TRUMP RESTATES CASE FOR WALL: President Trump in a prime-time address Tuesday said a wall along the southern border is key to national security, as he called for lawmakers to fund it and end a partial government shutdown that is days away from becoming the longest in U.S. history (Wall Street Journal). In the televised address from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump’s first in his nearly two years as president, he emphasized what he said was support for wall funding from law-enforcement officials, who he said requested the more than $5 billion for the barrier that Mr. Trump is seeking. A wall “is absolutely critical to border security,” Mr. Trump said, in a nine-minute speech. “It’s also what professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Democratic congressional leaders, issued an immediate televised response to the president, rejecting the idea of a wall as unnecessary and accusing Mr. Trump of stoking fear to rally support for his cause. “President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government,” Mrs. Pelosi said. Mr. Schumer said Democrats are united with the president on the need for stronger border security, but said: “We sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it.”

WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? If you had the word “crisis” in your presidential address drinking game, my sympathies. In President Trump’s first televised address from the Oval Office, and the rebuttal from Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer, there was a lot of crisis talk: “Crisis of the heart,” “Manufacturing a crisis.” The president cast the crisis as a dire, dangerous wave of immigration coming across the Mexican border. For the Democrats, the crisis was the extended government shutdown, precipitated by Mr. Trump’s insistence on funding for his promised border wall (Poniewozik, New York Times). What there was not, after two days of media drama, was a convincing argument for why this needed to be a prime-time event at all. There was no news. There was no new argument. There was just a wall of sound, and the American viewing audience paid for it. Nor was there much compelling television, unless you’re an avid maker of internet memes. This was not a friendly setting for either party. The Oval Office, which can confer gravitas on a typical president, simply saps this atypical one. Mr. Trump comes alive playing off a crowd, like the ones he drove wild with promises that Mexico would pay for the wall. Plopped behind a desk, sniffling, reading sleepily from a TelePrompTer, he was a comedian playing an empty room. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer, meanwhile, shared a lectern in a hallway, side by side, one glaring as the other spoke, looking unfortunately like a cross between Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and the twins from “The Shining.” So what did all this accomplish? Well, it got Mr. Trump on TV, his true home.

TRUMP DIDN'T WANT TO DO THE ADDRESS: Privately, President Trump "dismissed his own new strategy as pointless," the N.Y. Times' Peter Baker reports (and Axios' Jonathan Swan confirms): "In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas [for a border visit tomorrow], but was talked into it by advisers." "It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it," Trump said. "The trip was merely a photo opportunity, he said. 'But,' he added, gesturing at his communications aides Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, 'these people behind you say it’s worth it.'"

CRACKS APPEAR IN GOP SUPPORT: Divisions grew among congressional Republicans on Tuesday over President Trump’s shutdown strategy, as a number of lawmakers expressed consternation over the possibility that he’d declare a national emergency to build his border wall, while others voiced some support for Democrats’ plans to reopen most of the government without the wall money Trump has demanded. Ahead of a nationally televised address by Trump, Vice President Pence lobbied House Republicans behind closed doors to stand with the president, reminding them that Trump would not sign any spending bills passed by Democrats unless he gets the wall funding he wants and urging them to reject the Democratic strategy (Washington Post). But in a potentially perilous sign for Trump on the 18th day of the partial shutdown, cracks were multiplying within GOP ranks even before Pence ventured to Capitol Hill late Tuesday. The dissension was especially evident over whether Trump should declare a national emergency that would allow him to circumvent Congress and draw on military construction funds to build his wall, with some normally reliable supporters voicing concerns over the approach. “Right now, I don’t support that. We need to go through the system,” said conservative Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.). “I think there’s better ways to do it.”

HOUSE COMMITTEE TO HEAR DEVON'S TEACHER PAY BILL TODAY: The House Education Committee on Wednesday is set to hear State Rep. Dale DeVon’s (R-Granger) legislation that could raise teacher pay and provide critical support to new educators (Howey Politics Indiana). DeVon said House Bill 1003 would incentivize schools to direct more state dollars to teachers. This bill sets a target for public schools to spend at least 85 percent of state funding on instructional expenses, which could free up more than $350 million in new resources for teachers. DeVon said these new resources would be enough for a 5 percent salary increase or more. “In order to drive additional dollars to teachers, this legislation encourages schools to prioritize teacher pay,” DeVon said. “By improving teacher pay and providing critical support for our educators, we will equip them with the resources and skills they need to educate the leaders of tomorrow.” According to DeVon, teacher pay decisions are made entirely at the local level through collective bargaining and budgeting. DeVon said many schools’ operational and overhead costs have ballooned, taking critical dollars away from educators. DeVon said that most schools spend about 80 percent of their state funding on instructional expenses. If schools meet the new goal of spending at least 85 percent on instructional expenses, millions of dollars could be available for Hoosier classrooms.

HOLCOMB STATE OF STATE ADDRESS JAN. 15: Gov. Eric J. Holcomb will deliver his third State of the State Address Tuesday, January 15, 2019 in the chamber of the Indiana House of Representatives. The address will be broadcast live statewide.

