LOW-KEY HOLCOMB, CROUCH, ROKITA INAUGURAL ON MONDAY: Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Attorney General-elect Todd Rokita will be sworn into office by the Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush during a small, private ceremony at the Indiana State Museum Monday, January 11 at 11 a.m. ET (Howey Politics Indiana). Indiana FFA President Julia Hamblen will serve as the master of ceremonies. Dr. Terry Webster, Sr. will share an opening prayer, followed by the presentation of colors by the Indiana National Guard. Arianna Harris-Kawano and Ty Allen of Hanover College will sing the National Anthem and Back Home Again in Indiana. Gov. Holcomb’s nieces and nephews – Kay Ann Amos, Colton Fisher, Carter Fisher, Catherine Holcomb and Victoria Holcomb – will lead the pledge of allegiance. After the elected officials are sworn in and have given remarks, Rev. Christopher Henry will close the ceremony in prayer.

 

HIGH INTEREST SLOWS DOWN 211 LINE FOR VACCINES: More than 75,000 Hoosiers age 80 or older have scheduled appointments to receive free COVID-19 vaccines as of 4 p.m. Saturday (Howey Politics Indiana). Hoosiers can continue to register at https://ourshot.in.gov, by calling 211 or by contacting one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging for help.  A caregiver or loved one also may make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior. High interest in COVID-19 vaccines has caused slowdowns to the state’s vaccine registration site and 211 system, but both systems are working. Individuals age 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Health. At least one vaccine clinic will be located in each Indiana county. Vaccines are free, but insurance may be charged an administrative fee. “We are gratified by the high interest in vaccine registration for our most vulnerable Hoosiers and encourage everyone to be patient,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “We anticipated these scenarios on the first day and have a system in place to address them as quickly as possible.”

 

PENCE HASN'T RULED OUT INVOKING 25TH AMENDMENT: Vice President Mike Pence has not ruled out an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and wants to preserve the option in case President Donald Trump becomes more unstable, a source close to the vice president says (CNN). The source said there is some concern inside Pence's team that there are risks to invoking the 25th Amendment or even to an impeachment process, as Trump could take some sort of rash action putting the nation at risk. As of Saturday evening, Trump and Pence still have not spoken since the Wednesday incursion at the US Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer, another source told CNN. The President has also not made any public comments denouncing death threats that have been posted on social media targeting Pence. Pence has finally "gotten a glimpse of POTUS's vindictiveness," one source said, using the acronym for President of the United States. Two sources familiar with the matter say Trump is angry at Pence and Pence is disappointed and saddened by Trump.

 

ANGRY PENCE FACES RUPTURE WITH TRUMP: Before leaving office, President Barack Obama awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – to his vice president. In President Donald Trump’s final days, he has presented similar honors to California Rep. Devin Nunes, one of his most vocal supporters during impeachment, and to three professional golfers. To his vice president, Trump bestowed the label of coward (Groppe, USA Today). The staunchly loyal Mike Pence was excoriated by Trump on Wednesday for his refusal to illegally intervene to prevent Congress from certifying the results for the presidential election that Trump lost. “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” Trump tweeted in a post that Twitter removed Wednesday evening. Trump has also barred Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, from the White House. “He’s blaming me for advice to VP,” Short told RealClearPolitics.

 

TRUMP FINALLY COMMITS TO ENDING PRESIDENCY: President Donald Trump spent more than 24 hours after instigating a mob to violently storm the Capitol trying to escape reality (Chron.com). Cloistered in the White House, Trump raged uncontrollably about perceived acts of betrayal. He tuned out advisers who pleaded with him to act responsibly. He was uninterested in trying to repair what he had wrought. And he continued to insist he had won the election, even as his own vice president certified the fact that he had not. Only after darkness fell in Washington on Thursday, after the Capitol had been besieged by death and destruction and a growing chorus of lawmakers had called for his immediate removal from office, did Trump grudgingly accept his fate. "Now Congress has certified the results," Trump said in a video recorded at the White House. "A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation."

 

TWITTER PERMANENTLY BANS TRUMP FOR INCITING VIOLENCE: President Donald Trump has many prized possessions. But few seemed to inspire as much personal joy as his Twitter feed. Trump routinely boasted of the social media bullhorn he possessed. He credited it with launching his political trajectory. And he used it as a tool to lacerate his foes. On Friday night, he lost it. And, then, he lost his mind (Politico). The president is “ballistic,” a senior administration official said after Twitter permanently took down his account, citing the possibility that it would be used in the final 12 days of Trump’s presidency to incite violence. The official said Trump was “scrambling to figure out what his options are.”

