RNC CHAIR DESCRIBES 'CONTINGENT ELECTORS' TO JAN. 6 PANEL: Former President Donald J. Trump was directly involved in a scheme to put forward slates of false pro-Trump electors in states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr., the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol revealed Tuesday during a hearing delving into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on state officials to help him invalidate his defeat (New York Times). The committee played deposition video from Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who testified that Mr. Trump had personally called her about helping further the scheme. Mr. Trump put the conservative lawyer John Eastman on the phone with Ms. McDaniel “to talk about the importance of the R.N.C. helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” she testified. The revelation came during the fourth of the panel’s hearings this month, in which Republican officials from Arizona and Georgia testified that Mr. Trump clung to claims of election fraud that he knew — or should have known — were false, relentlessly pressured them to embrace the lies and overturn the election results, and knowingly put them at risk when they refused to go along. Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of Arizona’s House of Representatives, recounted how he resisted intensive pressure by Mr. Trump and his lieutenants to overturn his loss in the state. “I didn’t want to be used as a pawn,” Mr. Bowers testified, explaining why he had refused to call a hearing to examine the possibility of removing electors for Mr. Biden and replacing them with electors for Mr. Trump. He told the panel that he had refused two entreaties from Mr. Trump and several more from his legal advisers, who said repeatedly that they had evidence of fraud sufficient to reverse the election outcome, but never produced any.

 

RAFFENSPERGER DEBUNKS TRUMP: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, one of the other two Republican officials to testify in person on Tuesday, told the committee he was inundated with nasty text messages after refusing to “find” votes to help Trump overtake Biden in the state, as Trump requested in the Jan. 2 call (Washington Post). Then, he said, his wife began receiving messages as well, many of them horrific and sexualized. Trump supporters also broke into the home of his son’s widow, he testified. “The numbers are the numbers. The numbers don’t lie. We had many allegations and we investigated every single one of them,” Raffensperger said, recounting how his team determined how claims cited by Trump in the call were not accurate.The hearing also revealed that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) offered to deliver fake electors to Vice President Mike Pence. The committee showed text messages between a staffer for Johnson and a staffer for Pence just minutes before the beginning of the joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

 

STATE, LOCAL ELECTION OFFICIALS DESCRIBE 'BIG LIE' TERROR: Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of Arizona’s House, braced every weekend for hordes of Trump supporters, some with weapons, who swarmed his home and blared videos that called him a pedophile (New York Times). “We had a daughter who was gravely ill, who was upset by what was happening outside,” he said. She died not long after, in late January 2021. Gabriel Sterling, a top state election official in Georgia, recalled receiving an animated picture of a slowly twisting noose along with a note accusing him of treason. His boss, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, recounted that Trump supporters broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and threatened his wife with sexual violence. And Wandrea Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, two Black women who served as election workers during the pandemic in Georgia, suffered an onslaught of racist abuse and were driven into hiding after Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Donald J. Trump’s lawyer, lied that they had rigged the election against Mr. Trump. “I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation,” Ms. Freeman said, adding as her voice rose with emotion, “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?”

 

STATE MAKES VAX AVAILABLE FOR KIDS: The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced today that COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months up to age 5 are now available at some Indiana providers, expanding the population eligible to be protected against the disease. Shipments will continue to arrive at participating locations this week (Howey Politics Indiana). IDOH has updated its map at www.ourshot.in.gov to show sites that have indicated they will offer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for this age group. Both vaccines received authorization from the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. Initial sites will include private healthcare providers, local health departments and some hospitals and pharmacies. Vaccines are currently available on a walk-in basis at most locations, or parents can contact their child’s healthcare provider to schedule an appointment if the provider is offering the vaccine. Due to staggered vaccine delivery dates, parents are encouraged to contact the provider before arriving to ensure the age-appropriate dose is available. IDOH is working to update its online registration system so that appointments for this age group can be made via www.ourshot.in.gov as soon as possible.

 

BIDEN TO PROPOSE GAX TAX HOLIDAY: President Biden today will call on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months — through September — and ask states to do the same, Axios' Hans Nichols reports (Axios). Biden will also demand that oil and gas companies boost production and pass on any savings directly to consumers, according to administration officials. Democrats know that $5 dollar-a-gallon gas is a daily — and politically deadly — reminder that the country's annual inflation rate has soared to 8.6% under Biden's watch. Temporarily eliminating the federal gas tax is one of the few options that Biden and Congress have to address gas prices, which have risen about $2 dollar-a-gallon since Russia began massing troops on Ukraine's border last year.