PENCE TRIES TO EXPLAIN ANOTHER TRUMP LIE: Vice President Mike Pence is pretty familiar by now with cleaning up messes created by President Donald Trump's tendency to say things that have zero factual basis. And yet he doesn't appear to be getting any better at it (Cillizza, CNN). Take Pence's failed attempt Tuesday morning to explain away Trump's truth-free claim that past presidents had told him that building a border wall was necessary. When Trump made the statement -- "this should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me. And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it" -- last Friday during a Rose Garden press conference, it seemed odd on its face. A few calls to the offices of the living presidents revealed the falsehood. All four ex-presidents said they had not spoken with Trump about the wall at all, which makes it impossible for them to have told him that they knew he was doing the right thing with the wall -- and that they should have done the same thing. Enter Pence, who was dispatched by the administration to hit the morning talk show circuit in hopes of tilling the soil in advance of Trump's prime time address on immigration at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday. Asked by NBC's Hallie Jackson to specifically name which president Trump was referring to about the wall, Pence punted. "I know the President has said that that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents. I know I've seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security, the importance of addressing the issue of illegal immigration."

SHUTDOWN CUTS OFF FARM BAILOUT: The government shutdown has stalled President Trump’s program to send billions of dollars to farmers hurt by the trade war with China, as the Agriculture Department office responsible for administering the payouts is closed for lack of funding (Washington Post). On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the department has extended the deadline for farmers to apply for bailout payments. The application window was slated to close Jan. 15, but Perdue said Tuesday that the deadline will be extended, at minimum, weeks after the shutdown ends. The extension is one of a string of actions taken by the administration to limit the pain inflicted by the federal shutdown, even as the extended lapse in funding brings to a halt an increasing range of government functions. The move also reflects the administration’s attempt to protect a U.S. agriculture community hurt by the downturn in commodity prices caused in part by Trump’s trade war with China. Soybean-producing counties went for Trump by a margin of more than 12 percent, a Washington Post analysis last year found. The shutdown caused the Agriculture Department to run out of money on Dec. 28 to keep Farm Service Agency offices open.

RUSSIAN LAWYER WHO MET WITH TRUMP CAMPAIGN INDICTED: The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016 has been charged with obstruction of justice stemming from her role in a federal money-laundering case, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court (Wall Street Journal). Manhattan federal prosecutors allege the lawyer, Natalya Veselnitskaya, attempted to thwart an investigation into a tax-fraud scheme involving Russian officials, an influential Russian businessman and an investment firm. Prosecutors say her efforts included working secretly with a Russian prosecutor to draft a response by the Russian government to U.S. investigators. The indictment unsealed Tuesday is unrelated to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, but suggests Ms. Veselnitskaya had close ties to senior Russian government officials and at times sought to advance Russia’s interests in her dealings with U.S. officials. Reached for comment, Ms. Veselnitskaya said she was on vacation and hadn’t yet read the indictment. The indictment offers fresh details about the extent of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s involvement with the Russian government in the years before she met with top Trump campaign officials, who have said she wasn’t formally working for the Russian government at the time of the Trump Tower meeting. Ms. Veselnitskaya participated in a June 2016 meeting with top Trump advisers—including Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son—that has come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

CHINA OFFERS TRADE DEAL, BUT ...: China is buying American soybeans again and has cut tariffs on American cars. It is offering to keep its hands off valuable corporate secrets, while also allowing foreign investors into more industries than ever before (New York Times). Beijing hopes all of that will be enough to let President Trump declare victory and end the trade war between the two largest economies. But the offer combines some real concessions, like lower tariffs, with nebulous promises, and it will be hard to ensure that China sticks to its commitments. That could make it a tough sell in Washington. The Trump administration’s trade hawks are still pushing for a lot more, while even the doves fret that the new promises need effective enforcement to make sure that China follows through, according to people with a detailed knowledge of American policymaking. Many American officials and businesses complain that China has long wiggled out of commitments — accusations that China denies. And the more hawkish wing of the administration contends that Beijing’s assurances have been so vague that it is hard to discern any meaningful progress, a position some analysts support.

ERDOGAN SNUBS BOLTON: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey denounced the White House national security adviser John R. Bolton for comments he made ahead of his arrival in the Turkish capital and refused to meet him on Tuesday, making any agreement between the two NATO partners over a United States withdrawal from Syria increasingly difficult (New York Times). Mr. Erdogan said Mr. Bolton had made a “grave mistake” when he said that Turkey must agree to protect Syria’s Kurds in the event of an American withdrawal. “It is not possible for us to swallow the message Bolton gave from Israel,” Mr. Erdogan said in a speech to political party members in Parliament. Turkey was only opposed to Kurdish militant groups and not ordinary Kurds, he insisted.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Last night's presidential prime time folly that broke no news and created no new dynamic while the Democratic response was a sad, sad specter. It reminded me of the 2016 question posed here with Donald Trump facing Hillary Clinton: Out of 325 million Americans, are these two the best we can come up with? The Schumer/Pelosi response simply becomes Exhibit A that the loyal opposition needs to shift to a new generation. It was all very depressing. - Brian A. Howey


CARPENTER ELECTED MARION COUNTY GOP CHAIR:  Precinct Committeemen and Vice Precinct Committeemen elected Bryce Carpenter to serve as the next Chairman of the Marion County Republican Party (Howey Politics Indiana). Upon being elected, Bryce said, “I want to thank the three other candidates who ran today. I would also like to thank all of the precinct committeemen and vice precinct committeemen who overwhelmingly supported me. I am humbled by your decision and excited to get to work. Our party is more unified than ever. We are ready to make 2019 one of the best years in our party’s history by winning back the Mayor’s office and taking control of the Council.”

