Indiana Liquor Group in a deal to purchase Save-on Liquor. Business leaders and political experts fear that the move has strengthened the liquor lobby and that Republican lawmakers will advance legislation favoring the industry to help their political allies. Hupfer and Feltman say they don’t plan to push for legislation to favor the business. There are no laws saying Hupfer can’t have private investments. Hupfer noted that he’s not an elected official and doesn’t make any policies. Feltman says he hasn’t been directly involved with the Statehouse in over a decade.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The atrophied IndyStar raises the question of Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer might have a "conflict of interest" for buying into a liquor store chain. It's really a ridiculous assertion to make. Hoosier party chairs in both major parties have come from an array of business concerns - banking, insurance, construction, retail, law - and in my four decades of covering Indiana politics, never has a chair been accused of a conflict of interest. This story is a classic nothingburger. - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

CRITCHLOW CAMPAIGN KICKOFF TONIGHT: South Bend Democratic mayoral candidate Jason Critchlow kicks off his campaign at 5 tonight at CJ's Pub, 236 S. Michigan St. (Howey Politics Indiana). The event had been postponed due to the polar vortex last week. The event sponsors include Ryan and Mike Dvorak, Hodge Patel, John Voorde among others.

BAILEY ENTERS MUNCIE MAYORAL RACE: Terry Whitt Bailey, the city of Muncie's Community Development director, has announced she intends to file to run for mayor. She would be the ninth candidate in the mayoral race (Olhenkamp, Muncie Star Press). Bailey told The Star Press she had never considered running until after current Mayor Dennis Tyler announced on Jan. 11 that he would not seek reelection. The weekend after that announcement, Bailey said she began getting asked repeatedly about running, and she began to give it sincere consideration. What finally convinced her was speaking with her husband and mother, both of whom gave her full support in her bid. “Because the two people closest to me were supportive, I knew I’d be just fine,” Bailey said. Bailey plans to hold an election campaign kickoff at 5 p.m. Thursday at Vera Mae’s Bistro. In other election filing news, Republican candidate Steve Smith withdrew from the mayor's race. Tom Bracken, a Ball State Board of Trustee member who announced his intention to run last week, officially filed at the Delaware County Clerk’s office today as a Republican. Democrat Saul Riley has also entered the mayor's race. This brings the mayoral race up to eight candidates, four Republicans and four Democrats.

WINNECKE CAMPAIGN AIDE GETS DUI: One of two full-time employees of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke's re-election campaign was arrested on a drunken driving charge Sunday night (Evansville Courier & Press). Conner John Ortman, 25, whose Facebook and LinkedIn pages identify him as the Winnecke campaign's political director, was booked into the Vanderburgh County Detention Center at 12:20 a.m. Monday.  Evansville Police Department officers were dispatched to the 400 block of South Alvord Boulevard, where a caller reported a silver Kia Forte had been in the roadway, with its ignition running, for more than an hour. Ortman was in the driver's seat asleep in a reclined position, according to an affidavit. Police said Ortman admitted he had been drinking. A portable breath test showed Ortman's blood-alcohol content to be .132. A chemical test administered later showed a level of .159. The legal limit is .08.

CHRISTIE WON'T RULE OUT 2024 RUN: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said he isn't ruling out a presidential run in 2024, adding that he would only do it if he could "see a pathway to victory" (Politico) Christie, who is promoting his new book "Let Me Finish," said during an interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt that he hasn't "ruled out anything in terms of my political future," including another run for the White House. "Yeah, listen, why not? I’m 56 years old, so you have to see," he said during the interview. "One thing, you know me, Hugh. I would not do it if I couldn’t see a pathway to victory." When asked whether he believes he can beat Vice President Mike Pence if he decides to run in 2024, Christie said he thinks "it's possible to beat anybody."

40% OF REPUBLICANS IN MONMOUTH POLL WANT TRUMP CHALLENGER: More than 40 percent of Republicans want to see President Trump face a GOP challenger in the primary before the 2020 election, according to a new poll (The Hill). Forty-three percent of Republicans in the poll conducted by Monmouth University said they want to see a contested primary. Forty-nine percent of Republican respondents said they hope Trump will run unopposed. Even with a sizable portion saying they would like to see a Republican challenge the sitting president, the poll found that Trump would likely defeat any potential foe.

BOOKER URGES NORTHAM TO RESIGN: Sen. Cory Booker continued Monday to implore Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after the emergence over the weekend of a racist photo and nickname that appeared in a pair of Northam’s college yearbooks, saying that Northam will have failed his state if he doesn’t step aside (Politico). Booker on Monday again urged Northam to "step down and start his road to redemption" after the incident, which he said dredged up the dark racial history of the state. "Being governor of a state is not an entitlement. I believe in the ideas of redemption and we should not be judged by the lowest points in our past," he said in an interview on "CBS This Morning." "But the reality is, this is hurtful, painful, it’s a betrayal of the public trust."