 

SENATE TAKES FIRST PROCEDURAL STEPS ON GUN REFORMS: The Senate took the first procedural step Tuesday to move forward on a highly anticipated bipartisan gun safety bill, setting up a likely floor vote on final passage by the end of the week (Politico). The Senate advanced the legislation in a 64-34 vote, roughly two hours after a bipartisan group of senators released the bill text. Fourteen Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in backing the bill. Prior to the vote, the four lead negotiators — Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) — said the legislation would “protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country.” ”Our legislation will save lives and will not infringe on any law-abiding American’s Second Amendment rights,” the senators said in a statement. “We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense legislation into law.”

 

MAYORS ASK HOLCOMB TO REDUCE UNPRECEDENTED TOLL HIKE: Local leaders from both sides of the Ohio River want Indiana's governor to take action to stop an unprecedented rise in bridge toll rates set to go into effect next week (Louisville Courier-Journal). At a joint press conference Tuesday at Metro Hall, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore called on Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to fall alongside Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in the fight to limit the increase hike to 2.5%. If Holcomb does not get on board with the plan — and he has indicated he will not — commuters will see tolls rise by 8.3%, effective July 1. Allowing such an increase, Fischer said, would be "outrageous." He urged community members to call Holcomb's office and voice their concerns over the sharp increase.

 

NATIONAL LIFEGUARD SHORTAGE: Manager Ashley Ford strode the perimeter of one of Indianapolis’ seven open public swimming pools, monitoring children as they jumped off a diving board or careened into the water from a curved slide. Four lifeguards, whistles at the ready, watched from their tall chairs stationed around the water. With 10 of the city’s pools closed due to a lifeguard shortage, families sometimes line up more than an hour before the one at Frederick Douglass Park opens, Ford said (AP). Many days, it reaches capacity. A national lifeguard shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted communities such as Indianapolis to cut back on pools and hours. In other spots around the United States, swimming areas go without attendants. That’s left some Americans with fewer or riskier options, even as a significant part of the nation endures a second heat wave in as many weeks. Public health experts say the risk of drowning decreases significantly when lifeguards are present. “That’s my biggest thing, is making everybody safe,” Ford said. The American Lifeguard Association estimates the shortage affects one-third of U.S. pools.

 

UVALDE CLASSROOM DOORS WEREN'T LOCKED; RESPONSE ‘ABJECT FAILURE’: Officers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last month had nothing barring them from entering a dual classroom where a shooter was actively gunning down students and teachers, the chief of the Texas Department of Public Safety said (Wall Street Journal). The classroom door wasn’t locked, DPS Director Steven McCraw said during a hearing before a Texas Senate committee Tuesday. He said police officers armed with rifles and protected by body armor were on the scene within three minutes. Even had the door been secured, Mr. McCraw said, officers had tools to break it open. Yet they waited an hour and 14 minutes to go into the classroom, despite hearing ongoing gunshots, knowing children had been shot inside and knowing that at least one teacher shot was still alive. “The law-enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” Mr. McCraw said.

 

PURDUE GREAT CALEB SWANIGAN DIES AT AGE 25: Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan, one of the top players in the history of Purdue’s basketball program, has died. Swanigan was 25. Fort Wayne TV station, WANE, said the Allen County Corner’s Office confirmed Swanigan died of natural causes (Carmin, Lafayette Journal & Courier). “The Purdue basketball family is deeply saddened and devastated at the loss of Caleb Swanigan,” coach Matt Painter said in a statement released by the school. “Caleb was a very thoughtful individual and a gentle soul who excelled both on and off the court. He made a huge difference in everyone’s lives that he touched and he will be greatly missed.” Swanigan, who battled weight issues and was homeless as a child before being adopted, came to Purdue in 2015 after being named Indiana Mr. Basketball. He played two seasons with the Boilermakers and was a consensus first-team All-American, earning the Big Ten Player of the Year honor in 2017. "Biggie was a good soul and a good man," Purdue center Isaac Haas, a teammate of Swanigan's, posted on Twitter. "He will be missed."