GARY COUNCILWOMAN TO CHALLENGE MAYOR FREEMAN-WILSON: Gary Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade — a frequent, outspoken critic of the current administration — has announced she is running for mayor (Cross, NWI Times). A controversial figure on the City Council representing the 6th District, Sparks-Wade told The Times Tuesday afternoon she believes it's time to "elect leaders who have the people's interests in mind."  Sparks-Wade's entry into the race will pit her against the city's current leader, Karen Freeman-Wilson, and a likely long list of yet-to-be-announced challengers. The two have butted heads for years on a wide range of topics, including the cash-strapped city's finances and approaches to governing. "I believe Karen has failed this city. I believe that she puts cronies above taxpayers and it’s evident in her budget decisions," Sparks-Wade said.  Sparks-Wade ran unsuccessfully for the mayoral seat in 2011 as an independent. This time, she said, she will run as a Democrat.

HOWARD COMMISSIONER TO ENTER KOKOMO MAYORAL RACE: Howard County Commissioner Tyler Moore will be holding a press conference at 3 p.m. today at the Gingerbread House Bakery (Howey Politics Indiana). During the conference, Moore will be making an important announcement concerning his role in the upcoming elections and the future of Kokomo.

General Assembly

DELANEY CALLS FOR SCRAPPING SBOE: State Rep. Ed Delaney has filed a bill to eliminate the Indiana State Board of Education, saying the board doesn't serve a "useful function." "I'd get rid of them today, if it was up to me," said Delaney, an Indianapolis Democrat (Herron, IndyStar). House Bill 1147 would eliminate the 11-member board and transfer its responsibilities to the Indiana Department of Education. Delaney first introduced the idea last year in an amendment to a different bill, but his proposal was not adopted. He heard positive feedback, he said, and decided to file it as a bill this year. "There were Republicans in this building who thought I was right," he said.  It comes just months after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick announced that she would not seek a second term as the state's top education official — in part, because of the challenging relationship between her department and the board. “As I’ve said in the past, Indiana’s governance structure is complicated and creates unnecessary challenges," McCormick said Tuesday. "With Speaker Bosma already calling for a bill to eliminate the election of Indiana’s state superintendent position, this is an opportunity to address the challenges of that structure."

HATE CRIMES ADVOCATES NOT HAPPY WITH BILL: About a dozen Indiana lawmakers and several community and business leaders affiliated with a coalition that is advocating for a state hate crimes law to be passed this year made it clear Tuesday afternoon that they think protected classes need to be spelled out in the bills considered by the legislature (Erdody, IBJ). The advocates expressed their opinions at a campaign kickoff event at the Indiana Statehouse just days after Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, filed a bias crimes bill that would not specify any protected classes, such as race or gender. Steuerwald has said he thinks that’s the only way to ensure everyone is covered in the legislation.. The group pushing for hate crimes legislation, Indiana Forward, includes representatives from the United Way of Central Indiana and the Indy Chamber, plus a variety of businesses, not-for-profits, faith groups, and colleges and universities. Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana, said at the event Tuesday that the law “must be explicit and include a comprehensive list of protected classes.” Otherwise, Murtlow said, the law would not be effective and could run into issues when it comes to enforcing it. “These very basic principles must be met to garner the full support of our coalition members and to remove Indiana from the list of five states without a recognized bias crimes law,” Murtlow said.

SEN. HEAD FILES SCHOOL BUS SAFETY BILL: State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) announced during a press conference that he filed legislation that would address school bus safety issues in Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). The bill would increase the penalty from a Class A infraction to a Class C misdemeanor for a driver who fails to stop when a school bus arm is extended; from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor for a driver who recklessly passes a school bus when its arm is extended; and from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony for a driver who recklessly passes a school bus when its arm is extended and causes injury. The legislation would also require the court to suspend driving privileges for first-time offenders for 90 days and one year for repeat offenders. “Our community has suffered great tragedy recently, as four children lost their lives in accidents involving school buses,” Head said. “No family should ever have to experience a loss of this kind, and I am hopeful this legislation, if passed, would help prevent similar accidents from occurring by encouraging drivers to slow down, follow the rules of the road and keep the safety of our children in mind.”

