SPIKE IN EVANSVILLE COVID CASES WORRIES HEALTH OFFICIALS:  A sudden explosion in COVID-19 cases — 60 new confirmed cases since Wednesday — has Vanderburgh County Health Department officials launching an investigation. Joe Gries, the local agency's administrator, said its contact tracing team and data analysts are crunching the numbers to "see if we can determine if there are any trends or any information within the data that might help us understand why there's a spike here locally" (Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press). The health department knows who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and has access to all the investigative information those cases have produced. According to the agency's dashboard of local cases, 54 cases remain active. Investigators are still monitoring 200 contacts of those people. "For the last couple weeks, the number of cases were pretty low — and then this is obviously a spike, so we want to look at it and try to determine what's going on," Gries said.

ST. JOE EXTENDS MASK ORDER; ELKHART ENACTS: St. Joseph County public health officials Monday morning extended their mask order through Sept. 7, while Elkhart County decided to implement a similar order (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). Dr. Robert Einterz, St. Joseph County’s public health officer, signed the new order after consulting with representatives from the county’s three largest health systems, Beacon, Saint Joseph and South Bend Clinic. “Given that there is no vaccine or medication available to prevent or treat COVID-19, measures such as hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing face coverings are the most effective strategies to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from infected persons to uninfected person,” the new order states. The mask order was due to expire Saturday. It requires face coverings for all people inside businesses and enclosed public spaces where social distancing of at least six feet can’t be maintained. Also Monday, Elkhart County's health officer, Dr. Lydia Mertz, citing a strain on local health care resources, at Monday's county commissioner meeting announced a new mask order, beginning Tuesday at 12 a.m. Mertz did not place an end date on the order, saying on the department's website that she will lift it when the "county's positive case data, hospitalization census and ICU bed availability support lifting the order."

JACKSONVILLE TO REQUIRE MASKS: Jacksonville, where the Republican National Convention is slated to be held in August, is planning to institute a city-wide mask order to stem the spread of coronavirus, city hall sources tell Politico. The announcement, scheduled for noon, requires indoor-mask wearing only — not an outside mandate that other local governments in Florida have passed. Jacksonville is unlike any other municipality in the state because the sprawling city essentially encompasses all of Duval County in northeast Florida. As the number of cases in in the city and state rise, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, his staff and healthcare experts have been discussing a mask order for more than a week, two sources said. A final turning point for Curry came after the decisions by the Coast Guard and Navy, which has two facilities in Jacksonville, to order indoor mask-wearing. “Healthcare experts say it mitigates risk and city hall learned military installations in Jacksonville are mandating it as well,” a source said of Curry’s thinking.

STATES REVERSING REOPENINGS: Arizona’s Republican governor shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks Monday and leaders in several states ordered residents to wear masks in public in a dramatic course reversal amid an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide (AP). Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s order went into effect immediately and for at least 30 days. Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until at least Aug. 17. Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after the governor’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May. Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the past 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark. “Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” Ducey said Monday. The state is not alone in its reversal. Places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that he’s postponing the restarting of indoor dining. Democratic governors in Oregon and Kansas said Monday that they would require people to wear masks.

IURC DENIES UTILITY COST RECOVERY REQUESTS: The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has denied a request from a group of Hoosier utilities seeking to recover lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic by charging customers. In an order as part of Phase 1 of its previously-announced investigation, the commission also extended the moratorium on utility disconnections (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). Last month, the utilities filed a petition with the commission saying in addition to the lost revenue, they had also seen an increase in COVID-related costs including overtime, sick time due to prolonged illness, and employee sequestration. “Under the regulatory compact, at a base level, utilities are obligated to provide safe, reliable service and customers are obligated to pay just and reasonable rates for any such service they receive," the IURC said in its order. The commission has also extended the moratorium on disconnecting utilities for customers who have not paid their bills an additional 45 days, keeping it in place through August 14. The moratorium was slated to expire on Tuesday. “Temporarily prohibiting disconnections until August 14, 2020 is a balanced solution that allows both customers and utilities additional time to enter into reasonable payment arrangements to address any arrearages that may have accumulated and maintain essential utility services for the benefit of all customers, the utilities, and other stakeholders," the commission said.