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: "Contingent electors?" Really, Chairwoman McDaniel? Really, John Hammond? Really Ann Hathaway? Really, Kyle Hupfer? Thank God Vice President Pence refused to take Sen. Ron Johnson's attempt to put what were essentially fake Electoral College slates on Jan. 6 that could have manifested a coup d'etat. This Capitol insurrection story is mushrooming, with news that documentarian Alex Holder had had full access to Vice President Pence and President Trump for months and the committee has issued a subpoena for the footage. In Thursday's weekly edition of Howey Politics Indiana, we will survey the coming secretary of state race between Democrat Destiny Wells and Republican Diego Morales. Look for it around 9 a.m. Thursday. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

INDIANA WILL HAVE A NEW SECRETARY OF STATE: Indiana will have a new secretary of state overseeing voting for the next presidential election in 2024 (Carden, NWI Times). Delegates to the Republican Party State Convention declined Saturday to nominate GOP Secretary of State Holli Sullivan for a full term in her own right after Gov. Eric Holcomb last year selected the former Evansville state representative to succeed the retired Connie Lawson as Indiana’s chief elections officer. Instead, the Indiana Republican Party selected Diego Morales, of Indianapolis, as its candidate for secretary of state. Morales, a Guatemalan immigrant and self-proclaimed “America First” Republican, has described as a “scam” the 2020 election results that saw Republican President Donald Trump turned out of office after Trump failed to win either the popular or electoral vote, according to the Associated Press. If he’s elected, Morales hopes to reduce Indiana’s 28-day early voting period to just 14 days to save money, require Hoosiers to provide proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote and create an election task force to investigate “shenanigans.” “As the next Indiana chief election officer, I will stand firm in support of protecting the right to vote. I will be vigilant in defending the sanctity of each ballot and election integrity,” Morales said. Morales previously worked in the secretary of state’s office under Republicans Todd Rokita and Charlie White. The latter was removed from office in 2012 after being convicted of voter fraud. Both of Morales' stints in the secretary of state's office ended shortly after they began when Morales was accused of failing to complete his work and lack of focus, the AP reported.

 

GREEN SAYS MRVAN ON 'HIGHWAY DANGER ZONE': 1st CD Republican nominee Jennifer-Ruth Green continues to see a groundswell of support pouring in from all over Indiana's First Congressional District as she is poised to make history by upsetting a long-held congressional seat held by Democrats for over 90 years (Howey Politics Indiana). "Rep. Frank Mrvan has lost all situational awareness of the kitchen-table issues plaguing Northwest Indiana as he rubber-stamps the extreme agenda of Biden, Pelosi and radical DC Democrats. Hoosiers throughout Indiana's First Congressional District are extremely motivated to eject Rep. Frank Mrvan out of this congressional seat in November," Green campaign manager Ashleigh Presnar said. "To borrow a portion of a line from the new Top Gun movie, 'The end is inevitable, Mrvan. You’re headed for defeat this November.’''

 

INDEMS ASK IF YOUNG WILL CAMPAIGN WITH MORALES: The Indiana Democratic Party criticized U.S. Senator Todd Young "for supporting election-denier Diego Morales" following his win at the Indiana GOP’s state convention. Diego was fired (twice) from the Secretary of State’s Office, described the 2020 elections as a “scam”, and campaigned with insurrectionist Steve Bannon (Howey Politics Indiana). Morales also wants to place additional voter restrictions in the Hoosier State - despite Holli Sullivan confirming Indiana’s elections were “safe and secure”. It’s simple: Diego Morales is a threat to Hoosier democracy. His values are too extreme for the Hoosier State. But like every other issue, Todd Young will try to have it both ways with Diego Morales. Indiana Democrats have the following questions for the Senator: Will Todd Young campaign with Diego Morales?

 

Polls

 

58%  HEAR ABOUT JAN. 6 HEARINGS: A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll offers insights: Fifty-eight percent of voters heard about the hearings held on June 13 and 16, and 38% of voters said they watched or listened to at least some of them. There was a substantial partisan divide among those who tuned in: 56% of Democratic voters watched, as did 32% of independents and 25% of Republicans. Just 38% of voters said they heard “a lot” or “some” about retired Judge J. Michael Luttig’s statement to the Jan. 6 committee that Trump and his allies instigated a war on democracy so that he could stay in power. Sixty-two percent of voters said they heard “not much” or “nothing at all.” (For comparison: 42% of voters heard “a lot” or “some” about Elon Musk’s statement that he recently voted for a Republican for the first time in his life.)