General Assembly

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR GUN LEGISLATION: State Reps. Carey Hamilton and Ed DeLaney (both D-Indianapolis) and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry today called for the General Assembly to make it a priority to pass responsible gun legislation before the end of the 2019 legislative session (Howey Politics Indiana). The lawmakers and prosecutor were joined by area residents who are seeking action on three measures they hope will address the core issues of gun violence in communities across the state.  They noted that gun violence increases the probability of deaths in incidents of domestic violence, and raises the likelihood of fatalities by those who intend to injure others and among those who attempt suicide. It also places children and young people at special risk, and disproportionately affects communities of color. “I'm inspired by all of the people coming together to address the issue of gun safety in Indiana,” said Hamilton. “Gun violence touches every segment of our society. I support common sense measures to reduce gun violence, while respecting the Second Amendment. It’s time for members at the Statehouse to have a real dialogue that leads to action on common sense gun reform.”

THE GUN PACKAGE: Hamilton and DeLaney have authored three measures to inspire that discussion (Howey Politics Indiana): HOUSE BILL 1149, authored by DeLaney, would hold a person criminally responsible if a child gains access to his or her unsecured loaded firearm. HOUSE BILL 1290, authored by Hamilton, would require individuals convicted of domestic violence to surrender their firearms within 72 hours, closing a loophole in current law. HOUSE BILL 1291, authored by Hamilton, would require universal background checks for anyone wishing to purchase or take possession of a firearm, closing a loophole in current law. “Gun violence has taken a dramatic toll on neighborhoods and families throughout our state,” Curry stated. “We see it manifested in every form from shootings resulting from social media disputes to children picking up guns in their own home, all senseless acts resulting in loss and fear. It is time that we have a thoughtful, public discussion about responsible, safe gun ownership and access to firearms.” DeLaney noted, “I’ve been calling on members of the General Assembly to work together for years to address the issue of gun safety in communities here in Indianapolis and across our state. How many more victims are we going to have before we get somewhere? It’s tragic. I’m ready to work now to introduce legislation that will implement universal background checks and help prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.”

BILL WOULD CREATE ANNUAL INFANT MORTALITY REVIEW: Indiana consistently ranks near the bottom for infant mortality rates. Several bills being considered by Indiana lawmakers this session address the issue. Senate bill 278 would create a yearly statewide review process through 2024 (Sheridan, Indiana Public Media). The state’s rate has remained stagnant for the past few years at about seven deaths per 1,000 live births. The bill recently passed a Senate health committee to establish a Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team that would report to the Indiana State Department of Health. March of Dimes Indiana director of maternal and child health Jeena Siela says many counties and regions in the state already have committees that look at infant deaths. “Are they seeing a lot more suffocation, or asphyxiation deaths after the baby is born?” says Siela. “Are there a lot of deaths that are happening in the hospital setting and there might be some quality improvement initiatives that need to happen?” About 600 babies die before their first birthday in Indiana.  Siela says Fetal Infant Mortality Reviews, or FIMRs, aim to pinpoint what occurred on the local level.

TALLIAN BILL WOULD ASSURE INCOME STABILITY: Many Hoosier employees have no choice but to take unpaid time off work when they are having a baby, caring for a dying relative or nursing a sick child, because their employers do not provide paid family leave (Carden, NWI Times). State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, wants to give those workers the opportunity to maintain their incomes, while exercising their federal right to unpaid family leave, through a state-managed, voluntary family leave insurance program. Senate Bill 496, co-sponsored by Tallian and state Sen. John Ruckelshaus, R-Indianapolis, directs the Indiana Department of Insurance to establish a pooled risk system for Hoosier workers to contribute a small portion of their salary while healthy and working, and, in return, get a benefit equal to 50, 75 or 100 percent of their regular wages if they must take temporary leave from their jobs. Under the plan, employers who don't want or can't afford to offer paid family leave would not be required to change their policies in any way; participating employees from across the state would be sharing the family leave premiums and benefits among themselves. But the legislation also encourages companies to consider contributing to the risk pool by offering a state income tax deduction equal to double their contributions. Tallian said the measure could make it easier for middle-sized and small businesses that don't offer paid family leave to compete for workers with larger employers that tend to include it in their benefit packages. "It's easy to tell somebody, 'Oh, just put money in the piggy bank each month to cover a problem.' We all know how difficult that is," Tallian said. "That's why we have insurance. It's the concept of pooled risk."