REPS. JORDAN, PRESSEL COMMENT ON BUS BILL: Reps. Jack Jordan (R-Bremen) and Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), who also attended the press conference, echoed Sen. Head’s remarks (Howey Politics Indiana). “The tragedy our community recently endured is absolutely heartbreaking,” Jordan said. “It is unimaginable what these families experienced. As we continue to grieve and remember these young children, we are looking at ways to increase school bus safety and prevent this from happening to other Hoosier families.”

MOTHER BACKS BUS SAFETY BILL: The mother of three Fulton County children fatally struck while crossing a northern Indiana highway to board their school bus is backing a move for tougher penalties against drivers who pass buses with extended stop arms (Davies, AP). Brittany Ingle said during a Statehouse news conference Tuesday that she is fighting to prevent other parents from facing the same tragedy. Ingle's 9-year-old daughter and twin 6-year-old sons were killed in the Oct. 30 pre-dawn collision on Indiana 25 near Rochester. The driver who hit the children told authorities she didn't realize she was approaching a stopped school bus. She faces three counts of reckless homicide.

BEHNING TO HEAR TEACHER BILL: The House Education Committee on Wednesday will consider State Rep. Bob Behning’s (R-Indianapolis) bill that would provide more career opportunities for educators (Howey Politics Indiana). “For many teachers, they see the only way to advance is to become an administrator,” Behning said. “To keep highly qualified educators in the classroom doing what they love, these proposed career ladders provide critical support to new teachers and additional opportunities for veteran educators to share their experience and grow professionally.” Behning said House Bill 1008 would establish career ladders and mentorship programs where experienced educators help guide new teachers during their first years in the classroom. The House Education Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the House Chamber. House Bill 1008 is eligible for committee amendments and public testimony.

LEGISLATORS RETHINKING PENALTIES FOR UNINSURED DRIVERS: Legislators are rethinking a harsher penalty for driving without insurance (Berman, WIBC). Four years ago, Indiana jacked up the fee for uninsured drivers to get their licenses back. Indianapolis Senator Greg Taylor says he voted for it, but says instead of encouraging people to get insurance, the change has meant more people are just driving without a license because they can't afford the fee. Taylor's proposed a temporary cut in the fee to help people straighten out their records, but a Senate committee is considering a permanent rollback. You'd pay $50 for a first offense instead of $250. Repeat offenders would owe a maximum of $200 instead of $1,000. Taylor says the high fee is a hardship for people already struggling with finances. And Indianapolis agencies who work with newly released prison inmates to help them make a fresh start say it's particularly difficult for their clients, who have to be able to get to probation appointments and required drug tests. Lena Hackett with the Marion County Reentry Coalition says ex-offenders are likely to weigh the possible consequences and take their chances on driving without a license.


BUCSHON REACTS TO TRUMP ADDRESS: U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) released the following statement after President Trump addressed the nation regarding the crisis at our southern border (Howey Politics Indiana): “The crisis along our southern border has gone on too long. With 60,000 immigrants arriving at our southern border each month, it is overwhelming an already broken system that was previously facing a years-long backlog for legal immigration even before this crisis began. Additionally, the criminals and drugs that are flowing across our southern border and into America have a devastating effect on our communities. Last year, 1.7 million pounds of narcotics entered through our southern border, and each day more than 100 Americans are killed in drug related overdoses." 

FIRST BRAUN BILL WOULD FREEZE PAY DURING SHUTDOWN: Members of Congress would not be paid during government shutdowns under legislation introduced Tuesday by Indiana's new U.S. senator (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Republican Sen. Mike Braun's first bill, the No Budget, No Pay Act, would prohibit compensation for federal lawmakers unless they approve annual budget resolutions and all appropriations bills by the Oct. 1 start of every fiscal year. The pay suspension would last until spending bills are passed, and retroactive pay would be banned. Parts of the federal government have been closed since Dec. 22 after the House and Senate failed to reach agreement on continuing federal funding. Braun, who was elected Nov. 6 and took office last week, introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. “In the private sector folks roll up their sleeves and get to work on day one, and that's exactly what we're doing by introducing 'No Budget, No Pay' legislation,” Braun said in a statement. “There are consequences for unfinished work in the business world, and considering it's Congress's job to pass budgets and spending bills, it's time we hold Washington to the same standard.”

YOUNG WRITES HILL OP-ED ON YEMEN: U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) penned an op-ed for The Hill newspaper today highlighting the need for American leadership in Yemen where nearly 16 million people are on the verge of starvation – almost two and a half times the population of Indiana – and terrorist groups have exploited the war and humanitarian crisis to expand their influence and threaten the United States. In response, Senator Young writes that the United States must use its influence to persuade Saudi Arabia to pursue an urgent diplomatic solution. “While the situation in Yemen is daunting, the good news is that the United States is not helpless in the face of this man-made crisis. If Congress and the administration will utilize all available leverage, we can effectively encourage Riyadh to eliminate humanitarian obstacles, negotiate in good faith, and support a sustainable political solution. That is what I have tried to do since March 2017, and that is what I intend to keep doing. Our national security interests and our humanitarian principles demand nothing less,” Senator Young wrote in the op-ed.