 

57% RATE BIDEN 'POOR' ON ECONOMY: Most voters clearly aren’t buying President Joe Biden’s explanations about high gas prices and say he’s done a poor job of handling the economy overall. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 27% of Likely U.S. voters rate Biden excellent or good for his handling of the economy. That’s down from 32% in December. Fifty-seven percent (57%) now give Biden a poor rating for his handling of the economy, up from 55% in December.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB COMMENCES DOUBLE TRACKING SOUTH SHORE - The repeated ping of sledgehammers on railroad spikes is a noise seemingly out of the past. But it’s also the sound of Northwest Indiana’s future as the Northwest Indiana Region seeks to tie itself more closely to Chicago — the third-largest economy in the United States (Carden, NWI Times). On a brilliantly sunny morning, a host of elected officials and other dignitaries each took a few whacks at railroad spikes Monday near the site of what soon will be an $80 million, 12-story mixed-use development in downtown Michigan City, featuring a restored historic train station, 208 luxury apartments, more than 10,000 square feet of commercial space and a 558-space parking garage. It wasn’t your typical groundbreaking. But the double tracking of the South Shore Line isn’t your typical project. The $650 million initiative will speed travel from Northwest Indiana to Chicago by adding 18 miles of new commuter rail track to the current one-track line between Gary and Michigan City, eliminate street-running tracks in Michigan City, remove 22 at-grade crossings, upgrade platforms at five stations and create more than 1,400 parking spaces.

 

IURC: AES SEEKS 19% RATE HIKE - At a time when budgets are already tight, things could get worse for AES Indiana customers to the tune of a nearly 19% rate increase this fall (CBS4). The utility company has asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to approve its request for a rate hike. The request came to light Friday when AES filed its Fuel Adjustment Clause tracker. The clause allows utilities to adjust customer prices based on fluctuations in fuel costs. Gas prices getting even higher as gas tax increases. During testimony before the IURC, an AES official said the proposal would result in “an increase of $24.39 or 18.90% for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month,” with the majority of the hike coming from projected increases in fuel costs.

 

ISDH: PARENTS URGED TO VAX KIDS - The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) is urging Indiana parents seeking COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years to contact the vaccine site listed at www.ourshot.in.gov or call 211 for assistance prior to visiting a vaccine provider to ensure vaccine is available and that no appointment is required (Howey Politics Indiana). Although some sites may be able to accommodate walk-ins, many sites, including pharmacies and hospitals, indicated Tuesday afternoon that they are requiring appointments due to limited initial supplies of vaccine. “We recognize that there is pent-up demand among parents eager to protect our youngest Hoosiers, but because vaccines are still arriving in Indiana for this age group, we ask for a little more patience to allow supply to catch up with demand,” said IDOH Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “As with every stage of vaccine rollout, we will see increased availability in the coming days as more doses arrive in the state.”

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA DEFENDS SCHOOL BATHROOMS BASED ON BIOLOGICAL SEX - Attorney General Todd Rokita is defending the right of Martinsville Schools to require students to use bathrooms corresponding with their biological sex (Howey Politics Indiana). “Boys’ bathrooms are for boys, and girls’ bathrooms are for girls,” Attorney General Rokita said. “I realize this concept is difficult for leftist America-haters to fathom, but most Hoosiers are rightly perplexed that we would even need to defend such basic common sense.” A 13-year-old biological female student who identifies as male has sued the Martinsville school district and the principal of John R. Wooden Middle School over being denied entrance to the boys’ bathroom. The student has repeatedly flouted the school’s policy and used the boys’ bathroom anyway — despite the option of using a single-occupant bathroom as an alternative. The student’s lawsuit, filed through the student’s mother, also demands that the school require staff and other students to refer to the student as a male. It further demands that the school allow the student to participate on the boys’ soccer term.

 

BSU: MEARNS DISCUSSES PROJECT WITH MUNCIE SCHOOLS - Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns visited the weekly Anderson Rotary Club meeting Tuesday to provide a few updates on campus facilities and an ongoing partnership with Muncie Community Schools, plus discuss freedom of expression on college campuses (Chandler, Anderson Herald Bulletin). The speech first covered the university’s recent and current renovations. This included mentions of the demolition of LaFollette Complex, once the largest residence hall; creation of an amphitheater; and revitalization of the nearby business district, The Village. “It’s exciting to see all the investment being made on campus,” said Mark Harville, vice president and small business administration development officer for Merchants Bank of Indiana. Mearns said the projects completed since he became president in 2017, and the ones that are expected to be completed in the next two to three years, total over $400 million in investments.