ONE WORD CHANGED IN GOLF CART ALCOHOL BILL: Every piece of legislation is important to somebody. That's the argument state Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, made Thursday to members of the House when he asked their approval for what may be one of the least important proposals considered this year at the Statehouse (Carden, NWI Times). House Bill 1462, co-sponsored by Smaltz and state Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, would allow wine and liquor to be sold from golf carts on Indiana golf courses, instead of only alcoholic malt beverages, such as beer. Smaltz said he understands the prohibition against golf cart wine and liquor sales may not be as rigorously enforced as other state alcohol statutes. But that's all the more reason to change the law, so golf courses holding three-way alcohol permits can sell beer, wine and liquor across their entire properties, instead of just in the clubhouse, he said. Smaltz also touted the bipartisan nature of his proposal in an effort to win votes. "The word 'malt' is all we're taking out — four letters. So I took the first two letters, Rep. Austin took the other two letters and we're going to hopefully get this done," Smaltz said. In the end, 92 state representatives voted in favor of the measure. Four were opposed.

SEN. J.D. FORD CALLS FOR NET METERING: State Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) called for a hearing of Senate Bill (SB) 430 (Howey Politics Indiana). The proposal would repeal the plan to phase out net metering which was put in place in 2017 with Senate Enrolled Act 309. SB 430 aims to give Hoosiers back the freedom to power their homes, places of worship, schools and businesses using renewable energy (Howey Politics Indiana). “This is an important proposal that is supported by people on both sides of the aisle,” Sen. Ford said. “I am excited that Senators Mark Stoops, Ron Alting and Vaneta Becker have all joined me in working to get this bill passed. It gives individuals the freedom to generate home-grown, clean solar power which benefits everyone involved--including utility companies. Hoosiers deserve the right to be able to engage in the beneficial practice of net metering.” SB 430 has been assigned to the Senate Utilities Committee chaired by State Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) and has not yet received a hearing. “I call on Sen. Merritt to give this bill a fair hearing,” Sen. Ford said. “Hoosiers want their energy freedom restored, and this is a chance for our state to lead in a clean, competitive energy market.”

SEN. KOCH SEEKS CEMETERY FUNDS: State Sen. Eric Koch is working to free up funds for cash-strapped cemeteries (Bedford Times-Mail). The issue caught Koch’s attention in 2017 when the Green Hill Cemetery Association in Bedford reached a financial tipping point caused by low interest rates paid on the cemetery’s Perpetual Care Fund that were no longer keeping up with the cemetery’s expenses.

SENATE OKs FOOD & BEVERAGE TAXES: Three central Indiana municipalities would be allowed to collect a food and beverage tax under a bill that is advancing in the Indiana General Assembly (Erdody, IBJ). The Indiana Senate on Monday approved Senate Bill 109, which would allow Greenwood, Whitestown and Danville to impose a food and beverage tax of up to 1 percent. The tax would have the biggest impact in Greenwood, where it could generate $2.5 million in 2020 and $2.6 million in 2021, according to an analysis from the Legislative Services Agency. In Whitestown, the tax could generate about $223,400 in 2020 and $233,800 in 2021; in Danville it could generate $224,000 in 2020 and $236,600 in 2021. Indianapolis Republican Jack Sandlin authored the bill, which passed 38-11. It moves to the House for consideration.

LIVESTOCK INSPECTION BILL STALLS: A bill that would prohibit outside groups from inspecting Indiana livestock production facilities is stalled in committee after this morning’s Senate hearing (Turner, Indiana Public Media). Large agriculture groups expressed concern over the bill, because companies selling products to other states must abide by the regulations of that state. Prohibiting outside groups from inspecting products could lead to a decrease in sales. Some farmers who support the bill believe it would help keep outside agencies from regulating their production and operations. Rose Acre Farms is one of the nation’s largest egg producers headquartered in Seymour. Joseph Miller testified before the committee. He says the company is against the bill because it would ban anyone except the state board of animal heath from inspecting a property. That would make it impossible to sell Indiana products in states with different standards.  "We deal with them, that’s part of doing business," Miller says. That’s part of growing your company. If you don’t want to deal with them, don’t sell into those states. It’s that simple. The measure will hold in committee after legislators decided not to vote on the bill.



Congress

YOUNG CONDEMNS NY ABORTION BILL: U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) issued the following statement tonight after Senate Democrats blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (Howey Politics Indiana): “In light of the barbaric and widely condemned state-level efforts in New York and Virginia to legalize abortion up until the moment of delivery, we need to ensure that all newborns receive appropriate care and medical treatment. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act bans the horrific act of infanticide by ensuring that babies who survive attempted abortions have the chance at life that they deserve. I find it deeply disturbing that Democrats have blocked this critical life-saving bill.”

GRAHAM WARNS GOP TO BACK TRUMP ON EMERGENCY: Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, warned his fellow Republicans to back the president if he declares an emergency to build a wall on the southern border (Bloomberg News). "To every Republican, if you don’t stand behind this president, we’re not going to stand behind you, when it comes to the wall," Graham said in a speech in Greenville, South Carolina of the political fight with Democrats over a border barrier. "This is the defining moment of his presidency. It’s not just about a wall, it’s about him being treated different than every other president."