HOUSE PASSES BROOKS PANDEMIC BILL: The U.S. House voted to pass H.R. 269, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 (PAHPA), a bill introduced by Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA18) along with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ06) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR02) (Howey Politics Indiana). PAHPA is critically important legislation to ensure our nation is better prepared for and able to keep Americans safer in response to natural disasters or biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats to our public health and national security. “Biological threats, such as Ebola, smallpox or the anthrax attacks on Congress after September 11, 2001, can devastate communities, whether occurring naturally or manufactured into weapons of mass destruction by nation states or terrorist organizations,” said Brooks. “PAHPA improves our federal response to public health and national security threats by working to close the gaps in our emergency preparedness and response plans. It ensures we have more medical professionals trained to keep people safe in the event of a natural disaster or if an attack were to take place. It also ensures equipment, such as hazmat suits, masks and vaccines, is available in our Strategic National Stockpiles located across the country. PAHPA was first signed into law in 2006, and I am proud this reauthorization bill reflects extensive feedback from medical and public health preparedness and response stakeholders so we can better prepare for and combat the known threats of today and the unknown threats of tomorrow.”

MURKOWSKI CALLS FOR END OF SHUTDOWN: Patience is beginning to wear thin among Senate Republicans for a prolonged government shutdown, with a growing number at risk of revolting if the fight over funding President Donald Trump's border wall drags out indefinitely (CNN). "I think we can walk and chew gum," GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said on Tuesday, adding she's "amenable to a process that would allow for those appropriations bills that have concluded some time ago that they be enacted into law -- whether it's the Department of Interior or the IRS. I'd like to see that."

ROMNEY GETTING CHILLY RECEPTION FROM GOP SENATORS: Sen. James Lankford will occasionally take issue with President Donald Trump’s tactics and rhetoric (Politico). But he’s not sure what Mitt Romney was thinking with his biting condemnation of the president before he was even sworn into office. “It kind of felt like the same thing Trump does to everybody, Romney does to Trump. Smack you, and then want to negotiate,” said Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma. “It is funny to me that while he was complaining about President Trump’s personal attacks, he was personally attacking President Trump. I don’t know if he sees the irony in it." When Romney heads into his first Republican Conference meeting later this week, he might face an awkward reception from many of his fellow Republican senators. Some are scratching their heads about why Romney ripped Trump in a Washington Post op-ed; others are angry about reopening an intraparty divide.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB PAYS TRIBUTE TO TYLER TRENT - Hundreds of dignitaries, sports figures and other people have attended the funeral for Purdue University superfan and cancer activist Tyler Trent (AP). In a sanctuary of an Indianapolis church featuring many items of sports memorabilia collected by Trent, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb read a message Tuesday evening from Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. Holcomb said the state and the nation were inspired by Trent’s courage and bravery fighting the bone cancer that took his life Jan. 1. Many speakers cited Trent’s deep faith. Purdue quarterback David Blough said Trent would want the evening “to be all about Jesus.” Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm attended with many members of the Purdue football team wearing black jerseys.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH SCHEDULE - Below is Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch's public schedule for Jan. 9 - 11, 2019. Wednesday, Jan. 9: Crouch speaks at US 31 Coalition Legislative Day Luncheon, 1:00 p.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 12:20 p.m., ET, Columbia Club, 10th Floor Foyer; Crouch speaks at OCRA award ceremony, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 1:35 p.m., ET Indiana Statehouse, North Atrium; Thursday, Jan. 10: Crouch attends Martin Luther King Jr., Celebration, Noon - 1:30 p.m., ET, Indiana Statehouse; Friday, Jan. 11: Crouch speaks at Hams for Hunger donation, Noon - 12:30 p.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 12:15 p.m., ET, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, 3737 Waldemere Ave., Indianapolis; Crouch volunteers at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., ET, 3737 Waldemere Ave., Indianapolis.

INDOT: PUBLIC TO BE SURVEYED ON NEW EVANSVILLE BRIDGE - Transportation officials are requesting another round of input from Indiana and Kentucky residents on the I-69 Ohio River Crossing Project (Indiana Public Media). Last year the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet considered three proposals for an I-69 bridge that would connect Evansville to Western Kentucky. Each option is slated to cost over $1 billion and require tolling to fund the project. In a report last month, the group recommended Central Alternative 1, the cheapest bridge option at nearly $1.5 billion. KYTC and the Indiana Department of Transportation are hosting a second public input session in Evansville Tuesday to address comments and questions from residents on the preferred plan. The Project team will present a report of the recommended route, discuss updates to the proposal since past public comment sessions and present potential tolling options. The hearing is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Evansville Old National Events Plaza. The public can also submit comments on the proposal online through February 8.

EDUCATION: STUDENT DEBT TO BE FORGIVEN - A national settlement with the Career Education Corporation means about $5.6 million worth of Indiana student debt will be forgiven (Indiana Public Media). The settlement comes after a five-year investigation of CEC’s practices by Attorneys General in multiple states. Betsy DeNardi is the director and chief counsel of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. She says the for-profit education company allegedly conveyed inaccurate information to its students, including about course credits and costs. "Some of the programs they were offering didn’t have the appropriate accreditation you need to work in that field and they failed to tell prospective students that," DeNardi says. About 2,700 Indiana students were affected. The education company primarily provides online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University.