 

NCAA: TEXAS A&M ENDS NOTRE DAME'S CWS DREAMS 5-1 - The 2022 season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team has officially come to a close after the team suffered a 5-1 loss Tuesday afternoon to Texas A&M (WNDU-TV). The Irish avoided a shutout with a Brooks Coetzee home run in the 8th inning, but it’d be the only scoreboard presence they could muster against the Aggies. This was Notre Dame’s 3rd-ever appearance in the College World Series. The team finishes the year with a total of 41 wins (including postseason).

 

Congress

 

YOUNG SEES MOMENTUM ON LONG-STALLED BILL: U.S. Sen. Todd Young says he sees progress on a long-stalled bill aimed at building the U.S.’s high-tech industry (Berman, WIBC). It’s been more than a year since 19 Republicans joined most Senate Democrats to pass a bill which seeks to help American companies compete with China in producing and developing items like semiconductors and artificial intelligence with national security implications. Young, who co-sponsored the bill with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), says China is already prioritizing defense-related industries. He says the U.S. needs to be able to keep up without adopting China’s top-down structure, and needs to secure a supply chain that isn’t dependent on China. But all but one Republican voted against the House version of the bill in February, which Young complains was loaded down with “left-wing priorities.” This week, he says Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) gave the bill a big push forward, spending two hours methodically going through the House bill with negotiators, and stripping out the sections most prone to partisan divisions. Young says negotiators are still haggling over trade provisions and how to handle business investments in China. But he says discussions have turned more productive since the Democratic leaders intervened to streamline the bill. He says there’s already agreement on all but the funding portion of the semiconductor portion of the bill, and describes work as nearly complete on some other major provisions, including funding for a network of regional “tech hubs.” Young says that’s a proposal with the potential to deliver significant growth to Indiana.

 

JAN. 6 PANEL SUBPOENAS DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 sent a subpoena last week to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who was granted extensive access to then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle (Politico). Holder shot interviews with the then-president both before and after Jan. 6. The existence of this footage is previously unreported. A source familiar with the project told POLITICO on Monday night that Holder began filming on the campaign trail in September 2020 for a project on Trump’s reelection campaign. Over the course of several months, Holder had substantial access to Trump, Trump’s adult children and Mike Pence, both in the White House and on the campaign trail.

 

YOUNG SAYS GUN REFORMS WOULD MAKE MENTAL HEALTH INVESTMENT: U.S. Sen. Todd Young says he hopes to support the gun reform bill being finalized in the Senate (Berman, WIBC). Young cautions he still needs to see the final language, but he says he’s supportive of plans to help states with so-called red flag laws like Indiana’s. The framework outlined by negotiators a week ago would offer states funding to train courts and prosecutors on how to enforce the laws, which allow family members to request a hearing on whether someone poses a risk of violence and should temporarily surrender any firearms. Young says he hasn’t seen anything so far that would undermine Second Amendment rights. “I would emphasize you can also undermine Second Amendment rights by failing to act reasonably when a hand is extended by some of your colleagues,” Young says.

 

THE SENATE will meet at 10 a.m. Ustr Katherine Tai will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 9:30 a.m. Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify before the Banking Committee at 9:30 a.m. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will testify before the Homeland Security Committee at 2:30 p.m.

 

THE HOUSE will meet at 10 a.m. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will testify before the Oversight Committee at 11 a.m.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN EYES OUTLAWING NICOTINE - The Biden administration is moving forward on a plan to mandate the elimination of nearly all nicotine in cigarettes, a policy that would upend the $95 billion U.S. cigarette industry and, health officials say, prompt millions of people to quit smoking (Wall Street Journal). The plan, unveiled Tuesday as part of the administration’s agenda of regulatory actions, likely wouldn’t take effect for several years. The FDA plans to publish a proposed rule in May 2023. Then it would invite public comments before publishing a final rule. Tobacco companies could then sue, which could further delay the policy’s implementation. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the FDA planned to pursue a nicotine-reduction mandate.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 10:15 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 2 p.m.: Biden will deliver remarks on gas prices. VP Harris: — 4:40 p.m.: The VP will ceremonially swear in Michelle Taylor to be U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and at 5:05 p.m. will ceremonially swear in Scott Miller to be U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at 3 p.m.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: GARLAND IN UKRAINE - Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday made an unannounced visit to Ukraine to discuss U.S. and international efforts to prosecute war crimes resulting from Russia’s invasion (Politico). Appearing alongside Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, Garland expressed “the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine” amid “an unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion.”“I’m here to continue our discussions … about the actions that the United States is taking to assist the Ukrainian authorities in holding accountable those responsible for the atrocities, for the war crimes that the entire world has seen,” Garland said.