State

GOVERNOR: CROUCH SCHEDULE - This is Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch's public schedule for Feb. 5 - 6, 2019. Tuesday, Feb. 5, Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Association. 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 8:00 a.m., ET, Indianapolis Downtown Marriott, First Floor Room: Indiana E-G, 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis; 11:30 a.m. Crouch speaks at IBA Legislative Conference and Board of Directors Meeting, Indiana Builder's Association, Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis. Wednesday, Feb. 6, Crouch speaks at AIC 2019 Legislative Conference, Association of Indiana Counties, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 8:20 a.m., Hilton Hotel Downtown Indianapolis, 120 W. Market St.; 1 p.m.  Crouch speaks at Indiana Dairy Forum, Indiana Dairy Producers, French Lick Resort, 8670 IN-56, French Lick; 2 p.m. Crouch tours Wilstem Ranch, Where: 4237 US 150, Paoli.

STATEHOUSE: HOOSIERS RECEIVED $61M FROM UNCLAIMED FUND -  It's not quite winning the lottery, but Hoosiers last year collectively got back $61 million from forgotten bank accounts, stock dividends, insurance proceeds, product refunds, rental deposits and other unclaimed property (Carden, NWI Times). The Indiana attorney general's office, which administers the state's unclaimed property system, said that was $2.1 million more than Hoosiers received in 2017. "We take this role very seriously and work aggressively every single day to return unclaimed property to its rightful owners," said Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. Hoosiers can conduct a free search for any unclaimed property attached to their names at the website: indianaunclaimed.gov. Last year, the attorney general's office upgraded its internal processing system, so Hoosiers who find unclaimed property listed on the website can file an electronic request for their money.

EDUCATION: IU RAISES RESIDENCE HALL RATES - The Indiana University Board of Trustees has announced on-campus room rates for the 2019-20 academic year. The rate for standard room and board at IU Bloomington will increase by $365, or 3.48 percent, over the 2018-19 academic year (McLaughlin, Inside Indiana Business). Residence hall rates will change at other IU campuses also: IUPUI: 1.3 to 3 percent increase; IU South Bend: 0.5 to 1.01 percent increase; IU Southeast: 1.97 to 2.06 percent increase. "IU Bloomington has a variety of on-campus housing rates and living arrangements for our students," IU Treasurer Don Lukes said in a news release. "We strive to price housing on the Bloomington campus very competitively with our peers and in the Bloomington market in order to create value for our on-campus residents."

EDUCATION: IU BICENTENNIAL MEDAL DESIGNED - Indiana University has unveiled the design of a bicentennial medal that will be issued for the school’s 200th birthday. The medal design revealed during last week’s IU trustees’ meeting in Columbus depicts IU’s seal on one side and an outline of Indiana and contours like flight patterns on the flip side. The medal was designed by Jeeyea Kim, a faculty member in IU’s School of Art, Architecture + Design. The Herald-Times reports that the medals will be cast from metal taken from bells that hung in a campus building damaged by a 1990 fire. They’ll be presented to people and organizations that have broadened IU’s reach. IU was founded as the Indiana Seminary on Jan. 20, 1820. It became Indiana College in 1828 and Indiana University in 1838.

ECONOMY: INDIANA URGED TO IMPROVE RECYCLING - Recycling advocates are urging leaders to re-evaluate Indiana's recycling system, which they say is plagued with issues including a lack of locally sourced recycling material for businesses and landfills filling with recyclable goods (AP). Many businesses pay extra to acquire raw materials from out of state because there isn't enough local material, the Indianapolis Star reported. Shelbyville's Knauf Insulation imports nearly all of the recycled glass bottles that it turns into insulation, said Scott Miller, the company's sustainability director. More than 70 companies statewide regularly use recycled materials, such as plastic, paper and glass, according to a 2013 study by Ball State University. But other companies say they would also use recycled materials if it was more readily available. Increasing the state's recycling rate could create jobs, making the state's recycling companies more competitive and make the state more attractive to businesses, said Allyson Mitchell, the executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, which advocates for recycling on behalf of businesses, municipalities and environmental groups. “Here's our moment,” she said. “This is an opportunity for us to build a system where the conditions are optimal, so that when all of the (recycling) commodity prices rebound, we're in a good spot to take full advantage of that.”

CLIMATE: KANKAKEE RISING, BUT NO FLOOD REPEAT - The Kankakee River will continue rising this week, but there is little chance of the record flooding of a year ago (NWI Times). "We have a totally different story," Scott Lincoln, a senior service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois, said. The river Monday afternoon was measured at over 9 feet by the weather service. Lincoln said, "It has been at flood stage since Jan. 27. It is climbing up close to 11 feet by Thursday," he said. Lake County Commissioner Jerry Tippy, R-Schererville, said Monday afternoon there were no reports of flooding early Monday in subdivisions from Shelby west to Schneider.