 

ROKITA SAYS PRO TRUMP TWEET AN EXERCISE IN FREE SPEECH: Todd Rokita, Indiana's attorney general-elect, sent out a tweet Friday evening that pledged continuing support to President Donald Trump. It was posted the same day that Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account and two days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol (IndyStar). "I will always be for our President," Rokita tweeted, tagging Trump's suspended account and Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications and director of social media. On Saturday, Rokita wanted to explain why he posted it. He released a statement calling the tweet an experiment in free speech. Rokita wrote that after the president's account was suspended, Trump supporters messaged him to say their accounts were "inexplicably" banned. Citing the First Amendment, Rokita said one person's free speech doesn't mean he or she can violate another person's safety and "directly encourage or incite violence, or threaten or intimidate other people." "As most know, I have been a supporter of the President and his policies. Yet also like most, I am not an absolute supporter of any human being," Rokita wrote. "To be clear, I also condemn the Capitol violence in the same way and terms that I have condemned the violence last summer."

 

ALABAMA AG SEEKS PROBE OF RAGA'S INSURRECTION INVOLVEMENT: Alabama’s attorney general is calling for an investigation into who may have authorized a branch of the Republican Attorneys General Association to promote the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that preceded a deadly riot at the U.S. Capito (AP)l. The investigation comes on the heels of a report in Documented, a liberal watchdog group, that said the RAGA’s policy arm authorized and paid for a robocall that called on “patriots” to march on the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify the Electoral College results that declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential race. “We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections,” said the recording of the robocall obtained by The Associated Press. It closed by saying that the RAGA’s Rule of Law Defense Fund had paid for and authorized the call. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who heads the fund, on Friday said he was asking for an internal review. “I was unaware of unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff with regard to this week’s rally. Despite currently transitioning into my role as the newly elected chairman of RLDF, it is unacceptable that I was neither consulted about nor informed of those decisions,” Marshall said.

 

BANKS SPARS WITH JOURNAL GAZETTE EDITOR: In a Facebook post, Republican Study Committee chair Jim Banks called Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editor Karen Francisco “dangerous and despicable” (Howey Politics Indiana). After Banks tweeted "Pray for our country" during the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, Francisco tweeted, "I pray you will do your part to stop the violence you helped to incite." In a Facebook post, Banks said, "When my former distinguished colleague Democrat John Lewis voted the same way I did in 2004 based on similar concerns he had with the electoral process, Nancy Pelosi called it 'Democracy at work'. I’m scouring comments from Karen Francisco and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette to see if they ever attacked John Lewis or Nancy Pelosi for “violating their oath of office” but I’m coming up short.

Instead, Karen Francisco - the very liberal editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, who hates me, conservatives, and especially Donald Trump - accuses me of 'inciting the riot' that overtook the Capitol on Wednesday." Banks added, "I’ve been clear that I support any and all efforts to bring to justice the thugs who violently entered the Capitol tragically causing the death of five including a Capitol Police Officer who bravely did his job every day defending me, my staff and my family." 

 

HOUSE DEMS TO INTRODUCE IMPEACHMENT ON MONDAY: House Democrats are currently planning to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump as soon as Monday, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter (CNN). That could set up a vote in the House early to the middle of next week. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not explicitly said when this will go to the floor. This would be the second time the House has unveiled articles of impeachment against President Trump. In December 2019, the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate acquitted him on both charges last February.

 

TRUMP MAGA SUPPORTERS TURN ON HIM: After years of fidelity, Donald Trump's most ardent online fans have finally turned on him (Politico). All it took was for the president to acknowledge the reality of his loss a little over a day after they, the MAGA faithful, stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. “People were willing to die for this man and he just threw them all under the bus. That’s the only thing that’s shameful about the events of the past 36 hours,” Nick Fuentes, the host of the America First podcast and the unofficial leader of the white nationalist Groyper Army, angrily tweeted, shortly after Trump released a video Thursday night in which he conceded that Biden would be the next president and called for political reconciliation. Cassandra Fairbanks, a prominent MAGA activist, tweeted: “[He] tells angry people to march to the capitol [and then] proceeds to throw his supporters under the bus.”