 

SCOTUS: STRIKES DOWN MAINE TUITION AID POLICY - The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine education policy that made K-12 schools with religious instruction ineligible for taxpayer-backed tuition aid (The Hill). The 6-3 decision broke along ideological lines, with the court’s six conservatives ruling that the state’s so-called sectarian exclusion violated constitutional religious protections. Maine law gives school-age children the right to free public education. But because many rural districts lack a public high school, a workaround was devised that allows these students to attend nearby qualifying private schools with public assistance. Under Maine law, however, schools that offer religious instruction had been ineligible. This exclusion prompted a challenge by Maine parents, who argued that barring families’ preferred schools from the tuition aid program based on religion violates constitutional religious rights under the First Amendment.

 

MEDIA: COLBERT EXPLAINS STAFF ARRESTS AT CAPITOL - CBS “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert didn’t wait long Monday night to discuss the bizarre topic that everyone was waiting for him to address: the fact that multiple members of his production team, including the voice behind one very famous puppet, were arrested last week in Washington at the Longworth House Office Building and charged with unlawful entry (Washington Post). Thursday evening, the group was doing some “last-minute puppetry” in a hallway, Colbert said, when they were approached and detained by Capitol Police. (This echoed the statement that CBS released Friday when the news became public. The Washington Post reported that police said the building was closed to visitors at the time and that the group earlier had been directed to leave.) “The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago — and for a very good reason,” Colbert said. “If you don’t know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.”

 

DC: MAYOR BOWSER WINS PRIMARY - Muriel E. Bowser (D), the pragmatic politician who has led the District for eight years, won the Democratic mayoral nomination Tuesday, according to projections from the Associated Press, beating out two left-leaning members of the council on her path to becoming just the second three-term mayor in D.C.’s history (Washington Post). Bowser, 49, fended off challenges from council members Robert C. White Jr. (At Large) and Trayon White Sr. (Ward 8), who sought to persuade voters that the District needs someone new at the helm to bridge divides in equity and address other urgent issues such as rising violent crime.

 

ALABAMA: BRITT WINS SENATE RUNOFF - First-time candidate Katie Britt on Tuesday won the Republican nomination to represent Alabama in the Senate, the Associated Press projected, defeating Rep. Mo Brooks after a roller-coaster primary in which former president Donald Trump abandoned a staunch ally (Washington Post). Brooks, 68, once seemed well-positioned in the race, with more than a decade in Congress and an endorsement from Trump. But the former president deserted Brooks as he slipped in the polls this year and ultimately backed Britt as strategists predicted she would win. Britt, 40, seeks to replace her old boss, retiring Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R), and has pitched herself as a newcomer with conservative and Christian values. “I promise you nobody will work harder in the United States Senate,” Britt said in front of a giant American flag after her victory, her husband standing behind her. “I will work tirelessly every day to make Alabama proud.” With 62 percent of ballots tallied, Britt led the way with about 65 percent of the vote.

 

MLB: DODGERS MAUL REDS 8-2 - Tony Gonsolin said he hasn't done anything extraordinary on the way to becoming the first nine-game winner in the majors this season (ESPN). "It's just throwing a lot more strikes," the 28-year-old righty said of his success in 2022, which includes a 9-0 record and sparkling 1.58 ERA. He hasn't gone more than 6 1/3 innings in a start and exited after five in the Dodgers' 8-2 cruise over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. He allowed three hits, two of them solo homers that accounted for the Reds' only runs of the sweltering evening.

 

MLB: SOX DEFEAT TORONTO IN 7-6 THRILLER - After all the twists and turns on a hot, muggy night in Chicago, Josh Harrison wore a big smile on his face as he looked back on his winning hit (ESPN). "Those are fun games to be a part of, especially when you win," he said. Harrison hit a game-ending single with two outs in the 12th inning, and the White Sox topped the Toronto Blue Jays for a wild 7-6 victory on Tuesday. Luis Robert matched a career high with four RBI and made a sliding grab in center field in the top of the 12th, helping the White Sox (33-33) win for the sixth time in eight games. The reigning AL Central champions returned to .500 for the first time since beating the crosstown Cubs on May 29. "Those are the type of ballgames that will get you into the playoffs at the end of the year," said Dylan Cease, who struck out 11 in six dominant innings.