ECONOMY: RADIUS TAKES SITE SELECTORS TO SW INDIANA - Radius Indiana economic development leaders took information and insights about their southern Indiana region north for a day as hosts of an educational session in Indianapolis with eight site selectors (Howey Politics Indiana). The session is the first of 2019 and part of Radius's continued outreach program to raise awareness about the business strengths and opportunities in the eight-county region. Radius President Jeff Quyle, other Radius staff members, and six economic development leaders from Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Lawrence, Orange, and Martin counties joined Quyle to discuss the latest news about the regional economy. "Site selector events such as this are a great opportunity to sit down, network, and learn from others in the industry," said Bryant Niehoff, the newly appointed Executive Director of Daviess Economic Development Corporation. "These opportunities are invaluable in marketing each of our communities, and I'm looking forward to attending events like this in the future."

DNR: CHAP FUNDING AVAILABLE - The DNR’s Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP) is now taking applications for funding for the 2019 hunting season through March 31 (Howey Politics Indiana). Parks, homeowners associations, and other land-managing entities are eligible to apply. If selected, community partners will be awarded financial assistance to help them manage a deer hunt during the regulated deer-hunting seasons. CHAP allows for community partner oversight and the flexibility to determine when and where managed hunts occur. The program provides a practical and economical method for reducing deer numbers and balancing ecological and societal needs. “Participating in the CHAP program has been a great option for us as a community,” said Rick Normington, member of the Cordry-Sweetwater Conservancy District. “The efforts of our hunt coordinator helped us make great strides in balancing our deer numbers.” More information and how to apply is at wildlife.in.gov/9420.htm.

MEDIA: NEXSTAR WANTS TO SELL WISH-TV - The stage is being set for the sale of WISH-TV Channel 8 as its owner prepares to buy two other Indianapolis stations (Schoettle, IBJ). The station, as well as sister station WNDY-TV Channel 23, is owned by Irving, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group Inc. In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission last week, Nexstar said that if its proposed acquisition of Tribune Broadcasting receives approval, it wants to keep Tribune’s WXIN-TV Channel 59 and WTTV-TV Channel 4 and sell WISH and WNDY. A spokesman for WISH referred questions from IBJ about the filing—and the possible sale of the station—to Nexstar officials. Nexstar declined to comment. In December, Nexstar announced that it had agreed to buy Tribune Media Co. for $4.1 billion in a deal that would create the largest owner of local TV stations in the United States. However, broadcasters must get a waiver from the FCC to own more than one top-four station in any market.



Nation

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TABS BERNHARD FOR INTERIOR - President Trump is picking David Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, to be the Interior Department’s next secretary (The Hill). “I am pleased to announce that David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of the Interior, will be nominated as Secretary of the Interior,” Trump tweeted Monday. Bernhardt, whose past clients include oil companies and others with business before the Interior Department, will lead an agency that oversees about 500 million acres as well as the energy production on that land. He became the agency’s deputy secretary in 2017 and has led the department on an interim basis since former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned amid ethics scandals in January. In the weeks since Zinke’s departure, Bernhardt has risen to the top of the list as the most likely candidate Trump would choose for the post.

WHITE HOUSE: BOLTON COULD TARGET START TREATY - What arms treaty is next on Bolton’s kill list? Last week’s decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from a key Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty has stoked concerns other arms treaties are on the chopping block, too, Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer and Lara Seligman report. Nearly everyone agrees that Russia has been violating the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty for years. Some say a U.S. exit from the treaty is long overdue, while others fear it could spark a new arms race. They also worry about the fate of another key nuclear arms treaty, New START, which is due to expire in early 2021 barring a renewal. “You have to be concerned [Bolton] will welcome any excuse not to extend New START, just has he welcomed this reason to kill the INF Treaty,” said Thomas Countryman, an arms control expert and former senior U.S. diplomat told FP.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP APPEALS JUDGE CONFIRMATIONS AT HISTORIC LEVEL - President Trump has installed a historic number of federal appeals court judges for this point of a presidency (Washington Post). But the immediate effect on the composition of the courts across the country is modest — and the rapid pace is unlikely to continue because of a limited number of remaining open seats. The Senate confirmation of Trump’s 30 appeals court judges is more than any other president’s two years into a term. His picks for the nation’s 13 circuit courts, one step below the Supreme Court, predominantly are male and less diverse than those tapped by his predecessor.

WHITE HOUSE: IRAQ REJECTS TRUMP PLAN FOR TROOPS, IRAN - Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday rejected a plan floated by President Trump that calls for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq to “watch” neighboring Iran, saying the United States should not burden Iraq with its own “policy priorities” (Washington Post). Trump’s comments on Sunday have added to mounting concerns among both opponents and supporters of an American troop presence in Iraq. Their fear is that the White House sees the country as a launch point to enforce Washington’s political goals in the region, rather than as a place to help Baghdad fight a persistent threat from the Islamic State. Speaking at a forum in Baghdad on Monday, Salih said Washington has never sought permission to use Iraq-based forces to monitor Iran and expressed surprise at the idea. “We will not allow this,” he said, adding that American forces are in Iraq only to assist in the fight against terrorism. “Iraq does not want to be a party or axis to any conflict between multiple countries.”