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Given the importance of this year's biennial budget session coming during the pandemic, and the concerns expressed by Speaker Huston and President Bray about potential disruptions due to COVID-19, it would make sense to make the vaccine available to everyone involved in the legislative process ASAP. I would urge leaders to put aside any reservations of "jumping the line" and get this inoculation process underway, which would take potential disruptions out of the picture, so legislators and staff can concentrate on the arduous task at hand while doing the people's business uninterrupted. - Brian A. Howey

 

Presidential 2020

 

56% FAVOR TRUMP'S IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE: A majority of the country believes President Donald Trump should be removed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20 and two-thirds hold him accountable for the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday. In the new survey, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos' Knowledge Panel, 56% of Americans think the sitting commander-in-chief should be removed from office before the official transfer of power in less than two weeks, while 43% say he should not. Among those who say Trump should not be removed immediately, nearly half (45%) nevertheless say his actions this week were wrong.

 

PISTOLE SAYS TRUMP FACES LEGAL EXPOSURE: President Donald Trump could face legal trouble over his rhetoric stoking his supporters before a group of them attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, said Anderson University President John Pistole (Knight, Anderson Herald Bulletin). “As the Supreme Court has held before, your right to freedom of speech does not extend to yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” Pistole said. “There are always limits and I think this is, unfortunately, a great example of what those limits should be. And the fact is he will be out of office in two weeks and he won’t have the executive protection in terms of immunity ... so I think there’s some risk for him since there seems to be such a clear causal connection.” Pistole said any decision to prosecute President Trump would be a policy decision, and one he’s glad he doesn’t have to make. “The other question, of course, is whether he should resign, or whether he should be impeached, or should the 25th amendment be invoked,” Pistole said. “Those three options exist. It’s just staggering how things have unfolded.”

 

Campaigns

 

INDEMS COMMENT ON BANKS: The Indiana Democratic Party release the following response (Howey Politics Indiana): "Once again, Congressman Jim Banks is inciting violence. This time, it's on a member of the press. Banks has lost his Hoosier values. His violent temper tantrums are inexcusable and unbecoming for a member of Congress. It's another reason why we've called on him to resign."

 

ROKITA NAMES HOPKINS CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR: Indiana Attorney General-Elect Todd Rokita has selected Larry Hopkins to serve as Chief Administrative Officer in his new administration beginning January 11, 2021. Hopkins served in this role during two previous administrations (Howey Politics Indiana). “Larry Hopkins brings an unparalleled level of experience in public service to our team. He is a collaborator and a problem-solver. His commitment to our state and our taxpayers will ensure our office is focused and ready to serve on day one,” said Attorney-General-Elect Rokita. Hopkins worked as chief executive/administrative officer from 2001-2016, spanning the administrations of Attorneys General Steve Carter and Greg Zoeller. During his tenure, the Office of the Attorney General led several significant initiatives, including a multi-phased Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, the creation of a new state identity theft unit, and the nation’s toughest consumer telephone privacy law.

 

Sunday Talk

 

MULVANEY SAYS CAPITOL SIEGE CHANGED EVERYTHING: Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who resigned as envoy to Northern Ireland over President Trump’s handling of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, on Sunday defended remaining in the administration through earlier controversies. “I think everybody recognizes that what happened on Wednesday is different,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” Mulvaney said that many of the earlier controversies "were policy differences, many of them were stylistic … Wednesday was existential.” “I thought it was important for someone who is not establishment, not a never-Trumper to say that was wrong,” Mulvaney added.

 

TOOMEY WANTS TRUMP TO RESIGN: GOP Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on two Sunday shows that he agrees with calls for the president to leave office immediately, rather than remaining in the White House until his term expires next week. Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Toomey said that he agreed with his colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who called for the president to resign immediately. "I think the best way for our country, Chuck, is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible," the senator said. "It does not look as though there is the will or the consensus to exercise the 25th amendment option. And I don't think there's time to do an impeachment. There's ten days left before the president leaves anyway. I think the best thing would be a resignation." he continued.

 

CLYBURN SAYS TRUMP'S GEORGIA CALL IMPEACHABLE: Rep. James Clyburn (R-S.C.), said Sunday that House lawmakers have a responsibility to stick up for the integrity of federal elections with an impeachment of the president over his phone call with Georgia officials. Speaking with host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union," the House Majority Whip argued that impeachment of the president was a necessary strategy even given the short time left in President Trump's single term in office. "We heard it. On the phone, talking to the secretary of state. Almost ordering him...to find 11,700-some-odd votes," Clyburn said, referring to audio reported by The Washington Post detailing President Trump's call with Georgia's top elections official last week. "That is impeachable."

