860 NEW COVID CASES ON SUNDAY: The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced Sunday that 860 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 62,372 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard (Howey Politics Indiana). The state has 44.4% of its ICU bed available and 83.5% of ventilators. A total of 2,706 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of eight over the previous day. Another 197 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 ISDH and occurred over multiple days. To date, 701,311 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 690,274 on Saturday.

 

HOLCOMB MASK MANDATE BEGINS TODAY: Gov. Eric Holcomb's executive order, mandating masks in the Hoosier state, begins today (WTHR-TV). State and local health departments will be responsible for enforcing compliance through education about the importance of wearing face coverings. The executive order does not include criminal penalties. Here are the situations where Hoosiers will now be required to wear a mask when the mandate takes effect: Masks must be worn by anyone over the age of 8 when in indoor spaces, using public transportation or outside when you're not socially or physically distanced from someone who isn't in your household. All students who are in third grade or above will be required to wear a mask at school.  All children are required to wear a face covering while on a school bus. Masks are also required for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity.  Exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking. Masks will be strongly recommended for those ages 2-7. Holcomb said the decision came due to a spike in cases not only in Indiana but the surrounding states.

 

MASK PROTEST IN EVANSVILLE: More than a dozen people gathered at the Civic Center to protest mask requirements, claiming the mandates go against their constitutional rights (WFIE-TV). “What we’re doing here today, we’re having a maskless protest against the Governor and Mayor Winnecke and the city council,” protest organizer Gabe Whitley said. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke reissued a mandate Tuesday requiring masks in public. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a similar mandate Friday effective until August 27. “This is a government overreach, and they’re trying to use this virus and this flu as a power grab, and we’re not going to sit here and take that and that’s one of the things - that’s why we’re out here protesting,” Whitley said. Protesters took turns going up to the microphone - each emphasizing that they feel the mask requirements are unconstitutional. “So I’m here in support of freedom of choice,” protester Randy Kemp said. “If you want to wear a mask, that’s fine. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be fined or be charged a misdemeanor.”

 

DR. BIRX URGES BAR CLOSES IN KY; INDIANA ON HER LIST: With Kentucky officials set to announce stricter measures on Monday to contain the coronavirus, a top federal health official suggested that the leaders of nearby states should take a hard look at doing the same (New York Times). On a visit to Kentucky on Sunday,  Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator,  said several states in the region should reinstate bar closures and restrictions on public gatherings to quell the rise of infections. “We do believe that there are states that do need to close their bars, to decrease indoor gatherings to less than 10 and to decrease social gatherings to less than 10 to really make it possible to control the pandemic before it gets worse,” Dr. Birx said at a news conference. Florida has surpassed New York, an early epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, in the number of cases, and four states have set single-day records for infections: Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alaska. On her visit to Kentucky, Dr. Birx cited as worrisome not just that state but also Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. She said the federal health authorities were concerned about the percentage of people who were testing positive for the virus, as well as the total number of cases. Dr. Birx appeared with Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, who said that the state would announce new guidelines on Monday to address the rise in cases. “I want you to know that the White House and Kentucky state government are in complete agreement that the escalation of cases is going to require us to take some new steps,” Mr. Beshear said.

 

TRUMP, AIDES STEP UP COVID BLAME OF STATES: President Donald Trump's top aides are stepping up blame-game tactics against the states, saying coronavirus testing problems and rising cases are not his fault as they try to counter new polls suggesting that his leadership failings could cost him reelection (CNN). The new administration drive to absolve Trump of responsibility and to speed up economic activity by encouraging people to go back to work follow the President's previously misjudged gamble to goad states that are now suffering terribly from the pandemic to open before they had properly suppressed the virus. It also coincides with his demands that all schools open while ignoring concerns of parents and teachers. With many states complaining that delays in processing coronavirus tests are making it impossible to check the spread of the disease, the administration claimed again on Sunday that its "Manhattan Project" on testing is sufficient. "We have enough tests right now, if we use them in the right way, to achieve the goals that we need to achieve," Adm. Brett Giroir, the administration's testing czar said on CNN's "State of the Union." Giroir, who did allow that turnaround times for tests needed to improve, said states had not claimed all of the money allocated to build up test and tracing networks seen as critical to quelling the pandemic. But Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN's Jake Tapper on the same show that Trump's claims that every governor had what they needed from Washington were false. "That's not the case here in my state of Maryland, and it's not what I'm hearing from all of the other governors," he said.

