GiaQUINTA SAYS EARLY REDISTRICTING HEARINGS WILL HAVE LITTLE VALUE: Indiana Democrats are calling on Republican legislative leaders to hold more public hearings on the state’s redistricting process (Indiana Public Media). In a letter sent Friday to House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Rod Bray (R-Martinsville), House Democratic leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said the feedback at the scheduled hearings will be of little value, because they’ll take place before new maps are available. “The public will be commenting on abstract concepts rather than detailed proposals,” GiaQuinta wrote.  In the letter, GiaQuinta requested a second set of hearings after Republican redistricting plans are made public. Huston and Bray’s offices did not immediately respond to request for comment.


BANKS BLAMES PELOSI TO U.S CAPITOL SECURITY BREAKDOWN ON JAN. 6: Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), one of the two GOP lawmakers rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from serving on the Jan. 6 committee, accused the Speaker on Sunday of being responsible for the "breakdown of security" that day that led to a mob storming the Capitol. "Due to the rules of the United States Capitol, the power structure of the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol," Banks said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "So she doesn't want us to ask these questions because, at the end of the day, she is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the capitol that happened on Jan. 6," he said. A mob of former President Trump's supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes. They did so after weeks in which Trump said the election had been stolen from him, a baseless claim that the former president has continued to make in the months since the attack. Banks said he was rejected because Pelosi "doesn't want to talk about what happened at the Capitol that day" and is "only interested in a narrative. It's clear that Pelosi only wants members on this committee who will stick to her talking points and stick to her narrative."


PELOSI APPOINTS KINZINGER FOR JAN. 6 PANEL: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally tapped Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — a rare Donald Trump antagonist in his party — to the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection as part of a boosted Republican presence. Kinzinger joins Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in serving on the Democratic-led panel, which is designed to examine the circumstances surrounding the violent assault of Trump supporters on the Capitol earlier this year, including the actions of the former president (Politico). Pelosi in a statement said Kinzinger “brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy.” The addition of Kinzinger looked increasingly likely in recent days, with Pelosi teasing the appointment Sunday morning on ABC’s "This Week," acknowledging that naming Kinzinger would be part of her “plan.” Kinzinger in a statement described it as a duty to the country: “When duty calls, I will always answer. I will work diligently to ensure we get to the truth and hold those responsible for the attack fully accountable,” reads Kinzinger’s appointment. “This moment requires a serious, clear-eyed, non-partisan approach. We are duty-bound to conduct a full investigation on the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 and to make sure it can never happen again.”


DR. ADAMS SAYS PANDEMIC 'SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL': Vice Admiral Dr. Jerome Adams, the former surgeon general of the United States, said Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic is "spiraling out of control" again because too few people are vaccinated. In an interview with "Face the Nation," Adams urged those who have yet to receive their coronavirus vaccines to do so, as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to sweep across the country and leaves some governors pleading with unvaccinated residents to get their shots.  "There's also real harm to you because, guess what? More mitigation is coming, whether it's masking or whether it's closures or whether it's your kids having to return to virtual learning, that is coming," Adams said on "Face the Nation," speaking to unvaccinated Americans. "And it's coming because this pandemic is spiraling out of control yet again, and it's spiraling out of control because we don't have enough people vaccinated. So get vaccinated because it helps your neighbors, but get vaccinated because it's going to help every single American enjoy the freedoms that we want to return to."


MOST UNVAXED AMERICANS WON'T GET COVID SHOT: Most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots and doubt they would work against the aggressive delta variant despite evidence they do, according to a new poll that underscores the challenges facing public health officials amid soaring infections in some states (AP). Among American adults who have not yet received a vaccine, 35% say they probably will not, and 45% say they definitely will not, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 3% say they definitely will get the shots, though another 16% say they probably will. What’s more, 64% of unvaccinated Americans have little to no confidence the shots are effective against variants—including the delta variant that officials say is responsible for 83% of new cases in the U.S.—despite evidence that they offer strong protection. In contrast, 86% of those who have already been vaccinated have at least some confidence that the vaccines will work.