 

AOC PUSHES IMPEACHMENT: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said President Trump should be removed from office on Sunday, saying his presence “represents a clear and present danger.” Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Ocasio-Cortez was asked by host George Stephanopoulos if she thought a move to impeach the president would pass. “I absolutely believe that impeachment should be scheduled for several reasons. One, of course, our main priority is to ensure the removal of Donald Trump as president of the United States,” the New York Democrat said. “Every minute and every hour that he is in office represents a clear and present danger, not just to the United States Congress but frankly to the country.”

 

General Assembly

 

SENATE GOP PUSHING HEALTH CITATION APPEALS: Businesses fined or closed for violating local pandemic restrictions would get a second avenue for appeal under a bill backed by Senate Republicans. Charlestown Senator Chris Garten’s bill would let businesses appeal a health department violation notice to the county commissioners (Berman, WIBC). President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says the bill is one of Senate Republicans’ top priorities. He says people affected by the decisions of an unelected health department should be able to turn to officials who are directly answerable to voters. Garten’s bill would give a business two weeks to file an appeal. The commissioners would then have a month to decide whether to hear it. If they don’t grant a hearing in that time, the citation stands. The penalty would be on hold until the appeal is resolved.

 

MELTON BILL WOULD RAISE MINIMUM WAGE: State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, is leading an effort this year at the Statehouse to increase Indiana's $7.25 per hour minimum wage for the first time in 12 years (Carden, NWI Times). The two-term senator has filed legislation to boost the lowest legal pay rate in the state to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022, and by an additional $1 per hour each year until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2027. His chances of success are slim, however, since the Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb have different ideas for improving the lives of some of the hardest working — but lowest paid — Hoosiers.

 

EDUCATION DOMINATES TERRE HAUTE CRACKER BARREL: Education funding dominated discussion Saturday at the first of this year's legislative crackerbarrel sessions hosted by the Vigo County Public Library (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). With the 2021 legislative session getting underway Jan. 4, Wabash Valley legislators met for better than hour to discuss legislative priorities and answer questions from constituents. State Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, and State Reps. Tonya Pfaff, D-Terre Haute, Bob Heaton, R-Terre Haute, and Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, attended the forum. While the legislators answered questions about pandemic relief and Wednesday's riot in Washington D.C., the bulk of the session revolved around education funding and teacher pay.

 

REP. PRYOR RELEASES AGENDA: State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) today released her legislative priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session. She plans to focus on reforms to the criminal justice system, Indiana elections and housing (Howey Politics Indiana). “For too long, we have had communities disproportionately impacted by the harmful systems currently in place,” Pryor said. “We need to ensure that they start working for all Hoosiers. Improving our criminal justice and election systems and making sure long-term homeowners can stay in their homes will take hard work this session, but it will create a more fair and more just Indiana. “Our state is long overdue for reforms to our criminal justice system. We need strong action now that answers the calls of those advocating for justice. I have introduced legislation banning racial profiling that establishes a Racial Profiling Review Commission, requires cultural diversity awareness training for law enforcement and allocates funds for body cameras."

 

REP. BOY'S AGENDA: State Rep. Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) today announced her legislative agenda for the 2021 Legislative Session. Boy plans to focus on cleaning up the state's environmental health, improving salaries and conditions for Hoosier workers, and supporting justice reform efforts (Howey Politics Indiana). "After the passage of House Enrolled Act 1385 last year, I encouraged Governor Holcomb to keep the momentum going and address the environmental issues my district and other lakefront communities are enduring," said Boy. The lakefront communities have a long recovery ahead of them and I shudder to think of what they will have to recover from next should we fail to act. As ranking minority member on the House Natural Resources Committee, I will introduce and advocate for legislation that promotes education on and the use of cleaner energy resources. Our state's health depends on a variety of factors, from environmental to economic to quality of life. Hoosier workers faced unprecedented challenges this past year and deserve our praise for their endurance."