EDUCATION: 1,100 IU STUDENTS FORCED TO LIVE OFF CAMPUS - An estimated 1,100 returning Indiana University students who signed on-campus housing contracts for the 2019-20 school year will be living off campus. The change comes from a decision to expedite renovations of Foster and McNutt residence halls in response to problems with mold (Bloomington Herald-Times). Returning students who planned to live on campus will have the option to live in university-managed apartment complexes off campus. Like in residence halls, the apartment complexes will have residence assistance staff. There will be a range of cost options comparable to on-campus housing, according to a notice from IU Residential Programs and Services.

TSA: INDY WORKERS FRET SHUTDOWN - Some Transportation Security Administration workers are frustrated, overwhelmed, and calling out sick because they aren’t getting paid (WIBC). At least that's what TSA workers at Indianapolis International Airport have told WISH-TV. They wished to remain anonymous since they say they were told in a "briefing" that they were not allowed to talk about the partial government shutdown. That statement by their superiors has them fearing for their jobs if they do talk about it.

DNR: PARKS DOMINATED PHOTO CONTEST - If you’re looking for great photos as well as shares and likes on your social media feed, Indiana’s state park properties are the place to be (Howey Politics Indiana). That was the overall result of the Indiana Office of Tourism’s Insta-Indiana online voting contest. State park properties took the top four spots, five of the top six, and seven of the top 10. The contest polled voters on which places in Indiana are most instagrammable. Brown County State Park finished No. 1, with Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run and Clifty Falls state parks finishing second through fourth, respectively. McCormick’s Creek State Park finished in the sixth spot, Patoka Lake in ninth and Pokagon State Park in 10th. The full list is at

SOIL: CONSERVATION BOARD TO MEET - The State Soil Conservation Board (SSCB) will hold two public meetings at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown (350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis, IN 46225). The first meeting will take place on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET), and the second meeting will occur on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET). The SSCB administers the Clean Water Indiana Fund, which is a water quality-related erosion and sediment reduction program. The SSCB also provides guidance and support to Indiana’s soil and water conservation district leaders as they assist local leadership in the protection of the state’s soil and water resources.

MEDIA: AP'S SLODYSKO DEPARTS - Associated Press reporter Brian Slodysko is leaving the Indianapolis bureau and will be reporting for AP in Washington. His final day was Tuesday.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TO ATTEND CAPITOL HILL LUNCHEON - President Donald Trump will attend a Senate Republican lunch meeting on Wednesday, according to multiple people familiar with the decision (Politico). The rare move comes as the president weighs whether to declare a national emergency to build a border wall amid an impasse with Democrats that's led to an 18-day partial government shutdown.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE CALLS TO DEMOCRATS TO SUPPORT WALL FUNDING - Vice President Mike Pence argued Tuesday that the United States is facing an "undeniable crisis" at its southern border and urged Democrats to negotiate an end to the impasse over President Donald Trump's demand for border wall funding that has led to a partial government shutdown (Washington Post). Pence appeared on three network morning shows, offering a preview of a prime-time address from the Oval Office planned by Trump on Tuesday night in a bid to gain leverage, with the shutdown now in its third week. Pence did not rule out the possibility that Trump would declare a national emergency that could empower him to construct a border wall without congressional approval. But the vice president said repeatedly that the administration is seeking a negotiated solution with Congress. "What I expect the president will do tonight is explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," Pence said on NBC's "Today" show. "He'll explain the need, not just to build a wall, which he's determined to do, but also to provide our Border Patrol with additional resources, humanitarian and medical assistance, new technology. But the Democrats need to come to the table and start negotiating." Democrats have steadfastly resisted Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for wall funding, an impasse that has resulted in the shuttering of agencies that account for about a quarter of the federal workforce. Negotiations over the weekend, led by Pence, resulted in limited progress, according to Democrats and Republicans alike. "You know that we could resolve this in a matter of hours if the Democrats would come to the table and start negotiating in good faith," Pence said on CBS's "This Morning." He added that Trump would use his Oval Office address to "take his case directly to the American people."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - The president will participate in an anti-human trafficking bill signing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in the Oval Office. He will leave the White House at 12:45 p.m. to head to the Capitol to attend the Senate Republican policy lunch. At 3 p.m., the president will meet with congressional leaders in the Situation Room.

DOJ: ROSENSTEIN PLANNING TO LEAVE - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, the President's nominee for attorney general, is confirmed, according to a source familiar with his thinking (CNN). The source said Rosenstein is not being forced out, and he has conveyed his thinking to the White House. Barr's Senate confirmation hearing begins January 15, which means a confirmation vote at the earliest would occur in mid-February. Rosenstein's plans were earlier reported by ABC News. If confirmed, Barr would then oversee the special counsel's Russia investigation.