 

MLB: PIRATES FLABBERGAST CUBS 7-1 — Bligh Madris hit his first major league home run and fellow rookie Roansy Contreras pitched five solid innings to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night (ESPN). Madris connected in the sixth for a solo shot to right-center field off Mark Leiter Jr. to close the scoring. It came a day after Madris had three hits in his big league debut.

 

Local

 

FORT WAYNE: HENRY TO REVEAL POLITICAL PLANS TODAY - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is expected to reveal his future political plans today, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

 

MAYOR WINNECKE MUM ON FUTURE:  In accepting the Rotary Club of Evansville's Civic Award on Tuesday, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke didn't tip his hand on the question many in the room surely were curious to know. Winnecke didn't say if his current term will be his last, or if he will sign up in 2023 to seek the office a fourth time (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). Honored along with his wife, Evansville-based real estate agent Carol McClintock, Winnecke said after the presentation he'll decide by "middle of July" whether to pursue re-election. His campaign conducted a fundraiser this month at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Winnecke, 62, said he has an event every year in conjunction with his birthday, and no one should search for clues about his future plans based on that. The most recent available campaign finance report for Friends of Mayor Winnecke, filed in January and reflecting donations and expenses in 2021, showed just more than $250,000 cash on hand. "It means I had a birthday in early June," Winnecke said of the recent fundraiser. "Nothing to be read into that." A Republican, Winnecke won his third term in 2019 with 81% of the vote in an election where the Democratic Party did not field a candidate. He is the first three-term GOP mayor in Evansville history.

 

EVANSVILLE: WINNECKE PROPOSES $3 WATER DEAL - Mayor Lloyd Winnecke joined Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Executive Director Lane Young at the EWSU Board Meeting Tuesday. The Mayor and EWSU are proposing a $3 per month credit for any household with an income of under $50k annually (Lyman, WFIE-TV). He says that $3 will offset the proposed increase in line for the new water treatment plant. Per the Mayor’s estimation, about 40,000 people qualify. “We’ve known for a period of five years the likelihood of replacing our water treatment plant was very high,” mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “As time has gone by during this five year planning and study process, we’ve also seen the economy be really good and really not so good, and it’s really not so good right now. So the fact that our bills are going to go up in the first year, $2.27, and we’re able to offer a credit slightly greater than that, that should be really welcome news for our rate payers.

 

TERRE HAUTE: GROUND BREAKS ON CASINO - After decades of talk, work on a casino in Terre Haute has begun (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Shovels were turned Tuesday in a groundbreaking ceremony on the city's east side for the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort, which will take 18 months to build. The company will invest $260 million into the facility, which will feature 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, a 125-room luxury 10-story hotel with a roof top pool/bar/lounge, a sportsbook and five restaurants and bars. "The Queen of Terre Haute is intended to reflect this community, the values, the enthusiasm, and the people that live here," said Louisville, Kentucky, based Churchill Downs CEO William C. Carstanjen.

 

LEBANON: BOONE COUNTY RESIDENTS SEEK ANNEXATION - Plans for an expansive, high-tech business park in rural Boone County are moving forward, with nearly three dozen property owners asking Lebanon officials to annex their land to support the development (Shuey, IBJ). About 32 individuals and companies who own more than 1,400 acres over 56 parcels submitted petitions to have their properties added to the city of Lebanon. The Lebanon City Council is scheduled hear the petitions Tuesday night before passing them on to the Lebanon Plan Commission. The move, first reported Monday by the Lebanon Reporter, comes as the Indiana Economic Development Corp.—the state’s economic development arm—pushes forward with its plans for the LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District, which is the project in which the land will be included.

 

WESTFIELD: CITY EXTENDS GRAND PARK DEADLINE — The City of Westfield is extending the bid deadline as it looks for a new owner or operator of the Grand Park Sports Complex (WTHR-TV). The previous deadline was June 22, but an extension until July 25 was approved. The decision came as appraisers asked for additional weeks to complete their work.