 

REP. ANDRADE’S AGENDA: State Rep. Mike Andrade (D-Munster) today released his legislative priorities. Andrade will continue to advocate for his community during his first term at the Indiana Statehouse (Howey Politics Indiana). Andrade will propose bills on a variety of issues including education, small businesses and the environment. Education: Indiana has the worst salary growth rate in the nation for educators, a main concern Andrade has heard from many constituents. “Increasing teacher pay is long past due,” Andrade said. “The COVID-19 pandemic only emphasized how essential our teachers are, and they deserve action and support from their state government.” Small Businesses: Andrade, a freshman legislator, brings firsthand experience on the struggles small business owners endure. He wants to make sure the federal CARES Act funds are not taxed by the state. “It’s like giving a child a dollar and then saying, ‘But actually, 50 cents of that is mine,’” Andrade said. “When we support small businesses, we need to be all in because they are the hub of our economy.” Andrade is also working on providing relief to restaurants, a sector hit especially hard by the pandemic.

 

Congress

 

COMMON CAUSE CALLS FOR INDIANA DELEGATION RESIGNATIONS: The Indiana chapter of Common Cause, a non-partisan organization for fair and open elections, on Friday called for the resignation of multiple lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. (Elkhart Truth). “In the wake of Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Common Cause Indiana is calling for U.S. Representatives Jim Baird, Jim Banks, Greg Pence, and Jackie Walorski to immediately resign after they voted to overturn the will of people, failed to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, and played a clear role in spreading disinformation around the election, leading to the violence,” the organization said in a press release.

 

SUPPORT FOR IMPEACHMENT GROWS: Support grew among Democrats for impeaching President Trump over the Capitol riot and a new Republican senator indicated openness to such a step, while the president remained out of public view and authorities charged more rioters (Wall Street Journal). An expanding number of House Democrats had signed onto an article of impeachment by Saturday that a trio of House Democrats plan to introduce on Monday. Their single article of impeachment focuses on Wednesday’s violent breach of the Capitol complex and accuses the president of inciting an insurrection. One of its authors, Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.), said Saturday on CNN that they now have 185 Democratic supporters and hope to get some Republicans as well, up from more than 150 on Friday as fallout from the deadly riot at the Capitol continued. “We have a responsibility to hold him accountable and take this action,” Mr. Cicilline told CNN.

 

PELOSI ASKS JOINT CHIEFS ABOUT TRUMP NUKE ACCESS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she has spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing President Donald Trump from initiating military actions or a nuclear strike (AP). Pelosi said in a statement to colleagues that she spoke with Gen. Mark Milley “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.” She said, the situation of “this unhinged President could not be more dangerous.”

 

CAPITOL COP KILLED BY MOB: A U.S. Capitol Police officer died Thursday after being injured in clashes with pro-Trump rioters in the Capitol the day before (NBC News). Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured while physically engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital, where he died about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008, is the fifth person to die from Wednesday's violent clash in Washington. His death will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, the statement said, as well as the Capitol Police and federal agencies. Sicknick most recently served in the Capitol Police department's first responder's unit, the statement said.

 

GOP SENATORS BREAK WITH TRUMP: A small but growing number of Republicans have joined calls for Trump to step down, and several high-ranking administration officials resigned in protest (Reuters). Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Friday that Trump should resign immediately and suggested she would consider leaving the party altogether if Republicans cannot separate themselves from him. "I want him out. He has caused enough damage," she told the Anchorage Daily News. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told Fox News on Saturday that Trump had "committed impeachable offenses" but declined to commit to voting in favor of Trump's removal. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a frequent Trump critic, told CBS News he would "definitely consider" impeachment because the president "disregarded his oath of office." Trump allies, including Senator Lindsey Graham and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, however, urged Democrats to shelve any impeachment effort in the name of unity. "Impeaching President Donald Trump with 12 days remaining in his presidency would only serve to further divide the country," said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SAYS MORE HOOSIERS HEEDING PANDEMIC WARNINGS - Fighting the coronavirus pandemic has included fighting disinformation from people who deny that the virus is serious or even exists (Berman, WIBC). Governor Holcomb says one reason the state has published regular updates on the virus’s spread is to make sure people understand how serious it is. One handicap in controlling the virus has been persuading people to wear masks and take other precautions. The state has had a mask mandate since July, but without enforcement provisions. Holcomb says the three-month surge in cases and hospitalizations has prompted more people to follow health recommendations. He suggests some people weren’t virus deniers, but were “shy” about asking those around them to wear masks or take other precautions. At this point, he says, a growing number of Hoosiers have seen the virus strike people close to them.