TRUMP, PENCE WEREN'T BRIEFED ON RUSS BOUNTIES, WHITE HOUSE SAYS: U.S. intelligence officials didn’t brief President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence on intelligence indicating Russia paid bounties to Afghan militants to attack American forces because the intelligence community and national security officials hadn’t reached a consensus about its veracity, the White House said Monday (Wall Street Journal). “There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations and in effect there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. Revelation of the reports’ existence has sparked criticism from Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans. Ms. McEnany said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows briefed the leaders of congressional committees at the White House on Monday.

AP REPORTS WHITE HOUSE KNEW OF RUSSIAN BOUNTY IN 2019: Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence (AP). The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019. The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials. Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked by the AP if he had briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of a response. “He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.

SEN. YOUNG SAYS U.S. SHOULD HOLD PUTIN ACCOUNTABLE: Following disturbing reports that the Russian military intelligence agency offered bounties in exchange for the targeting and killing of American and coalition service members in Afghanistan, U.S. Sen. Todd Young sent a letter to President Trump Monday urging a strong and immediate response from the United States (Howey Politics Indiana). Senator Young also called for the relevant Senate committees to convene oversight hearings on this matter. “As Vladimir Putin continues his misguided campaign to restore Russia’s great power status, we must not permit Americans to be used as pawns in his global chessboard. I know you agree that our troops and our nation must be defended and I stand ready to hold Putin accountable for his actions,” wrote Senator Young. “It is imperative that the United States remain vigilant and uncompromising in the face of Russia’s threatening, provocative, and destabilizing behavior.”

SENIOR TRUMP OFFICIALS BELIEVE POTUS WAS 'DELUSIONAL': In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues and outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan (CNN). He was so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations. The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.

SCOTUS STRIKES DOWN LOUISIANA ABORTION LAW: The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law restricting abortions, ruling by a 5-4 vote that it was identical to a Texas law requiring providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges that the justices invalidated in 2016 (Wall Street Journal). In an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, four liberal justices reaffirmed their 2016 decision that such measures have no medical benefits and thus interfere with a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy. The fifth vote, however, came from Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote separately on narrower grounds to say that the precedent required the same result. The chief justice had dissented from the 2016 decision, where the fifth vote in the majority came from now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. “I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “The question today however is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.” Four other conservatives dissented, including Justice Kennedy’s successor, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The measure was styled as protecting the health of women seeking abortions. If implemented, the law likely would force two of the state’s three abortion clinics to close, putting the procedure out of reach for some patients.

REGION FIREWORKS SALES EXPLODE: Over the last few weeks, you've probably heard some booms over your neighborhood or seen a rocket's red glare down the street (Pete, NWI Times). Protracted stay-at-home orders, social distancing and the cancellation of many big fireworks shows in cities and towns have ignited an explosion of fireworks sales in Northwest Indiana. Amid reports of fireworks going off day and night in cities across the country, the Region's many fireworks stores report seeing significant spikes in sales. They often have hired more employees, extended their hours and even added new locations. "We're doing great. This is by far our best year," said Jen Shannon, who's owned Rock the Sky Fireworks on Calumet Avenue just off the Borman Expressway in Hammond since 2007. "We're probably doing double what we did last year. It's been crazy." People have been stocking up aerials, especially grand finale cakes, to put on shows at home after many cities and towns canceled their fireworks displays this year.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on President Trump's tax return case today. This could reshape the 2020 presidential race. - Brian A. Howey


MYERS SAYS HOLCOMB IGNORES TRUMP TWEET: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Woody Myers tweeted Monday: "Governor Holcomb has said nothing against President Trump's retweet of horrific and racist sentiments this morning. Key members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, have denounced it — why hasn’t Indiana’s Governor?"

BARNES SEEKS REMATCH WITH REP. NEGELE: Loretta Barnes, a Lafayette Democrat, will take a second run at state Rep. Sharon Negele, an Attica Republican who has represented District 13 in the Indiana House since 2012 (Lafayette Journal & Courier). Barnes, who received just under 30 percent of the vote in 2018, filed to run again ahead of a noon Tuesday deadline for major parties to fill empty slots on the ballot before the Nov. 3 general election. “This year is different from 2018,” Barnes, a marketing manager, Purdue graduate and Lafayette resident for the past 24 years, said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made me realize that I must run again in District 13,” Barnes said. “I have also been helping my 7-year-old daughter with her eLearning lessons when schools shut down due to the virus. I have always had great respect for teachers, but the experience has deeply reaffirmed my belief about the critical need for providing the resources necessary to enable our Hoosier children to receive the best education possible.”