 

POLICE, PROTESTERS CLASH ACROSS NATION: Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia (AP). A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when police said a protester was shot and killed by a person who drove through a crowd of marchers. And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a protest there, authorities said. The unrest Saturday and early Sunday stemmed from the weeks of protests over racial injustice and the police treatment of people of color that flared up after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In Seattle, police officers retreated into a precinct station early Sunday, hours after large demonstrations in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Some demonstrators lingered after officers filed into the department’s East Precinct around 1 a.m., but most cleared out a short time later, according to video posted online. In Portland, thousands of people gathered Saturday evening for another night of protests over George Floyd’s killing and the presence of federal agents recently sent to the city by President Donald Trump. Protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse building where the agents have been stationed.

 

THIS TIME, THE TROOPER SALUTED JOHN LEWIS: This time, the Alabama state troopers saluted. The late John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the final time Sunday in a triumphant celebration of his tireless fight for civil rights, often in the face of violent resistance (Montgomery Advertiser). Mourners cheered, sang and cried as a horse-drawn carriage carried Lewis' flag-draped casket over the Alabama River and toward Montgomery. Red rose petals led the way on this final journey, covering pavement that was once stained with his blood, when hordes of state troopers attacked him 55 years ago. Lewis and hundreds of marchers came to the bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965 to demand an end to restrictions that blocked Black citizens from voting.  Law enforcement beat the peaceful protesters with clubs and showered them with tear gas.

 

4 MIAMI MARLINS TEST POSITIVE: Four Miami Marlins players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Sunday's starter, Jose Urena, according to sources familiar with the situation, leading the team to delay its postgame trip home amid concerns about a possible outbreak (ESPN). The Marlins will be without the services of Urena, catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was placed on the injured list before their season opener on Friday, infielder Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez. The news of the positive tests was first reported by baseball writer Robert Murray. It's possible that the infections occurred Wednesday on the team's trip to and from Atlanta, where the Marlins played the Braves in an exhibition game. Since leaving Atlanta -- after a flight delay -- the Marlins have been in Philadelphia all weekend for the team's opening series. Manager Don Mattingly said the Marlins decided to wait until Monday to leave Philadelphia, and they plan to arrive in Miami hours before their home opener against Baltimore. The trip might be made while multiple players remain in Philadelphia. "The guys that tested positive are quarantined here in Philly,'' Mattingly said.

                                       

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: It was great to see Major League Baseball back to life this past weekend. The COVID outbreak on the Miami Marlins is a cautionary development on how fragile this pandemic experiment will be. - Brian A. Howey



Presidential 2020

 

CBS TRACKER HAS BIDEN LEADING IN MI; TRUMP UP BY 1% IN OHIO: Joe Biden leads President trump in Michigan by six points, 48-42% in a CBS/YouGov Battleground Tracker and the president has the slightest one-point edge in Ohio, 46-45%, where he won by a comfortable margin four years ago. Ohio is also a critical part of the president's overall electoral map in 2020. A majority of Biden's support in both these states comes from people who are mainly voting against Mr. Trump rather than for him.

 

NBC/MARIST HAS BIDEN UP BY 7% IN NC: Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 7 points in the key swing state of North Carolina, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll, with voters also favoring Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates and saying by 2 to 1 that the state was right to balk at the Trump administration's Charlotte convention plans over concerns about coronavirus safety protocols. Among registered voters, Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, got the support of 51 percent, compared with 44 percent who backed Trump. In March, Biden had a 4-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, 49 percent to 45 percent. Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham leads GOP Sen. Thom Tillis by 9 points, with the backing of 50 percent of voters, compared to Tillis' 41 percent.