ISDH TO CORRECT ERROR, UPDATE COVID STATS: The Indiana State Department of Health is updating county-level COVID-19 vaccination data on its dashboard after discovering an error in how the system was assigning the county of residence for vaccine recipients (East, Columbus Republic). Currently, it is unclear how Bartholomew County’s figures will be impacted. State health officials said about half of counties will see their rate of fully vaccinated residents increase, while the other half will see the percentage decrease. Most of the changes will be small, though Franklin, Carroll, Newton, Spencer, Posey, Crawford, Benton and Brown counties will see at least a 5% increase in fully vaccinated residents, state health officials said. Another seven counties — Fountain, Orange, Hendricks, Hancock, Clay, Pike and Ohio — will see decreases of at least 5%. As of Friday morning, state records showed that about 47% of Bartholomew County residents, including 56% of those who are eligible, were fully vaccinated. “We strive each day to provide accurate data to illustrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box in a statement. “We know that many counties are making decisions based on the numbers we present on our dashboards, which is why we are working to correct the vaccination data as quickly as possible.” State officials said the error stemmed from an automated process that assigns vaccination records to counties in the state’s immunization registry based on ZIP codes, not full addresses.


CHATTERBOX PREPARING TO REOPEN: The banner advertising the 2020 St. Patrick's Day sing-along still hangs behind the bar of the Chatterbox Jazz Club. David Andrichik, Chatterbox owner, was preparing for the club's annual celebration of the Irish holiday when coronavirus restrictions took hold in Indiana. Since March 16, 2020 the stools at the bar have been stacked upside down on the counter awaiting patrons (Indy Star). During the nearly year and a half shut down of the Chatterbox, Andrichik went through his business savings, his personal savings and some of his retirement savings to keep the jazz club he has owned for nearly 40 years in hibernation. "No one knew when it started. Would it be 30 days, 60 days, six months and now it will approach not quite a year and a half," Andrichik said. "Thankfully, luckily, I have been able to survive." Andrichik is eager to welcome back customers to the quirky club decorated with colorful lights, strings of race flag pennants and walls scribbled with history. He anticipates reopening the doors in early August but an exact date wasn't announced as of Thursday afternoon.


INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS HAVE NO NAME CHANGE PLANS: The Indianapolis Indians have no immediate plans for a name change. The Cleveland Indians announced Friday they will soon become the Cleveland Guardians (David & Berman, WIBC). The history of Indy’s team name didn’t originate with Native Americans, but was a play on Indianapolis. The team was later associated with the Cleveland Indians as a farm team, and then began to use Native American graphics and cartoon symbols in its marketing. At Bush Stadium the team even once had a tepee as part of the outfield décor. “We found out how ever many years ago it was, that the tepee was actually not used by Indians in this part of the country,” said team CEO Bruce Schumacher, in a recent interview with WIBC for an upcoming documentary called “Indiana: Land of Indians”. The team stopped using the tepee. “So, we thought if it’s not historically accurate maybe we don’t need to use it anymore.”


CAN ANYONE IN BIG10 DETHRONE OHIO STATE:  There aren’t many revelations to be learned about Ohio State’s recent dominance in the Big Ten. But say the school’s name to Indiana senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle and he smiles with anticipation. “I’m ready to beat ’em,” Fryfogle said during Friday’s media days session at Lucas Oil Stadium (AP). The 2021 Buckeyes are different and, at least on paper, could be vulnerable. Quarterback Justin Fields is gone, drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Bears. Three young passers are in the mix to lead an offense that has weapons but some questions on the offensive line. The defense needs new linebackers and must bolster a shaky secondary. “There’s inexperience in some areas,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, referring to a roster with 45 players in their first or second years. That said, Day is 23-2 including 15-0 in the Big Ten since taking over for Urban Meyer. The losses were to Clemson and Alabama in the College Football Playoff. “They are the gold standard and that is who we are chasing,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “We’re trying to chase that greatness every single day. This is the most depth we’ve had on our team since I’ve been at Indiana."


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: It's time for the FDA to give final approval for the COVID-19 vaccine. Right now, this massively studied vaccine has had emergency approval, adding to the vaccine hesitancy that has the potential of crippling the nation ... again. - Brian A. Howey




DONNELLY, HILL TO STUMP FOR JOBS PLAN IN COLUMBUS, ANDERSON: Today in Anderson and Columbus, Joe Donnelly (former U.S. Senator), Baron Hill (former U.S. Congressman - IN09), Brett Voorhies (President of IN AFL-CIO), Tim Lanane (State Senator – District 25), Terri Austin (State Representative – District 36), Grace Kestler (Columbus City Councilor) will continue the Indiana Democratic Party’s American Jobs Plan tour, an effort by the Indiana Democratic Party to show why Indiana needs the Jobs Plan and a revitalized infrastructure system (Howey Politics Indiana). The statewide tour, a sequel to the American Rescue Plan tour, will allow Hoosiers to hear more about a Plan that will create good-paying jobs, dismantle the INGOP’s “right to work” laws (creating Indiana’s “work more for less” economy), and build a better future for Hoosier families. The Columbus events begins at 6 p.m. at Donner park Shelter House headlined for Hill. The Anderson event is also at 6 p.m. headlined by Donnelly.