DEMS SLATE CANDIDATES IN HD52, HD84: Monday night two Democratic caucuses filled two Indiana House District ballot vacancies. The Democratic ticket now has candidates for Indiana’s House District 84 and Indiana House District 52 (WANE-TV).  Emma Steele is a native of Fort Wayne and is the Democratic candidate for District 84. This is her first time running for a political office and she will go head to head with Rep. Bob Morris, House District 84’s incumbent for nearly 10 years. “I’m rather disappointed with the current representation of District 84. I don’t think the interest of everyday people is being prioritized,” said Steele. “Particularly with the respect of climate change, racial injustice, health care accessibility, income equality, and workers’ rights. I love my community and I want to see us thrive well into the future.” Steele emphasized that climate change is her biggest issue. Martha “Marty” Lemert has her eyes set on the District 52. She ran for this seat back in 20-18 but was unsuccessful. She is throwing her hat back in the ring. Ben Smaltz is the current representative for District 52 and has held that seat since 2012. Lemert told WANE 15 that she is running again because this pandemic hasn’t created problems but exposed problems at the state level of government. The focus of her platform is to put Hoosier families first.

SECOND REPUBLICAN SEEKS VACANT ALLEN COUNTY COUNCIL SEAT: Another Republican has thrown his hat into the ring to fill a vacated Allen County Council seat. Emery McClendon, a three-term Republican party convention delegate, filed his paperwork to run for Allen County Council Monday (WPTA-TV). Former 4th District County Councilman Larry Brown resigned under pressure from the community and beyond for comments he made about protesters during a meeting this month. "I am a social, fiscal and political conservative. And I think this position needs to be held by someone who shares the good values of Allen County, and the people of this community," McClendon said. "And I'm stepping up to the plate to do that." An organizer of Fort Wayne's first Tea Party rally, he also supports Allen County Right to Life's message. "He is a patriot. He is a staunch conservative. I think it's very important that Emery is involved because it shows that we welcome diversity and people from all backgrounds and cultures," Allen County Republican Chair Steve Shine said. Shine has already endorsed Attorney Elizabeth Underwood for the seat.

INDEMS REACT TO RUSSO SCOTUS RULING: Indiana Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Ganapini issued the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled on June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (Howey Politics Indiana). “Today, just one vote kept Hoosier women’s right to make health care decisions intact. Year after year, Indiana Republicans have taken aim at Hoosier women, pushing legislative policy with only one goal: restricting our right to make our own health care decisions. This ruling won’t stop their mission to erode our rights. Today’s ruling reaffirms the stakes this November. Hoosier Democrats will fight to elect lawmakers who respect women’s right to autonomy.”

Presidential 2020

BIDEN TO GIVE COVID SPEECH TODAY: As states report exploding numbers of coronavirus cases, Joe Biden on Tuesday plans to escalate his criticism of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and detail how he would stem the virus, which has killed at least 124,000 Americans (Washington Post). Biden will tie together a raft of proposals he’s offered since January, including providing free testing and treatment for the disease and guaranteed paid leave for those who must stay home from work while sick, according to a campaign document outlining his themes that was obtained by The Washington Post.

COVID INVADES TRUMP COUNTRY: On the pandemic’s first peak in early April, the states that voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton accounted for 67 percent of new Covid-19 cases (Politico). For the newest peak, which we’re still climbing, the states that voted for President Donald Trump have an even larger share: They accounted for 73 percent of new cases on June 28.

CBS POLLS SHOWS 62% SEE PANDEMIC MISHANDLED: A CBS News poll released on Sunday shows how Americans feel about wearing masks, and what they think about the US response to coronavirus. 59% of Republican respondents said they think it’s a personal choice to wear a mask in public. 76% of Democrats said it’s a public responsibility. The poll also found that 62% of Americans think the United States’ handling of coronavirus is going badly.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN COMMENTS ON SCOTUS DECISION: Ali Pardo, Trump 2020 Deputy Communications Director, commented (Howey Politics Indiana): “Today’s Supreme Court ruling to strike down commonsense health regulations on the abortion industry and deny women the protection they need in times of crisis is disappointing to say the least. States should have the ability to regulate medical procedures, including abortions, to protect the health and safety of their citizens. Instead, five unelected Supreme Court Justices decided to insert their political agenda in place of democratically determined policies. This case underscores the importance of re-electing President Trump, who has a record of appointing conservative judges, rather than Joe Biden, who will appoint radical, activist judges who will legislate from the courts.”