 

BIDEN UP BY 5% IN AZ IN NBC/MARIST POLL: With 100 days until the election, Democrat Joe Biden holds a 5-point lead over President Donald Trump in Arizona, with more voters saying the former vice president would do a better job handing the coronavirus pandemic and race relations, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll. Democrats also enjoy a double-digit advantage in Arizona's key Senate contest between Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly. But more of Trump's voters strongly back him than Biden's supporters do, and the president holds a significant lead on handling the economy. In the new poll, 50 percent of registered voters say they would vote for Biden, while 45 percent back Trump, a difference that is within the survey's margin of error.

 

CNN HAS BIDEN LEADING BY 6% IN FLA; LEADS IN MI, AZ: With 100 days remaining until Election Day, voters in three critical battleground states swing in former Vice President Joe Biden's way, according to new Arizona, Florida and Michigan CNN polls conducted by SSRS. In Florida (51% Biden to 46% for President Donald Trump) and Arizona (49% Biden to 45% Trump), registered voters break in Biden's favor by single-digit margins, while in Michigan, Biden's lead stands at 52% to 40%, matching the national average for the presidential race per the most recent CNN Poll of Polls.

Trump carried all three states in 2016, with his narrowest win in any state coming from Michigan, which he carried by only 10,704 votes.

 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN TO LEAN INTO VACCINE: Top Trump advisers and GOP leadership have told the president in recent weeks that he needs to switch gears on the coronavirus and go all in on messaging about progress on vaccines and therapeutics (Axios). The goal is to try to shift the focus of the election conversation to who would be better at reviving the economy. Administration officials say this is a key reason Trump restarted his briefings this week and that this rhetoric will only accelerate in the weeks to come. White House and Trump campaign officials have been in panic mode over recent polls showing Trump trailing Joe Biden in swing states just 100 days away from the election.

 

DODD TAKEN ABACK BY HARRIS'S LACK OF REMORSE: When former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Joe Biden’s vice presidential search committee, recently asked Kamala Harris about her ambush on Biden in the first Democratic debate, Dodd was stunned by her response (Politico). “She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,” Dodd told a longtime Biden supporter and donor, who relayed the exchange to POLITICO on condition of anonymity. “Dodd felt it was a gimmick, that it was cheap,” the donor said. The person added that Dodd’s concerns about Harris were so deep that he's helped elevate California Rep. Karen Bass during the vetting process, urging Biden to pick her because “she’s a loyal No. 2. And that’s what Biden really wants.” Through an aide, Dodd declined to comment. Advisers to Harris also declined to comment.



Sunday Talk

 

REP. BASS SAYS LA REOPENED TOO EARLY: Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat representing the Los Angeles area, said Sunday she thinks local officials reopened Los Angeles County too quickly. Bass said that LA County officials are weighing the need to reimplement a stay-at-home order, amid spiking cases in the area. “In hindsight, I think we opened a little too quickly,” Bass said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She added that she has confidence local officials will “follow the science” to determine whether or not to lift or reimpose restrictions. Pressed on what she would do if in the position to make the call, Bass said she would go back to a stay-at-home order. “I would be very, very conservative about how we open up,” she said.

 

LIGHTFOOT DOUBLES DOWN ON FED TROOPS: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) doubled down Sunday on her call for the Trump administration not to send federal troops to her city. Lightfoot and President Trump have feuded over violence in the city for weeks, with Lightfoot pushing back on Trump’s warnings to send federal officials to Chicago to assist local law enforcement.  CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the mayor if she would support increased federal presence in Chicago if they coordinated with local officials. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no troops, no agents that  are coming in outside of our knowledge, notification, and control that are violating people's constitutional rights. That’s the framework,” Lightfoot said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

 

PELOSI SAYS TRUMP MAKING THINGS WORSE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday dubbed President Trump "Mr. Make Matters Worse," bestowing him with the new nickname over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “This president, I have a new name for him: Mr. Make Matters Worse,” Pelosi said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “He has made matters worse from the start — delay, denial, it’s a hoax, it’ll go away magically, it’s a miracle, and all the rest — and we’re in this situation,” Pelosi added, referencing the president’s repeated suggestions that the virus may spontaneously disappear “like a miracle.”