 

REVENUE: DECEMBER REPORT - The monthly revenue estimates are based on the December 16, 2020 revenue forecast which considers revenue developments and the economic outlook presented on that date (Howey Politics Indiana). This includes previously discussed changes in tax deadlines, payment timing, as well as federal and state policy actions. Information on the latest forecast is available at https://www.in.gov/sba/2837.htm

 

General Fund revenues for December totaled $1,457.8 million, which is $4.9 million (0.3%) above estimate based on the December 16, 2020 revenue forecast but $73.6 million (4.8%) below revenue in December 2019. Total monthly General Fund revenues are better interpreted relative to the current year monthly estimate in December due to individual income taxes, specifically withholdings, being relatively inflated in December 2019 because of the 5 Fridays effect. The following section on individual income taxes provides more details. Regarding the monthly performance, slightly better than expected monthly collections from sales tax, individual income taxes and corporate adjusted gross income tax outweighed lower than expected monthly collections in gaming taxes and other revenues. As of the end of November 2020, General Fund revenues were $901.2 million above the December 2019 forecast mostly due to nearly $900 million of income tax payments estimated to have been deferred from FY 2020 to FY2021 due to the alignment of Indiana’s tax filing and payment due dates with the federal deferral to July 15. Additionally, an estimated $50 million of individual income tax payments, attributable to taxes due in FY 2020 for recent federal policy actions

on unemployment insurance benefits, were collected in August of FY 2021.

 

Sales tax collections totaled $718.2 million for December, which is $4.0 million (0.6%) above the monthly estimate and $31.2 million (4.5%) above revenue in December 2019. Monthly collections attributable to sales tax excluding gasoline use tax were $7.3 million above the current year monthly estimate and $36.9 million above prior year actuals. The December performance continues to show a positive trend relative to prior year actuals, following an 8 percent year-over year growth for the period of July to November. December monthly collections, which mostly reflect November economic activity, grew by about 5.5 percent. In comparison, relative to prior year actuals, monthly collections grew by about 15.7 percent in July, 7.8

percent in August, 2.5 percent in September, 8.5 percent in October and 8.6 percent in November.

 

ISDH: SATURDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health Saturday announced that 6,045 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 558,560 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. A total of 8,595 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 75 from the previous day. Another 371 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days. To date, 2,738,914 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 2,724,389 on Friday. A total of 6,061,499 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

 

ISDH: FRIDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health Friday announced that 6,199 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 552,594 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. A total of 8,521 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 69 from the previous day. Another 371 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days. To date, 2,724,389 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 2,694,585 on Thursday. A total of 6,005,403 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL RELEASES FINAL REPORT - Attorney General Curtis Hill today published a report outlining the Office of the Attorney General’s accomplishments during his last full year in office (Howey Politics Indiana). “Serving as Indiana’s 43rd attorney general has been the greatest professional honor of my life,” Attorney General Hill said. “I am immensely proud of the work we have accomplished over the last four years – work that, in 2020, went undeterred even as the coronavirus pandemic altered our lives. Thank you for allowing us to serve you, Hoosiers.”

 

NFL: BILLS EDGE OUT COLTS -  Frustrated, fresh off of a heartbreaking playoff loss, Philip Rivers kept thinking about that fourth down at the end of the first half. Not Frank Reich’s decision to go for it. The throw that floated just a little too far for Michael Pittman Jr. and bounced off of the rookie’s fingertips (IndyStar). “I just barely missed him,” Rivers said. “Pittman’s open. It’s a foot too far, or it’s 17-7 and they’re in trouble.” In the immediate aftermath of a 27-24 loss to a heavily-favored Buffalo Bills team that’s widely considered to be one of two teams among the class of the AFC, the decisions Reich made that didn’t work took center stage: a toss instead of a dive on the goal line, going for it instead of taking the points on the next play, going for two in the second half and a questionable challenge that cost the Colts a timeout they’d later need. Putting all the blame on the Colts’ head coach absolves the roster of a litany of mistakes and missed opportunities.

 

NBA: PACERS TO ALLOW FANS LATER THIS MONTH - The Indiana Pacers on Friday said the team will once again be able to welcome fans to home games—on a highly restricted basis because of the pandemic—starting in late January (IBJ). The team said it will limit sales to about 1,000 tickets for each of the four home games scheduled from Jan. 20 to Jan. 25 and then “consider gradual increases for games after that.” Tickets will go on sale Jan. 19 at www.pacers.com. The team could allow up to about 4,500 fans under guidelines issued by the Marion County Health Department, which is limiting attendance at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to 25% capacity.