CONSERVATIVES SAY SCOTUS RULING WILL GIN UP TRUMP REELECT: Religious and anti-abortion groups that helped sweep Donald Trump into office in 2016 say the narrow Supreme Court ruling striking down a Louisiana abortion law only adds fuel to ongoing efforts to reelect the president this November (Politico). The conservative groups conceded that, in the short term, Monday’s 5-4 decision — which invalidated a law that critics said could have forced all but one of the state’s abortion providers to close — was a major loss for them and the administration. But they contended that it would give them a potent rallying cry to turn out the vote for Trump. The message for voters will be twofold: The Trump-appointed justices showed they would side with anti-abortion activists, and now they need just one more ally. “This ruling adds a new level of fervor and enthusiasm for the election,” said Mallory Quigley, spokesperson for the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion advocacy group. “We always knew we needed a bigger margin on the court, and whoever wins this election will likely have the opportunity to appoint additional justices. Making sure it’s President Trump and not Joe Biden is essential.”

TRUMP DELETED 'WHITE POWER' TWEET: President Trump’s tweet landed at 7:39 a.m. Sunday morning, and senior White House advisers say they immediately realized they had a problem (Washington Post). The president had shared a video on Twitter that included a Trump supporter shouting “white power” at counterprotesters during a demonstration at the Villages, a retirement community in central Florida, and had called his supporters there “great people.” Senior staffers quickly conferred over the phone and then began trying to reach the president to convey their concerns about the tweet. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, son-in-law Jared Kushner and other senior advisers spoke with president, said several people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private conversations. Roughly three hours later, the president gave the go-ahead to delete his incendiary tweet — moved, in large part, by the public calls from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black Republican, to do just that, aides said.

General Assembly

SEN. J.D. FORD APPLAUDS IURC DECISIONS: On Monday, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) made two announcements regarding consumer utilities. The IURC is denying the recent joint request to allow for-profit utilities to increase rates to make up for coronavirus-related revenue decrease. The IURC is extending the utility cut-off moratorium until August 14th, 2020 (Howey Politics Indiana). In response to the IURC’s decision, State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) made the following statement: “I celebrate and applaud the IURC’s decision today. It’s a huge win for our neighbors who are currently working through their stack of bills and can now breathe a brief sigh of relief. The additional time will allow folks to plan and hopefully get back on their feet. I am happy to see the IURC was listening when I, and so many others, called for an extension of the utility disconnection moratorium last week."

REP. PRYOR PRAISES IURC:  State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), the Indiana House Democratic Floor Leader, today released the following statement in response to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's (IURC) decision to deny the joint utility petitioners' request for cost recovery of lost revenue and to extend the disconnection moratorium for utilities (Howey Politics Indiana).  "I sent a letter to the IURC last week, urging them to extend the utility moratorium to give already struggling Hoosiers peace of mind from losing access to their utilities," Pryor said. "It is great news that they have decided to give people more time to figure out how to pay their bills and extended the payment plan option. Indiana's utility companies aren't the only individuals that have suffered economically from this pandemic and it's not fair to penalize Hoosiers to help these companies increase their funds. I am glad that the IURC denied the lost revenue recovery part of the petition. There is still a lot to be done and I will be paying close attention as this investigation progresses into phase 2."

SEN. BREAUX COMMENTS ON IURC: Assistant Senate Minority Leader Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) applauded the IURC's decision as compassionate and necessary for the livelihoods of working Hoosiers. Sen. Breaux had previously sent a letter to IURC Chairman Tim Huston urging the commission to extend the shut-off moratorium (Howey Politics Indiana). "This decision is a win for all working Hoosier families," Sen. Breaux said. "I applaud the IURC for doing the right thing in this matter. Many families are still struggling to make ends meet as this pandemic continues to disrupt our economy and health care system. There is still a long road to recovery ahead, and folks need to be sure that they can be safe inside their homes without fear of losing power or water. It has also been clear that COVID-19 has hit low-income, minority populations especially hard. The data shows that these black and brown Hoosiers are contracting COVID-19 and dying of the virus at much higher rates. These communities are struggling during this pandemic, and allowing utility companies to raise rates or disconnect houses would have forced even more hardship onto these families."