 

PELOSI SAYS HOUSE COULD STAY IN SESSION LONGER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House could stay in session longer if necessary to arrive at a deal with Senate leaders for a new coronavirus relief package. “We have been ready for two months and 10 days,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referencing the the $3 trillion relief bill — dubbed the HEROES Act — the House passed in May. “We can’t go home without” a deal, she added. “It’s so sad that people should have this uncertainty in their life.”

 

KUDLOW TOUTS $1,200 STIMULUS CHECK: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday the federal government will extend a moratorium on evictions as part of the next round of coronavirus relief that will also include another round or $1,200 stimulus checks.  “Don't forget, there's a $1,200 check coming. That is going to be part of the new package. I would have preferred a payroll tax cut, on top of that check. But, be that as it may, politically, it doesn't work,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that it is a “very well-rounded package.”  “People need that money as soon as possible. People are worried about being evicted,” Tapper said.  Kudlow responded that the federal government will “lengthen the eviction,” referring to the eviction moratorium that expired last week.

 

Congress

 

SENATE GOP WEARY OF WHITE HOUSE: Frustration among many Senate Republicans, not to mention Democrats, toward the White House has hit a fever pitch, with many lawmakers — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — admitting they could break for the August recess without a stimulus bill (Axios). The Senate left for the weekend Thursday evening without even circulating a draft bill that McConnell says will be used as a starting point for negotiations — and many blame the White House. Multiple GOP Hill aides involved in the stimulus negotiations tell me they feel Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have undermined the legislative process. "They came in at the back end with a ton of unrealistic requests, like zeroing out funding for testing and forcing the FBI building into the package," one congressional aide said.

 

WHAT WHITE HOUSE STIMULUS PRIORITIES ARE: The White House's primary areas of focus, per a White House official (Axios): Back-to-work tax credits (which the official said is essentially a retention credit). Extending unemployment insurance to 70% of a person's average wage before the COVID-19 crisis. School funding: Schools will get $105 billion. That would include roughly $70 billion for K-12, but only half would be for all schools — the other half would only be for schools that are opening in person. Widespread liability insurance, including for restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities and school districts. The GOP bill, which McConnell plans to roll out on Monday, is expected to include all of them. But it will be a broader, $1 trillion package that contains other priorities as well, such as: $25 billion for coronavirus testing. Stimulus checks, which would be doled out under the same guidelines as in the CARES Act, meaning Americans who make $75K or less would receive the full benefit. Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses with 300 or fewer employees that show a revenue loss of 50% would be able to apply for a second loan.

 

HOUSE PREVIEW: Rep. John Lewis will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the civil rights icon's body will be taken to Atlanta, where he will lie in state at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once led. The House will vote Monday on a bill drafted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) to establish the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. The House will also vote Monday on a bill that would establish a National Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution. The House is also expected to consider the Water Resources and Development Act of 2020; the Child Care Is Essential Act, which would create a $50 billion child care stabilization fund; and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which would provide tax relief and other funds to families, providers and employers. The House will also take up the second package of FY2021 appropriations bills. Tuesday: Attorney General Bill Barr will appear before the House Judiciary Committee. The head of the U.S. Park Police and a National Guard whistleblower will testify before the House Natural Resources Committee about protesters being forcibly removed from a Lafayette Square demonstration last month. Wednesday: The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will testify before the House Judiciary Committee at an antitrust hearing.