 

NBA: SUNS DOWN PACERS -  Mikal Bridges found his shooting touch quickly, then finished with a flourish (AP). The third-year forward scored a career-high 34 points and made the 3-pointer to cap the decisive scoring spurt midway through the fourth quarter, helping the Phoenix Suns pull away from Indiana for a 125-117 victory Saturday.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP WON'T ATTEND BIDEN INAUGURATION - President Donald Trump said he would not attend his successor's swearing-in, a day after his top aides cajoled him into releasing a video conceding he would soon be departing office (CNN). "To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump tweeted, making formal what many had long assumed: that Trump would eschew the traditional step of personally demonstrating the peaceful hand-off of power to President-elect Joe Biden. He'll be the first outgoing president to skip his replacement's inauguration in more than 150 years.

 

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE TO ATTEND BIDEN INAUGURATION - Vice President Mike Pence will attend President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration on Jan. 20, an aide to the vice president said on Saturday, a split with President Trump’s decision not to go (New York Times). The adviser revealed the decision four days after Mr. Pence hunkered for cover at the Capitol complex as a mob of Trump supporters who had attended a rally with the president overtook the building during the certification of the Electoral College votes. Mr. Trump confirmed on Friday that he would not be attending the inauguration. Mr. Pence had always been likelier to attend the inauguration than Mr. Trump, who was an almost certain to skip the ceremony. But after the events at the Capitol on Wednesday that left five people dead, Mr. Pence’s decision was expected. Mr. Biden said this week that he was happy not to have Mr. Trump there, but that Mr. Pence was “welcome” and that it would help with the transition.

 

WHITE HOUSE: FLAGS NOT LOWERED FOR SLAIN CAPITOL COP - President Donald Trump has not ordered flags to be flown at half-mast over federal government buildings in honor of Brian D. Sicknick, the police officer killed in the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday (MSN). An aide to Vice President Mike Pence told The New York Times that while Pence has contacted Sicknick's family to offer his condolences, Trump has not contacted them. Flags over the US Capitol were flown at half-mast in honor of Sicknick Saturday, while the White House did not lower its flag.

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SELF-PARDON COULD BRING LEGAL EXPOSURE - Any move by President Donald Trump to pardon himself in his final days in office could backfire, legal experts say, inviting the incoming administration to challenge the unprecedented action by filing criminal charges against him (Bloomberg News). Trump has raised the possibility of a self-pardon in recent days as calls grow for him to face prosecution for inciting the U.S. Capitol siege that resulted in five deaths and sent members of Congress scrambling for safety. But though the president has vast authority to grant clemency to others, a self-pardon would be a novel assertion of executive power that both Democrats and Republicans might want the Supreme Court to strike down. “It would almost set himself up as a sitting duck to be prosecuted,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor. “It takes the edge off the idea that you’re going after somebody just because they were a political opponent in the prior administration.”

 

WHITE HOUSE: REPUBLICANS URGE TRUMP NOT TO RUN IN 2024 - After he lost his reelection bid in November, Donald Trump immediately told allies he planned to run for president again in 2024, preparing to announce as soon as Inauguration Day (Politico). He began backing off the idea after learning that running would require him to release a new round of financial documents that would make him vulnerable to his ongoing criminal and civil investigations and lawsuits, according to two Republicans close to Trump. A growing number of Republicans hold Trump responsible for inciting the deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. The clashes came hours after they blamed Trump for a pair of losses in Georgia that will leave the Senate in Democratic control. In interviews, more than half a dozen Republicans who had supported or worked for Trump say the president isn’t likely to run again, though he may tease it. If Trump changes his mind again and chooses to run, some said they would urge him not to, while others hope he’d be talked out of it. “I think nothing is going to happen,” said a Trump friend. “He won’t be around in 2024. He’s not going to run. He’s going to fuck around and say he’s going to run. … He’ll tease. I don’t think he’s ever going to say ‘I won’t run.’ He just won’t run."

 

JUSTICE: 13 CHARGED AFTER CAPITOL RIOT - The United States Department of Justice said 13 individuals have been charged so far in federal court related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (WUSA). In addition to those who have been charged, authorities said that additional complaints have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.