REP. MOED 'THRILLED' BY IURC DECISION: State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) today released the following statement in response to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's (IURC) ruling that denied Indiana utility companies' request to increase rates to seek recovery of lost revenue and extended the utility moratorium in Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). Moed sent a letter back in May urging the IURC to deny Indiana utility companies' plan to seek a rate increase approval to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic.  In his original letter he stated, "Now is not the time to hurt those who are already struggling by shifting the burden of these short-term losses to families and small businesses." The IURC announced today that they have denied a portion of a petition submitted by ten Indiana utility companies requesting an increase in utility rates to aid these companies in recovering lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also decided to temporarily prohibit any utility disconnections until August 14, 2020 to help Hoosiers. Additionally, the Commission is requiring all Hoosier utility companies to offer extended payment plans of at least six months to all customers to aid individuals who are struggling to pay their utility bills.


BANKS ATTENDS BOUNTY BRIEFING: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House invited eight lawmakers from the relevant congressional committees to a briefing on Monday, but she did not provide further details (Groppe, USA Today). Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican who serves on the Armed Services Committee, blasted the media for disclosing the intelligence after he attended that White House briefing. He said the New York Times, which first reported the story, will have blood on their hands for disrupting an investigation into the Russian operation. "The real scandal: We’ll likely never know the truth… Because the @nytimes used unconfirmed intel in an ONGOING investigation into targeted killing of American soldiers in order to smear the President. The blood is on their hands," Banks, who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and deployed to Afghanistan, wrote on Twitter.

BANKS TWEETS ABOUT BOUNTY CASE: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks tweeted Monday: "I just left the White House where I was briefed by CoS @MarkMeadows and top intelligence officials. They discussed @nytimes' hit piece falsely accusing @realDonaldTrump of ignoring reports that Russia placed bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan. Sad, but many in the media & Congress rushed to judgement before learning the whole story. We should treat anonymously sourced. Here's a fact: No President in my lifetime has been tougher on Russia than @realDonaldTrump."

SEN. BRAUN STICKS BY QUALIFIED IMMUNITY BILL: Sen. Mike Braun is standing by his bill to reform qualified immunity for police throughout the United States (Darling, WIBC). His bill, the “Reforming Qualified Immunity Act”, would roll back and rework the parameters by which a police officer has qualified immunity in the event someone is hurt or even killed while in an engagement with a police officer. It would also make it easier for people to sue police officers if they feel they’ve been wronged. “Going back to what I learned last week, first of all, law enforcement in Indiana was talking about eliminating it (qualified immunity) or drastically modifying it,” Braun told Tucker Carlson on Fox News Monday evening. “This (bill) was to find that sweet spot.”

BUCSHON SAYS HEALTH CARE SHOULDN'T BE GOVERNMENT RUN: U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) released the following statement the after the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425), which is House Democrats’ proposal to double down on Obamacare at its failed promises (Howey Politics Indiana): “A decade ago, Obamacare became the law of the land and this massive government takeover of our nation’s health care system came full of empty promises. President Obama and Congressional Democrats famously promised Americans that if they liked their doctor, they could keep their doctor. However, millions of Americans lost access to their doctor as insurers have resorted to narrowing networks. And, instead of seeing premiums decreased by $2,500, as President Obama promised, American families have seen their premiums skyrocket year after year.

FAUCI TO TESTIFY AT 10 THIS MORNING: Four of the top health officials in the United States, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will testify in Congress on Tuesday about the coronavirus, which is spreading with increasing ferocity in at least 30 states (New York Times). The hearing by the Senate’s health and education committee was framed as an “update on progress toward safely getting back to work and back to school.” But officials will likely grapple with an inverse idea, as a group of states pause or reverse course on plans to reopen. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern, and The New York Times will have live coverage.


ISDH: MONDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported 312 new positive coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the state’s total to 45,228. Those cases occurred between June 17 and June 28, but were reported to ISDH within the last 24 hours. ISDH also announced an additional 5 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, bringing Indiana’s total to 2,432. Those deaths occurred between June 24 and June 28. Marion County reported their totals as 11,279 cases and 677 deaths – the most in the state. The new numbers show 476,519 people have been tested statewide with a rate of 9.5% positive. The state has not released data on recoveries. ISDH is reporting 192 total probable deaths. The agency said probable deaths are those for which a physician listed COVID-19 as a contributing cause based on X-rays, scans and other clinical symptoms but for which no positive test is on record. Intensive care unit and ventilator capacity remains steady. As of Monday, more than 40 percent of ICU beds and nearly 84 percent of ventilators are available.