WHITE HOUSE: CALLS SCHEDULE LEAK' DISGRACEFUL BREACH' - A new leak of three months worth of President Donald Trump's daily schedules has provoked anger among top White House aides and allies of the president, echoing the early days of Trump's presidency during which leaks seemed to plague the administration on a near-daily basis (ABC News). Axios reported Sunday on the series of schedules provided by "a White House source," which revealed according to their analysis that the president spends "around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured "Executive Time."" The internal schedules offered significantly more insight into the president's daily activities compared to the 'Daily Press Guidance' provided to the public. The White House did not dispute the authenticity of the schedules and instead set their sights on publicly trashing the official responsible for the leak. "What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules," Director of Oval Office Operations Madeleine Westerhout wrote on Twitter Sunday. "What these don’t show are the hundreds of calls and meetings [President Trump] takes everyday. This [president] is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history."

WHITE HOUSE: McKINNEY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CHINA TRADE DEAL - Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney made an appearance at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry over the weekend (Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today). He told Hoosier Ag Today that he is optimistic about a trade deal with China, saying, “I sense a strong desire on both sides to come to some sort of agreement.” McKinney stressed there are certain issues on which the President will not compromise. “We have to get them to commit and to prove they are not going to steal our intellectual property, and that includes agriculture.  Don’t steal our seeds or our livestock genetics. We also have got to get them to say they are not going to force technology transfer.” McKinney stressed that, while a deal with China is important, there are many other places in the world where U.S. farmers can make progress in developing new markets and negotiating new trade agreements. “We must not forget the rest of the world because there are opportunities out there and we are trying to bring those to bear,” he stated.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE STRESSED TRADE DEAL WITH JAPAN - Washington is frustrated at the slow pace of trade talks with Tokyo but will not raise tariffs on Japanese vehicles if negotiations are held in “good faith” and in a timely manner, U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty said. At the same time, Hagerty took issue with the Japanese government's insistence on describing the talks with the United States as negotiations toward a Trade Agreement on Goods (TAG). “We don’t use the term ‘TAG,’” Hagerty said in the Feb. 4 interview with The Asahi Shimbun. “It’s not consistent with our understanding. Our goal is to have a trade agreement that is no worse than any other terms that Japan has with other countries.” Hagerty mentioned that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly stressed that a trade deal was needed in meetings with top Japanese officials in 2017 and 2018, but Pence obtained no response from his counterparts. Hagerty also said Abe has made no response whenever Trump has brought up the need for a trade deal in their direct talks. The U.S. president could visit Japan at least twice in May and June, Hagerty said.

PENTAGON: REPORT SAYS ISIS CAN REVIVE - The U.S. military believes that "absent sustained pressure" on the Islamic State, ISIS could re-emerge in Syria within six to 12 months, according to a new Department of Defense Inspector General report on Operation Inherent Resolve (CBS News). According to the Pentagon, while U.S.-backed Syrian forces have continued the fight to retake the remaining ISIS strongholds in Syria, ISIS remains a "potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that could likely resurge in Syria absent continued counterterrorism pressure," the report reads.

SCOTUS: INDIANA ABORTION CASE BRINGS PP COMMENT - The Atate of Indiana today requested United States Supreme Court review of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling affirming a lower court order blocking the ultrasound waiting period provisions in House Enrolled Act 1337 (Howey Politics Indiana). This is the second time since Justice Kavanaugh joined the U.S. Supreme Court that Indiana has asked the Court to overturn injunctions against provisions of HEA 1337. The provisions at issue in today’s petition would require women to obtain an ultrasound 18 hours before obtaining an abortion. The law was challenged by the ACLU of Indiana, along with the national ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK). The lower courts ruled that the burdens the law would impose cannot be justified by any medical purpose, likely in violation of women’s constitutional rights. Christine Charbonneau, CEO of PPINK, reacted, saying, “This law only stands to harm Hoosiers. Politicians weaponized basic health care with one motive in mind -- to end abortion access. If the state of Indiana wants to address health care disparities like the infant mortality rates, it should get to work finding solutions that improve access to health care. This law does the opposite -- it chips away at a patient’s ability to access critical health care when they need it. Planned Parenthood will stand with its partners and continue to fight this medically unnecessary law.” Ken Falk, legal director with the ACLU of Indiana, added, “There is no reason for the Court to take this case because the Seventh Circuit got it right. This requirement is unconstitutional as it creates a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking to obtain an abortion. There is no medical justification for the requirement that an ultrasound be obtained at least 18 hours before the abortion. This is no more than an attempt to move reproductive services out of reach.”