SCHMUHL BACKS PELOSI ON BANKS REMOVAL:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going about appointing Republicans to the Jan. 6 committee after House GOP leaders removed the five Republicans they had previously appointed (WIBC). The Five were removed by House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy after Pelosi booting both Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) off the committee. It’s a move that Indiana Democratic Party chairman Mike Schmuhl says was the right call by Pelosi. “Having Jim Banks on that committee is kind of like having Peyton Manning play for the New England Patriots. It just doesn’t make sense,” Schmuhl said to All Indiana Politics. “You know, I look back to Jan. 5, the day before the insurrection, and Jim Banks was really encouraging and prodding along folks to come to D.C. Really inciting some of the stuff that former President Trump was also doing.”


TRUMP URGES MAGA TO BOO U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM: The Tokyo Olympics crossed over with a Donald Trump rally Saturday night, as the former president encouraged a hyped-up Phoenix crowd to boo the U.S. Women's soccer team (NBC/New York). The political action committee Turning Point Action sponsored the "Protect Our Elections Rally," which turned into a wide-ranging attack on fellow Republicans, the military, the press, "woke" culture -- and eventually U.S. athletes. "Wokeism makes you lose," Trump said, according to a video of the speech posted to Twitter by Turning Point officials. "The U.S. Women's soccer team is a very good example of what's going on," he continued, shaking his head with a smirk as the crowd booed loudly.




HUNDREDS OF BUSINESSES URGE LGBTQ PROTECTIONS: More than 100 Indiana businesses are urging Congress to pass legislation stalled in the Senate that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, saying in a letter that “discrimination is bad for business” (AP). Prominent businesses such as Eli Lilly and Co., Cummins Inc., Roche Diagnostics and Salesforce are among the Indiana companies that signed the letter urging passage of the Equality Act. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indy Chamber and some small businesses have also signed it (AP). Although large companies often lobby and contribute to federal campaigns, the letter signals a rare concerted public effort by a coalition of Indiana businesses to affect federal policy, The Indianapolis Star reported. Hundreds of other businesses around the country, including dozens Fortune 500 companies, also support the legislation. More than 100 Indiana businesses are urging Congress to pass legislation stalled in the Senate that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, saying in a letter that “discrimination is bad for business.”


SPARTZ ADVOCATES FOR CUBAN FREEDOM: When U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) was asked to join the Republican Advisory Team on Cuba, she knew the assignment would be right up her alley. Spartz immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine, and experienced a communist, totalitarian government before becoming an American citizen (Davis, WIBC). “I think we need to bring more visibility and talk about it a little bit more because it’s important. We’re the beacon of freedom for the rest of the world,” she said in a Thursday interview. Spartz said she believes the U.S. can help the people fighting against the communist government of Cuba, gain some ground. But, she said one of the goals of the team, which was appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is to help move the Biden administration to more outwardly show support for the people of Cuba. “We’ll look also at policy. We need to have a discussion to make sure that we can help to open the internet, to facilitate the freedom of speech in the country.”


THE SENATE will meet at 3 p.m. to take up Todd Kim's nomination as an assistant A.G., with a cloture vote at 5:30 p.m. THE HOUSE will meet at noon, with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.




ISDH: FRIDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health announced Friday that 786 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 764,448 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. To date, 13,537 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of two from the previous day. Another 428 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. A total of 3,646,953 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 3,643,561 on Thursday. A total of 11,111,463 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.


STATE FAIR: NO COVID RESTRICTIONS - The Indiana State Fair returns, starting July 30, a year after it was canceled for the first time since World War II (Indiana Public Media). And there are some things a little different about this year’s event. Sharon Smith, State Fair director of communications, said there will not be any COVID-19 restrictions imposed on guests at the 2021 fair. “We do ask that folks who are not fully vaccinated, definitely follow the guidelines – the CDC guidelines – requiring whether and when they should wear a face covering,” Smith said.


IU: FAUCI TO BE HONORED - Dr. Anthony Fauci will be honored by the The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington in December with the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award (WRTV). Fauci earned the award for his work in HIV/AIDS prevention and as a leading expert during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to IU.  "Recipients of the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award have demonstrated their solemn promise to scientific methods, access to treatment and educating the public," said William L. Yarber, senior director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention and Provost Professor at the School of Public Health.