 

SENATE PREVIEW: The Senate will vote on Monday to confirm William Scott Hardy as a judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The Senate is also expected to vote on the following nominees: David Cleveland Joseph as a judge for the Western District of Louisiana. Dana Wade as assistant secretary of housing and urban development. Marvin Kaplan and Lauren McGarity McFerran as members of the National Labor Relations Board, a five-year term. Both are reappointments. Tuesday: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to join the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

 

General Assembly

 

REP. PRESSEL WORKING ON NON-EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION: A Northwest Indiana lawmaker is working this summer to improve nonemergency medical transportation for Medicaid recipients across the Hoosier State (Carden, NWI Times). State Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, has been appointed by House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, to serve on Indiana's Nonemergency Medical Transportation Commission. The commission was established last year by Senate Enrolled Act 480 — co-sponsored by Pressel — following a 2018 state contracting change that resulted in increased unanticipated demand for medical transportation, which led to late and missed rides and last-minute cancellations. "Many Hoosiers in our community have shared their concerns and frustrations with Medicaid transportation, especially those who live in more rural areas," Pressel said. "We have to do better and make progress on this issue to ensure more patients are served and no one has to worry about late pickups and missed appointments."

 

State

 

COVID: BSU PROF SAYS MASKS WILL SAVE LIVES -  A state-by-state move to mandate the wearing of masks in public will save countless lives as the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a health researcher at Ball State University (Michigan City News-Dispatch). “Civil society and business across communities should welcome and embrace these orders,” Jagdish Khubchandani, health science professor in the Ball State College of Health, said after Indiana, Ohio and Minnesota joined a growing number of states requiring face coverings. He noted that wearing face masks or shields is quickly becoming standard practice across the country. “Irrefutable evidence now exists for the utility of masks. Absent a vaccine or medication, the only solutions we have are wearing a mask and physical distancing,” Khubchandani said.

 

MEDIA: PHILBIN TO BE BURIED AT NOTRE DAME - Former television host and Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin will have a funeral service and be buried on the university campus, which he frequently visited and continued to enthusiastically support long after graduating (South Bend Tribune). University spokesman Dennis Brown confirmed Sunday that Philbin, who died Friday of natural causes, will have a funeral service at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and be buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery on campus. The date has not been set. Philbin graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 and often returned for football games, pep rallies, banquets, concerts and other events.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ALLIES UNVEIL SPY IN RUSSIA - Not long after the early 2017 publication of a notorious dossier about President Trump jolted Washington, an expert in Russian politics told the F.B.I. he had been one of its key sources, drawing on his contacts to deliver information that would make up some of the most salacious and unproven assertions in the document (New York Times). The F.B.I. had approached the expert, a man named Igor Danchenko, as it vetted the dossier’s claims. He agreed to tell investigators what he knew with an important condition, people familiar with the matter said — that the F.B.I. keep his identity secret so he could protect himself, his sources and his family and friends in Russia. But his hope of remaining anonymous evaporated last week after Attorney General William P. Barr directed the F.B.I. to declassify a redacted report about its three-day interview of Mr. Danchenko in 2017 and hand it over to Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Graham promptly made the interview summary public while calling the entire Russia investigation “corrupt.” The report blacked out Mr. Danchenko’s name and other identifying information. But within two days, a post on a newly created blog entitled “I Found the Primary Subsource” identified him, citing clues left visible in the F.B.I. document.

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule: Monday: Trump will participate in a tour and coronavirus briefing at Bioprocess Innovation Laboratories in Morrisville, N.C. Wednesday: Trump will speak at a fundraising lunch in Odessa, Texas. He will also take a tour of a Double Eagle Energy oil rig in Midland, Texas. Later he will deliver remarks on restoring energy dominance in the Permian Basin in Midland. Friday: Trump will meet with the National Association of Police Organizations leadership.

 

ILLINOIS: COVID CASES DECLINE - Health officials on Sunday announced an additional one person has died due to the coronavirus, making it the lowest reported COVID-19 death day since March 21 — four days after the state recorded its first death (Chicago Sun-Times). The one fatality — a 90-year-old man in Bond County — brings the state’s death toll to 7,398. While it’s certainly positive news that the state recorded its lowest daily death count in four months, it’s also worth noting that it’s not unusual for the state to record fewer coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend because some counties don’t report deaths between Friday and Monday. Illinois has seen some of its lowest daily tolls this month, recording eight days with 10 or fewer coronavirus-related deaths and averaging about 18 deaths per day.