BUSINESS: NEW CEO FOR PAPA JOHN'S - Activist investor Starboard Value LP said Monday that it is making a $200 million investment in Papa John’s International Inc. PZZA 8.98% and that its chief executive is becoming chairman of the pizza chain (Wall Street Journal). The deal caps more than a year of tumult at the struggling pizza company. Starboard, well known in the restaurant industry for its 2014 board coup at Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants Inc., has secured the board chairmanship for its CEO, Jeffrey Smith. It also obtained a board seat for Anthony Sanfilippo, former chairman and CEO of casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie will join the board and remain the company’s CEO.

MEDIA: GANNETT BOARD TURNS DOWN FIRST MEDIA OFFER - The publisher of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers said no to a hedge-fund backed media group with a reputation for slashing jobs, but the buyout fight may not be over (AP). Gannett on Monday said its board has unanimously rejected an unsolicited $1.36 billion buyout from MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media. Digital First then said that it might nominate new Gannett board directors to consider its offer. The board decided the $12 per share offer was too low, and that it wasn’t in the interest of the company or its shareholders, according to Gannett Co. Gannett also cast doubt on Digital First’s ability to complete the deal after it said the company refused to answer questions about its ability to fund the acquisition without a non-disclosure agreement. “It appears that MNG does not have a realistic plan to acquire Gannett,” Gannett said in a prepared statement.

VIRGINIA: GOV. NORTHAM NOT PLANNING TO RESIGN - Virginia plunged deeper into political turmoil Monday as Gov. Ralph Northam told aides he was not planning to step down, and his own lieutenant governor suggested Mr. Northam’s supporters were behind an effort to smear him with claims of sexual assault to block his ascent if the governor resigned (New York Times). Dazed lawmakers arriving here for their legislative session said they did not know how much longer Mr. Northam would be governor or whether Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would replace him amid the growing tensions between the state’s two top leaders, both Democrats. “Everybody is shaking their heads, nobody knows what’s going to happen,” said State Senator Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who ran for governor a decade ago. “It might change in 15 minutes.” The cascade of events began Monday morning when Mr. Northam met first with his cabinet and then with his staff, some of whom have urged him to quit over questions about a racist photograph that appeared on his medical school yearbook page.

VIRGINIA: LT. GOV. FAIRFAX DENIES SEXUAL ALLEGATION - Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a forceful pre-dawn denial on Monday to an allegation of sexual assault that surfaced after 15 years, in the latest political bombshell to rock Richmond where Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is battling resignation calls over a racist photo from his medical school yearbook (Fox News). Fairfax, who would be next in line for governor should Northam bow to pressure and resign, called the allegation “defamatory” and “false.” “Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect,” the statement from his office read. “He has never assaulted anyone—ever—in any way, shape, or form.”

ILLINOIS: O'HARE NOW NATION'S BUSIEST AIRPORT - O’Hare International Airport is once again the nation’s busiest in terms of total flights, surpassing Atlanta for the first time since 2014, according to federal data (Chicago Tribune). O’Hare’s total flights last year topped 900,000 for the first time since 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration reported Monday. The busiest days for flights at O’Hare occurred during June and July, and the busiest day was June 27, with 2,847 arrivals and departures. Total flights at Midway Airport were down compared with 2017. O’Hare also handled more than 83.4 million passengers last year, a 4.5 percent increase over 2017, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation, citing preliminary airline data. Both airports together saw more than 105 million passengers, a new record, the city said.

NEW YORK: EL CHAPO JURY BEGINS DELIBERATIONS - An anonymous Brooklyn federal jury began deliberations Monday afternoon in the sweeping drug conspiracy trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (ABC News). Prosecutors have accused Guzman of trafficking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the U.S. as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. "This guy, I think, is the No. 1 bad guy of our generation, and I just don't think people realize," said Jack Riley, a retired deputy administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

World

VENEZUELAN AIF FORCE GENERAL DEFECTS: A Venezuelan air force general has defected from the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and called on his compatriots to participate in protests against the socialist leader’s rule (BT). General Francisco Yanez is the first high ranking officer to leave Mr Maduro’s government since January 23, when National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself the country’s legitimate leader. In a YouTube video, Gen Yanez said: “The transition to democracy is imminent.” He described Mr Maduro as a dictator and referred to Mr Guaido as his president, but refused to say whether he is still in Venezuela or has left the country. The officer later confirmed he would not give further statements until given authorization by “the commander-in-chief of the legal armed force which is President Juan Guaido”.

Local

CITIES: EVANSVILLE HOUSING CEO FACES THEFT CHARGES - Former ECHO Housing Corp. director Stephanie TenBarge has been indicted by a federal grand jury on theft charges (Stubbs & Wilson, Evansville Courier & Press). Tenbarge, 71, faces three counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court.  She is accused of embezzling nearly $147,000 in ECHO funds to pay for personal goods and services ranging for everything from lawn care and work on her home to personal property taxes, according to an Indiana State Board of Accounts audit not made public until Monday. Although the federal grand jury indicted her Dec. 21, 2018, the extent and details of TenBarge's alleged misappropriations were kept from public view until the case was unsealed. Also, according to the State Board of Accounts, ECHO filed a complaint against TenBarge in Vanderburgh Superior Court on March 13, 2018. As a result, the audit report said, TenBarge signed a promissory note to pay ECHO $19,000 plus attorney fees, and had payed $14,647 on the note as of Dec. 31. As of Monday, that complaint still was not listed in state court records.