SCOTUS: MUELLER CASE TURNED DOWN - The Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a mysterious subpoena fight that apparently involved an unidentified foreign-government-owned company and special counsel Robert Mueller (Politico). Last month, the unknown firm asked the high court to block a federal judge’s contempt order and financial penalties for refusing to comply with the subpoena, arguing that the company is immune from U.S. grand jury subpoenas. The company also insisted that complying with the subpoena would violate the law in the firm’s home country. But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court turned down the company’s request to step into the dispute, at least for now. The order in the case came a little more than two weeks after Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary freeze on the contempt order and the sanctions.

MUELLER: MANAFORT SHARED TRUMP POLLING DATA WITH RUSSIAN INTEL - Paul Manafort shared polling data on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign with a Ukrainian associate who has ties to Russian intelligence, and he also met with the colleague in Madrid while working on the presidential campaign, according to a court filing from Manafort’s lawyers published Tuesday (Politico). Manafort, the convicted former Trump campaign chairman, is accused of lying to special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors about both of those interactions with the associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, and also of not telling the truth about his meetings with Kilimnik “on more than one occasion” to discuss a Ukrainian peace plan. Those details, as well as an exchange between Manafort and an unidentified person who was looking for an introduction with Trump, were not publicly known until Tuesday, when Manafort’s attorneys put them into a court filing that was supposed to be redacted. But cutting and pasting the blacked-out markings into another word-processing document showed what had been redacted.

ECONOMY: SEARS GETS A LIFELINE - Sears Holdings Corp. isn’t dead yet and billionaire Edward Lampert still has a chance to keep the storied retailer alive (Wall Street Journal). Sears bankruptcy lawyer Ray Schrock told Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., that the retailer would move forward with a planned Jan. 14 auction. The auction is conditioned on Mr. Lampert providing a $121 million deposit by tomorrow afternoon, Mr. Schrock said. Mr. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, has bid $4.4 billion to buy the business out of bankruptcy. His plan would keep about 425 stores open.


CITIES: NEW ELKHART PD CHIEF PROMISES TRANSPARENCY - The new police chief of a northern Indiana city wants to focus on transparency and accountability after his predecessor was forced to resign over questions of department discipline and the beating of a handcuffed suspect by two officers (AP). Chris Snyder, an Elkhart police veteran of more than two decades, was sworn in Monday as the new head of the Elkhart Police Department. The former homicide detective is replacing police chief Ed Windbigler, who resigned last month.

CITIES: LAFAYETTE PD OFFICER SHOT - A Lafayette police officer is in serious condition after being shot in the back by another officer Tuesday morning, LPD confirms. The officer, Lane Butler, is a three year veteran of the LPD. She is currently listed in serious, but stable, condition (WLFI-TV). According to Lafayette police, officers were responding to a complaint of criminal mischief at 813 North 9th Street, Apt. 2 around 10:50 a.m. Police were checking to see if a person wanted on a warrant was at the apartment. The resident was cooperative and allowed officers to search her apartment to show them the wanted person was not there. A large dog was in a cage inside the apartment, and the woman told officers this before they entered. Butler, and two other officers, then entered the apartment to look for the wanted person. During their search, the dog broke free from the cage and caused the officers to  leave the apartment to avoid the animal. As they fled out the door, an officer fired their gun. The bullet went through the apartment door and hit Butler in the back. Police said she was wearing a protective vest, however, the round struck her above the protected area. Butler was taken to the hospital. Chief Patrick Flannelly was with her and her family.

CITIES: STATE POLICE INVESTIGATE 2 COLUMBUS PD OFFICERS - Indiana State Police detectives are investigating two Columbus Police officers who were accused last year of working secondary jobs during hours that they also were working as law enforcement officers (Columbus Republic). An internal Columbus Police Department investigation began in September after a report was made to the police department, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman. On Nov. 29, as a result of the internal investigation, Lt. Dan Meister, a 22-year veteran of the department, took a position of patrol officer, Harris said. He no longer has supervisory responsibilities with the department, according to Harris. Meister is assigned to non-law enforcement roles with the department at the current time, Harris said. Columbus Police Officer Ron May, a 31-year veteran of the department, on Nov. 29 announced his intention to retire effective in May, Harris said.

CITIES: SOUTH BEND TO PROPOSE RENTAL INSPECTIONS - The city of South Bend is proposing a new program that will require all rental housing to pass safety and health inspections before tenants can move in (South Bend Tribune). The city administration plans to introduce a bill creating the program to the common council Monday for first reading. The council hasn’t yet released a draft of the bill. Code Enforcement has long inspected rentals after receiving complaints from tenants, but many tenants fear complaining will bring retribution from landlords — in a city that has the 18th-highest eviction rate among the nation’s 309 cities with populations over 100,000, according to the administration’s written plan for the program.

CITIES: HOGSETT APPOINTS KATHY DAVIS TO AIRPORT BOARD - Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the appointment of two women with a long history of service to our community, to fill open seats on the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board and the board of directors for the Indianapolis Foundation (Howey Politics Indiana). Former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis will begin a four-year term on the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board.  Molly Chavers, the former executive director of IndyHub, will serve a six-year term with the Indianapolis Foundation.