 

CARMEL: BOMB THREAT AT POLICE HQ — Carmel police headquarters has been evacuated after the department received a bomb threat, officials say (WRTV). The Carmel Police Department posted a notification about the threat about 12:11 p.m. to Facebook. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have evacuated the building until it has been cleared," the post states.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT ANNOUNCES $10M FOR ROAD REPAIRS — This morning, Mayor Hogsett joined the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) to announce the start of $10 million in immediate roadway repairs across Marion County. The supplemental distribution of County Option Income Tax (COIT) funding (originally announced two weeks ago), will allow for street resurfacing over and beyond the previously announced 2022 construction budget and capital program. Construction work has already begun on both E 91st Street and S Tibbs Avenue (Howey Politics Indiana). “The City of Indianapolis continues to do everything in its power to uncover more funding sources to help bring our city’s local roads up to the condition that residents deserve,” said Mayor Hogsett. “We know better infrastructure is an urgent priority for all neighborhoods. That’s why, only two weeks after my office proposed an additional $13 million for enhancing residential streets, we have begun work on projects throughout Marion County.”

 

INDIANAPOLIS: IPS SPENDS $10% OF COVID FUNDS - Indianapolis Public Schools has spent around 10% of its federal COVID-19 funding to date, directing most of the money to keeping schools open and staffed (Appleton, Chalkbeat). That figure is low compared to other districts in Indiana and across the country. But IPS officials say the state has approved its plans for another 40% of the funding, and that it has created an internal budget that accounts for the full allocation. With $213.5 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief dollars—the most of all Indiana districts—IPS must be deliberate in its spending, said Sarah Chin, deputy chief of staff. “A district that only received a couple million dollars might have honestly been able to spend all of it on immediate COVID response, like PPE, testing, and technology,” Chin said. “IPS has a much bigger responsibility and also much bigger opportunity to use these dollars to rapidly accelerate student achievement, which means launching an enormous set of new district initiatives and student programming in a very short time horizon.”

 

ALLEN COUNTY: PUBLIC INVITED TO HEAR COMPREHENSIVE PLAN - Allen County and the City of Fort Wayne will present the draft of the All In Allen Comprehensive Plan with a reveal celebration and open house feedback sessions (Howey Politics Indiana). The reveal celebration open house will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with a presentation at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2022, in the Calhoun Ballroom of the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne. Light refreshments will be provided. Four additional open houses will be held in each quadrant of the community to encourage attendance and feedback.  There will be a short presentation held 30 minutes after the start of each open house. The dates and times for these open houses are as follows: Tuesday, June 28: 12 – 1:30 p.m., AWS Foundation, 5323 W. Jefferson Blvd.; Tuesday, June 28: 5:30 – 7 p.m., Junior Achievement, 550 E Wallen Rd.; Tuesday, June 28: 5:30 – 7 p.m., McMillen Park Community Center, 3901 Abbot St.; and Wednesday, June 29: 12 – 1:30 p.m., Metea County Park Nature Center, 8401 Union Chapel Rd.

 

TIPPECANOE COUNTY: COMMISSIONER RESOLUTION ON RACISM, HEALTH - Tippecanoe County passed a resolution on Tuesday declaring racism a public health crisis (Thorp, Indiana Public Media). The resolution follows on the heels of a similar resolution passed by the City of Lafayette earlier this month. The resolution highlights lower rates of health insurance coverage, higher poverty and infant mortality rates, and lower salaries among minority groups compared with whites in Tippecanoe County. Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said the resolution underlines that racism impacts health outcomes in the county. “This obviously brings that to the light of day, and then also gives some real focus to governmental entities on how to combat that in the future,” he said. Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Greg Loomis worked alongside the Human Relations Commission to get the resolution passed. “I think what we need to do is we’ve passed the resolution, now we need to do something about it,” he said.

 

LAKE COUNTY: CONFLICT AMONG POLLWORKERS - The Lake County election board is taking steps to reduce conflicts among polling place workers amid an unprecedented rise in "meanness," based both on personality and partisanship (Carden, NWI Times). The bipartisan election oversight panel directed its staff Tuesday to expand poll worker training by including more information on proper workplace behavior, conflict resolution and kindness, as well as compiling a list of poll workers who seem to repeatedly instigate feuds with their colleagues. “A lot of times we have people that may have been out of a professional setting for a period of time, and what might have been appropriate when they were working may not be appropriate now,” said Kevin Smith, election board chairman.

 

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: PROBES HUMAN TRAFFICKING AT 4 SPAS - The St. Joseph County Police Department is investigating potential human trafficking and tax fraud at multiple area massage parlors (WVPE). According to a news release, the county police executed search warrants and made entry at four massage parlors and one residence Monday. All properties are located in St. Joseph County and owned or operated by the same person. Police say multiple women were living inside each business location. Through a Mandarin Chinese interpreter, officers were able to confirm that at least some of those women had been trafficked and were being forced to work against their will. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least two women had requested help and were being provided aid.