CITIES: HOGSETT, ROACH KICKOFF BODY CAM STUDY - Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Bryan Roach announced today the start of a process to study the feasibility of a body worn camera program for Indianapolis. The process is designed to be community- and stakeholder-driven, seeking feedback from both neighborhoods and rank-and-file officers during a technology pilot period (Howey Politics Indiana). “The most important difference with this body camera pilot is that, for the first time, the community will take part in the assessment,” said Mayor Hogsett. “In this way, we can build the trust, the transparency, and the tools to implement a quality body camera program.” Over the coming months, IMPD will launch an extensive community engagement process designed to maximize resident involvement in the study. IUPUI will administer a private web-based community survey to identify residents’ attitudes, expectations, and concerns regarding IMPD officers wearing body cameras.

CITIES: INDY DPW CREWS FILLING POTHOLES - The Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) has 18 crews patching city streets today as fluctuating temperatures and precipitation have caused more potholes to develop (Howey Politics Indiana).  DPW fills potholes as requests come in, focusing first on service requests on main thoroughfares that handle more traffic. Crews will be out today patching various locations across the city. Drivers should heed warnings to avoid crews working in open traffic to ensure safety for all. Some pothole patching locations include:  Mann Rd from Kentucky Ave to County Line Rd; College Ave from 10th St to 86th St; Keystone Ave from 25th St to 96th St. DPW crews have filled 17,190 potholes since January 1, 2019. Check the Indy Pothole Viewer to see open and closed pothole requests across the city.

CITIES: HOGSETT, PARKER TO ANNOUNCE STRIP PATCHING - On Tuesday, February 5, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) will highlight the city's first phase strip patching program to repair city streets, in addition to the resurfacing program (Howey Politics Indiana). The City’s strip patching plan coincides with the creation of DPW’s street maintenance team which works in conjunction with DPW contractors to repair roads that can benefit best from strip patching. This plan is part of Mayor Hogsett’s $400 million roadway infrastructure plan for the next 4 years to improve roads, sidewalks and pedestrian safety.

CITIES: MAYOR HENRY GREETS FWPD/FD RECRUITS - Mayor Tom Henry welcomed 24 Fort Wayne Police Department recruits and 11 Fort Wayne Fire Department recruits to their first day of training at the Public Safety Academy (Howey Politics Indiana). “Public safety is a top priority and continuing to grow our outstanding police and fire personnel is imperative to ensure our residents and businesses are as safe as possible,” said Mayor Henry. “I continue to be impressed with the leadership efforts in our public safety divisions as they constantly strive to enhance their level of service.”

CITIES: SUPPORT FOR FIRED PENDLETON PD CHIEF - A Pendleton police chief was ousted by the town council last month over offensive posts the chief allegedly shared on Facebook. Now, hundreds are signing a petition pushing to put him back on the job (WRTV). Although some believe the town council is doing the right thing firing the chief, there's a vocal group of supporters that say they believe Marc Farrer was wrongfully terminated. Now, they're planning to march to town hall Saturday morning, ahead of his appeals hearing, calling for the chief to be reinstated. "He's always been very professional," Kara Kollros, a supporter of the ex-police chief, said.

CITIES: FRANKLIN SCHOOLS TO TEST BUS SEATBELTS - Franklin Community Schools Transportation officials will soon begin testing to see whether seat belts improve discipline and safety on school buses (Fox59). A single bus, outfitted with lap-shoulder seat belts, arrived at the district’s transportation garage a few days ago. After it passes inspection from Indiana State Police, it will begin transporting students by the end of the month. Transportation Director Doug Dickinson says the test should last about a month, and he hopes it will answer several questions about the pros and cons of seat belts on school buses. He says lap-shoulder seat belts can help protect students in a side-impact crash. The main focus of the test will be whether the seat belts improve discipline among students and reduce distractions for bus drivers. “Bus discipline is a pretty major issue that we have,” Dickinson said. “And it’s not just us, it’s everybody.”

COUNTIES: NORTH NEWTON SCHOOL SUPT DIES - North Newton School Corporation Superintendent Destin Haas has died, according to Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Avolt (WLFI-TV). Avolt says Haas was found unresponsive inside his garage in Benton County and was taken a Tippecanoe County hospital. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday, according to Avolt.  The North Newton School Corporation said in a statement, "The North Newton Spartan Family extends our heartfelt condolences to the Haas family during this time of loss of an exceptional man." Haas was the former superintendent of Benton Community Schools. He took over at North Newton in 2013. He lives in Fowler and leaves behind a wife and four children, according to the school district's homepage.