CITIES: HOGSETT TO KICK OFF MENTORING PROGRAM - Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett will join with Indy Achieves at 10 a.m. today at the Moreles Group Office at 5628 W. 74th St., to launch a new mentorship program to support hundreds of Marion County students and adults on their path to postsecondary education (Howey Politics Indiana). The program seeks to recruit 100 mentors city-wide to engage with, support and inspire 500 Marion County high school students to successfully transition to college.  The initiative also caters to adults who have graduated from high school and seek to attain a postsecondary degree or credential. January is National Mentoring Month and the perfect time for community leaders to get involved.  Indianapolis needs an additional 215,000 individuals with job-ready credentials to close the skills gap by 2027.  Yet, research finds that one in five college-bound high school graduates who have been accepted to and intend to enroll in college fail to show up on the first day of class due to unforeseen challenges they encounter during the summer months. This phenomenon is referred to as “summer melt.”  One in three young people are growing up without a mentor outside their family, thus creating a mentoring gap in America.

CITIES: FORMER MARSH STORE IN PERU CLOSES - A former Marsh Supermarket in Peru, Indiana is the latest grocery store from that bankrupt chain to close – again. The store’s owner says a locally-owned grocery concept doesn’t work for most of Indiana’s cities (Indiana Public Media). Jeff Laycock of Peru has owned the former Marsh Supermarket building for more than a decade, leasing it to that company. But when it went bankrupt in the summer of 2017, Laycock decided to run it himself. Shoppers Value Foods in Peru opened in August 2017 with new bathrooms, new shelves, a new refrigeration system, and a full-service deli.  Among its employees were 20 workers from area Marsh Supermarkets. Now it’s closing its doors. “We really appreciate the support that we did have from the customers, but there just wasn’t enough of them to pay the bills.”

COUNTIES: LAKE COUNCIL BAN ON BACKYARD SHOOTING - The Lake County Council has widened its prohibition on gunfire in residential south Lake County (Dolan, NWI Times). The council voted Tuesday to amend its ban on the discharge of firearms near homes, enlarging the exclusion zone to 700 feet from 300 feet in unincorporated county areas. More than 150 people attended Tuesday's council meeting to protest any new restrictions for firing guns in south county. The council voted on first reading to repeal an ordinance requiring gun owners who target practice near homes to build a backstop, like an earthen berm, to prevent practice bullets from flying beyond the target and into an adjacent neighbor's yards.

COUNTIES: ST. JOE COUNCIL REJECTS $4.2M COMPUTER SYSTEM - The St. Joseph County Council voted 5-4 on Tuesday to shut down a proposal for a $4.2 million financial computer system, disappointing several department heads who voiced support for it (Booker, South Bend Tribune). Council members who voted against the proposal expressed concerns about the cost of the enterprise resource planning system from Georgia-based Infor Public Sector, along with potential problems that could come with trying to implement it. Some suggested the county might be better off using money to beef up the county’s nine-employee IT department and revisit buying a system later on.

COUNTIES: FEWER BARTHOLOMEW ROADS TO BE RESURFACED - Higher prices could mean fewer road and bridge improvements in Bartholomew County this year (Webber, Columbus Republic). Last year, 38 miles of roads were authorized to receive a new blacktop during the annual overlay program. In comparison, the 2019 program currently calls for spending about $2.4 million to repave about 30 miles, county highway engineer Danny Hollander said. “Oil prices have gone up a lot,” Hollander said. “Last year, we paid $1.42 a gallon for oil. Some of the recent bids have been as high as $2.10.” Stone prices have also risen by about 10 percent, Hollander said. The county will pay $9,700 a mile to do chip and seal repairs this year, he said. That is almost a 35 percent increase from what the $7,200 a mile paid last year, he said. Roughly three times less expensive than new blacktop, chip-and-seal treatments usually repair cracks for at least five years, and help prevent potholes from developing during freeze and thaw periods, Bartholomew County Highway superintendent Dwight Smith said.

COUNTIES: GOODIN TAKES HELM AS SCOTT SHERIFF - Jerry Goodin took office as Scott County Sheriff less than a week ago, but he already has big plans for tackling the drug issue and helping to stop the cycle of crime (Rickert, News & Tribune). Goodin stepped into his role at midnight Jan. 1, just hours after he’d finished his last shift with the Indiana State Police, where he served for more than 27 years. This has been his first run as sheriff, but something he’s dreamed about doing since he was young. When he was 7 or 8 years old, Goodin’s family home was burglarized. They lived in the country, so it was sheriff’s deputies who responded. It’s an incident that’s stuck with him; he knew from then on he wanted to be a police officer like the ones that helped his family, that brought the burglars to justice. And it’s a with a firm but fair grip that he said he plans to lead the Scott County Sheriff’s Office. “I want to make this a community where people want to bring their families to live and where they know they can live in a secure environment,” he said. “That’s the whole goal.”