JAN. 6: SCHAFFER DESCRIBES 'HELL' IN MARION COUNTY LOCKUP - Hoosier and heavy metal guitarist Jon Schaffer went through “two months of hell” in the Marion County Jail after he was detained for his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, his lawyer said. Inmates targeted Schaffer with death threats and allegedly assaulted him with human excrement while he was behind bars (IndyStar). “My client, who is presumed innocent, has just gone through two months of hell where other people were throwing feces at him and urine at him and threatening his life in a horrible, horrible situation,” Schaffer’s attorney Marc J. Victor told a federal judge in March during Schaffer’s detention hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “Shame on us, Judge, that this is happening in our justice system,” Victor added. Schaffer was arrested by law enforcement in Noblesville on Jan. 17. He was held at the Marion County Jail until authorities transported him mid-March to Washington D.C., the district in which he faces charges. Marion County Jail incident reports obtained by IndyStar reveal Schaffer was kept in "Administrative Segregation" during that two month period because of his high profile status.


UNITED WAY: WEINZAPFEL TO HEAD STATE UNITED WAYS -  A former mayor of Evansville has been picked as the temporary leader of the Indiana United Ways organization. The group said Jonathan Weinzapfel would serve as interim president and chief executive officer through the end of 2021 (AP). Weinzapfel is an attorney in Evansville who has been a member of the Indiana United Ways board of directors the past four years. The group helps coordinate activities and programs among the 44 local United Way organizations across the state. Weinzapfel said United Way groups stepped up tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise and distribute money to families in need and assist the state’s nonprofit organizations. Weinzapfel served eight years as Evansville’s mayor and was the Democratic nominee for state attorney general in the 2020 election, losing to Republican Todd Rokita.




WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SAYS DREAMER DEAL A MUST - U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday said he remained adamant about the need to create a pathway for U.S. citizenship for so-called Dreamer immigrants, but it "remains to be seen" if that will be part of a $3.5 trillion budget measure (Reuters). "There must be a pathway to citizenship," Biden told reporters as he returned to the White House after spending the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Dreamers are immigrants brought to the United States as children who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Democrats hope to provide legal status to some immigrants in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation measure they plan to pass with a simple majority, but details have not been released.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule 10 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. 11:10 a.m.: Biden and VP Harris will speak in the Rose Garden to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 2 p.m.: Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Iraqi PM Al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office. Press secretary Jeb Psaki will brief at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday: The president will address the Intelligence Community workforce and leadership in a visit to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Wednesday: Biden will head to Lower Macungie Township, Pa., to speak about manufacturing, jobs and buying American.


MLB: JIMENEZ TO RETURN TO CHISOX TODAY - Slugging White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez is ready to return. Jimenez has completed his injury rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte and will be in the lineup when the Sox play the Royals on Monday at Kauffman Stadium. "I’ll write him in the lineup tomorrow,’’ manager Tony La Russa said Sunday (Chicago Sun-Times). ‘‘As soon as he walks in the clubhouse, he’s going to light it up with his personality.’’ Jimenez also has the potential to light up a Sox lineup that had very little pop in a 3-1 victory Sunday against the Brewers. He won his first Silver Slugger Award after last season and seemed primed for even better things this season.


MLB: LYNN LEADS CHISOX TO 3-1 WIN OVER MILWAUKEE - Lance Lynn allowed one run over six innings and hit a two-run single to lift Chicago to a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday night as the White Sox avoided a sweep in this series between division leaders (ESPN). Lynn (10-3) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none, outdueling Brandon Woodruff in a matchup of All-Star right-handers. Lynn, who lowered his ERA to 1.91, also keyed a decisive three-run second inning with his bat – his first hit since 2017. "They both are winners, so it's all good," Lynn said of his pitching and hitting. "A good night. I got lucky, got a hit, drove in two runs, and we won. So that's all it's about."


MLB: CUBS DRUB DBACKS 5-1 - Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and David Bote homered, Trevor Williams pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Sunday (AP). Bryant and Bote each hit two-run shots as Chicago took two of three in the series. Williams (4-2) struck out six and allowed five hits with no walks over 6 1/3 innings in his first scoreless outing of the season. It was the right-hander's second start (and third appearance) since missing five weeks following an appendectomy. “I've been wanting to pitch in front of a full Wrigley,” said Williams, who was making his first home start since crowd restrictions were lifted. “It's special and I felt the energy on the mound.”