 

MEDIA: PARLER LOSING INTERNET PLATFORM - Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives, now finds itself virtually homeless on the internet as Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) have all booted it from their platforms in a span of a little more than 24 hours (CNN). Amazon will remove Parler from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services, Sunday evening, effectively kicking it off of the public internet after mounting pressure from the public and Amazon employees. The decision, which goes into force on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, will shut down Parler's website and app until it can find a new hosting provider. BuzzFeed News was first to report the move. Parler is an alternative social network popular with conservatives and has been heavily used by supporters of President Donald Trump, including some who participated in Wednesday's US Capitol unrest.

 

MEDIA: PARLER CEO TOOK DOWN PENCE THREAT - The CEO of Parler, a social media platform popular among conservatives, told Mediaite that it removed a post from attorney Lin Wood calling for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed by "firing squads" (CNN). "Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules were taken down," John Matze told Mediaite, specifying that the post, or parley, about the "firing squads" was among those removed. Wood, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, told CNN, "I made NO threat. I do not believe in violence. I do believe in the rule of law." "I have reliable evidence that Pence has a engaged in acts of treason. My comments were rhetorical hyperbole. Any journalist should understand that concept. If my information is accurate, law enforcement will address what punishment, if any, should be administered to Pence as they do with all criminals," Wood said.

 

KENTUCKY: ARMED GROUP AT STATEHOUSE - Days after a violent riot in support of President Donald Trump led to a lock down of the U.S. Capitol, a group of Kentucky protesters gathered outside the commonwealth's state Capitol Saturday for a "patriot" rally (Louisville Courier-Journal). A photo advertising the event, posted in the "United Kentucky" Facebook group on Jan. 2, said it would be "the biggest patriot rally the state of Kentucky has ever seen." About 100 protesters, many of whom were armed, showed up around noon to stand outside the Kentucky Capitol while both chambers of the General Assembly were in session.

 

Local

 

COLUMBUS: MAYOR LIENHOOP SEEKS TO 'RE-ENGAGE' - Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and city officials hope to advance several projects this year and “re-engage” with the Envision Columbus downtown strategic development plan, while allowing that much of the year, if not all of it, will likely be “dominated by COVID-related issues” (East, Columbus Republic) City officials are making plans under the assumption that the local area may start to see hints of life transitioning to a new post-pandemic normal as early as July, though Lienhoop said it largely depends on how the pandemic progresses and how quickly vaccines can be distributed to the community. City operations have not been completely disrupted, but they have been impacted. Trash continues to be picked up, roads continued to be fixed, law enforcement and first responders continue to operate, although city buildings are currently closed to the public.

 

ELWOOD: COUNCIL BALKS AT WOLF/COYOTE DOGS — Council members in the central Indiana city of Elwood have unanimously adopted an amendment to a chicken and livestock ordinance that restricts the ownership of wolf-dog and coyote-dog hybrids (AP). The change was brought before the council Monday by Elwood Animal Control Officer Alex Gray, who said believes there are two families that own wolf-dog hybrids in the area, The Herald Bulletin reported. Gray told councilmembers that he wasn’t familiar with the hybrids until 2019, when he was called about a pet that had been killed. After a second attack against a cat owned by the neighbor of the hybrids’ owner in early December, the council moved to amend the ordinance.

 

DELAWARE COUNTY: COUNCILMAN UNDER FIRE FOR FACEBOOK POST - Members of the public have expressed outrage and called for Republican Delaware County Councilman Ryan Webb to step down following a post he made on his personal Facebook page on Wednesday regarding the pro-Trump rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol (Ohlenkamp, Muncie Star Press). Webb is one of the newest county council members, having been to only one meeting in his official role since taking office on Jan. 1, 2021. The councilman, in a post that had garnered more than 230 comments before being hidden Thursday evening, stated in part: "In 1776 those revolting against the government were also called traitors, terrorists, and trouble makers. In 2021 we now call those same men our forefathers."

 

MONROE COUNTY: PUBLIC VACCINE CENTER ESTABLISHED - Monroe County is beginning vaccination of non-medical personnel and front line workers (Indiana Public Media). The Monroe County Convention Center will be the site of a vaccination clinic starting Jan. 11. It’s open to residents 80 years and older.   People can sign up by logging onto ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. "If the online system is very busy, they will put you in kind of a waiting room, until you are in the queue to be served next,” said Monroe County Health Administrator Penny Caudill.