MLB: CARDINALS DOWN REDS 10-6 - Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson homered during a seven-run burst in the fourth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-6 on Sunday (ESPN). Nolan Arenado hit his 20th home run and tripled, and Tyler O'Neill also connected for the Cardinals.


Sunday Talk


PELOSI SUGGESTS 'MAYBE REPUBLICANS CAN'T HANDLE TRUTH': House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is confident in the bipartisan select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and, despite House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulling his recommendations for the panel, is moving forward with the addition of more Republicans with one accepting her invitation on Sunday afternoon. "Maybe the Republicans can't handle the truth, but we have a responsibility to seek it, to find it and in a way that maintains the confidence of the American people," she told ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos.


CHRISTIE SAYS UNVAXED NEED TO BE CONVINCED: It's in everyone's interest to persuade the unvaccinated to get the jab, rather than shame them. Chris Christie said it exactly right yesterday on ABC's "This Week": "What they don't want is to be indoctrinated — they're willing to be vaccinated," the former New Jersey governor said. "And so let's be smart about this." "I think that one of the places where our leaders have fallen down is they're not explaining it," Christie added. "They're just saying: Get vaccinated. ... [T]hese folks do not respond to being ordered to do those things. Christie said he had a "very smart guy" visit him who said: "I don't want the government telling me what I have to do." "It's a libertarian type of response," Christie said. "I sat with this guy and I walked him through the facts, and then he said: 'OK, I'm going to go get vaccinated.' That's what we need to be doing."


FAUCI DESCRIBES PANDEMIC OF THE UNVAXED: Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday that COVID-19 is now an “outbreak among the unvaccinated” while discussing the potential for future surges in infections throughout the country. “It’s really an outbreak among the unvaccinated. So this is an issue, predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we're out there practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated,” Fauci told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” When asked about models and projections examining the potential future increases in COVID-19 cases, Fauci told Tapper, “It’s not going to be good.” “We’re going in the wrong direction. If you look at the inflection of the curve of new cases and as you said in the run in to this interview, that it is among the unvaccinated, and since we have 50 percent of the country is not fully vaccinated, that's a problem, particularly when you have a variant, like delta, which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently and very easily from person to person, and we know we have many, many, many vulnerable people in this country who are unvaccinated,” Fauci continued.


FAUCI HEARTENED BY REPUBLICANS ADVOCATING VACCINE: Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday that he was “heartened” to see a number of top Republican officials encouraging vaccinations. Fauci, during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” singled out House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) for their recent remarks that supported vaccinations. “I was very heartened to hear people like Steve Scalise come out and say, ‘Hey we need to get vaccinated.’ Even Gov. DeSantis right now in Florida is saying the same thing. We've got to get more people who relate well to the individuals who are not getting vaccinated to get out there and encourage them to get vaccinated as well as the trusted messengers in the community,” Fauci told host Jake Tapper.


GOTTLIEB BELIEVES DELTA VARIANT FURTHER ALONG THAN KNOWN: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said Sunday he thinks the U.S. is further into the COVID-19 epidemic driven by the Delta variant than Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) models are currently picking up. He said that could mean "hopefully we're going to turn a corner" in the next two to three weeks (CBS Face The Nation). "We're not doing a lot of testing. More of the testing that we are doing is antigen tests that are being done at home and not getting reported," Gottlieb said. "So, I think we're much further into this epidemic than we're picking up and hopefully further through this epidemic."


GOV. HUTCHINSON BLAMES VAX MYTHS: The Republican governor of Arkansas on Sunday said resistance to the coronavirus vaccine "has hardened" in some areas of the state, blaming the hesitancy on "false information" and "myths." "I don't know if I underestimated it, but, certainly, the resistance has hardened in certain elements, and is simply false information," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "It is myths. As I go into these town hall meetings, someone said: Don't call it a vaccine. Call it a bioweapon. And they talk about mind control," Hutchinson said. "Well, those are obviously erroneous. Other members of the community correct that."


WARNER EXPECTS INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL ON MONDAY: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the bipartisan group of senators working on a massive infrastructure bill, on Sunday said he believes the legislation will be ready on Monday after it failed a first vote on the Senate floor last week. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Warner was asked by host Martha MacCallum if the senators would "have that bill in place for everybody to look at" Monday. "I believe we will," Warner said. "The one thing I hear all across Virginia in the last couple of days: People want us to invest in our infrastructure." "If you step back, you know, we have actually are investing at about half the rate that we invested in our infrastructure as we did in the 1990s," he added.


SEC. RAIMONDO SAYS DEAL NEAR: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Sunday said that passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is "very close." "We're in the final strokes. We're in the final days. We're optimistic. We are all engaging daily multiple times a day with members of the Senate, and we're feeling really good about it," Raimondo, who formerly served as governor of Rhode Island, said on CBS's "Face the Nation." Host John Dickerson questioned how close the bill could be to passing, however, noting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that she will not send it to the House floor until another bill is passed through reconciliation in the Senate. "This is complex, you know, this is unusual and complex, but it's what Americans want, it's what Americans deserve," Raimondo replied.


TOOMEY SAYS JAN. 6 PROBE A DEMOCRAT ADVANTAGE: Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) said on Sunday that investigations into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are “politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront.” “We have a lot of investigations underway now. There are Senate committees that have completed some. There are others still in progress. We have many criminal investigations. I would favor a truly bipartisan commission, but I think there — we should be candid about the fact that it is politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront,” Toomey told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.


SEN. SCOTT HOPEFUL ON POLICE REFORMS: Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lead Republican negotiator on police reform, said on Sunday that “there is hope for the bill,” as the end of July nears and lawmakers prepare to leave Washington, D.C. for the August recess. “I think there is hope for the bill, without any question. We worked on it yesterday. We’ll have it in the conversation today. We’ll be meeting tomorrow. I will be talking with law enforcement leaders tomorrow as well,” Scott told host Martha MacCallum on “Fox News Sunday.” Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been working toward an agreement on police reform legislation since last year, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.




SOUTH BEND/ELKHART: READI PARTNERSHIP TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS — The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership plans to make recommendations at the end of August on some of the 170 submissions that came in for $50 million in state funding (Fouts, Elkhart Truth). The partnership took submissions up to July 18 for programs, initiatives and brick-and-mortar projects to be considered for inclusion in its application. The region is seeking a share of the $500 million that the state made available through its Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative.


NEW ALBANY: READI GRANT TO BE SOUGHT FOR TRAIL — As Southern Indiana governments and organizations scramble to submit applications hoping to tap in to a pool of $500 million in state funding, New Albany officials believe they truly have a regional project worthy of a grant (News & Tribune). The city is asking for $20.5 million for its Rails to Trails initiative, an effort that would connect New Albany to Bedford via a pedestrian and biking path that would run along abandoned CSX railway. If it comes to fruition, New Albany intends to label the pathway the South Monon Freedom Trail, paying homage to the Underground Railroad. If approved, the path would stretch 68 miles and span five counties, ending on the south end at the Ohio River Greenway.


GRIFFITH: COUNCIL TO SIGN WATER DEAL — The Town Council has authorized its president to sign a settlement with Hammond over a large increase in water rates. The action gives Council President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, the authority to sign off on the deal. The Hammond City Council last year approved a rate hike for Hammond residents from 44 cents to $1.90 per 1,000 gallons (Haber, NWI Times). But a lawsuit was filed late last year on behalf of Griffith, Highland, Munster, Dyer and Whiting, all of whom purchase water from Hammond. Once the deal is finalized, wholesale water rates will be established with these communities that will almost double the current rate, but for less than the hike received by Hammond residents. "We have come into a bittersweet agreement," Councilman Tony Hobson, R-5th, said of the pact, which will run for the next 10 years.


MARION COUNTY: COVID SCHOOL GUIDANCE RELEASED - The Marion County Public Health Department has released its initial guidance for schools for the 2021-2022 school year (WRTV). The health department says the guidance was developed in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana State Department of Health, and public and private school leadership in Marion County. “To keep Marion County moving in a positive direction as the contagious Delta variant continues to take hold in Indiana, it is more important than ever that we take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide access to the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Health Department in an email.


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: HEALTH OFFICIALS CONCERNED ABOUT DELTA VARIANT - The delta variant of COVID-19 has yet to make a big impact in the South Bend area, but the more virulent strain has some local health officials concerned as vaccinations slow down and fall approaches (South Bend Tribune). The area has so far seen only a smattering of confirmed cases of the variant, which experts have warned is more contagious and may lead to more severe illness. St. Joseph County had seen just two confirmed cases as of last week, while two people tested positive for the delta strain in Marshall County. Still, some officials worry it’s only a matter of time before the delta variant becomes dominant here, as it has for Indiana as a whole. “We’re in a good place right now, delta has not yet had a big impact in our community, but I feel like it’s breathing down our neck,” said Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County’s deputy health officer. “We have a narrow window of time to get in front of it.”