IURC: DUKE REQUEST SLASHED 60% - Indiana regulators have slashed by 60% a request from Duke Energy to raise rates on 840,000 customers across the state (IBJ). The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ruled Monday that Duke Energy, the state’s largest electricity provider, could collect an additional $146 million a year from customers. That’s down sharply from Duke Energy’s original request of $395 million and its revised request of $362 million. A Duke Energy spokeswoman said it would take several weeks to calculate new monthly rates, based on the approved revenue requirement. Under the utility’s original request, filed last summer, monthly household bills would have increased by an average of 15%. The increase, after it is calculated, will be implemented in two phases: the first later this year, and the second next year.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL COMMENTS ON SCOTUS RUSSO RULING - Attorney General Curtis Hill today issued the following statement (Howey Politics Indiana): “By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court today invalidated a Louisiana requirement that abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges. Indiana, together with Arkansas, previously submitted an amicus brief joined by 18 other states urging the court both to reject the authority of abortion clinics to bring this type of lawsuit and to uphold the Louisiana admitting privileges law. Rather than siding today with the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts could have helped steer the court toward a truer constitutional course. In his own dissenting opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch aptly observed that, with the opinions of the Chief Justice and the four liberal justices, ‘To arrive at today’s result, rules must be brushed aside and shortcuts taken.’ He grieved that today’s decision ‘is a sign we have lost our way.’

EDUCATION: PURDUE EXPANDING HEALTH CENTER - The Protect Purdue Implementation Team is expanding its efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus this upcoming semester. Purdue University announced it will create the Protect Purdue Health Center Monday morning. It will serve as as the main point of contact for COVID-19 sampling, testing and quarantining on campus (WLFI-TV). "We want people to really start at that point of the Protect Purdue Health Center so that we just have a good understanding of what's going on in the community," said Protect Purdue Implementation Team Leader David Broecker. Purdue's new health center will be the next step in preventing the spread of the coronavirus as students and faculty return to campus this fall. "What we are wanting to do with the Protect Purdue Health Center is to create a single point of contact for that entire community as it relates to anything related to COVID," said Broecker.

EDUCATION: PURDUE ANNOUNCES NEW TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS - Purdue has released new travel restrictions in place for all faculty, staff and students (WLFI-TV). As of Monday, no university-sponsored international travel is allowed until the US Department of State travel advisories and CDC guidance have been lifted. Other travel can only occur if it is in full compliance with public health guidelines in both Indiana and the destination state. Vehicular travel is also being restricted. Occupancy cannot exceed 50% and masks must be worn for the duration of a trip.

SPORTS: BUTTE OF MILAN '54 CHAMPS DIES - Glen Butte, who played on the historic 1954 Milan High School boys basketball team that won a state championship and inspired generations of small schools across Indiana, died Saturday at his home in Batesville at age 81 (WRTV). Butte was a 6-5 sophomore forward on the "Milan Miracle" team that provided the basis for the 1986 movie "Hoosiers" by defeating Muncie Central 32-30 on Bobby Plump's last second shot at Butler Fieldhouse. Butte grew up in neighboring Pierceville and was a member of the self-named Alleycats, a group of boys who learned to play basketball in a barnyard, according to an obituary on the website of the Milan '54 Hoosiers Museum. After he graduated from Milan, Butte attended Indiana University to study education and play basketball for coach Branch McCracken. He later taught, coached basketball and served as an administrator in Moores Hill, Dillsboro, Orleans and Batesville.

SPORTS: CUBS TO TRAIN IN SOUTH BEND - The Chicago Cubs revealed late Sunday how they will go about preparing for the 2020 Major League Baseball season, one that finally will start at the end of July during the coronavirus pandemic (South Bend Tribune). Part of the blueprint calls for 11 players not currently on the team's Major League roster to head for Four Winds Field in South Bend. There, they will train and work out in the event that they're needed by the parent club somewhere along the way of a 60-game regular season.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SAYS PRINCETON 'INCREDIBLY STUPID' FOR REMOVING WILSON - President Trump on Monday criticized Princeton University for removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public and international affairs and called a push to remove John Wayne’s name from a California airport “incredible stupidity” (Washington Post). The president’s twin broadsides, in a morning tweet, marked his latest objections to efforts to update names of facilities amid a tense national debate on race relations in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE SAYS MORE CONSERVATIVES NEEDED FOR SCOTUS - Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Monday: "After today’s disappointing decision by SCOTUS, one thing is clear: We need more Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will receive his intel briefing at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office.

COVID: DRUG COSTS $3K - Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD detailed its pricing plans for Covid-19 drug remdesivir, saying it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a typical patient (Wall Street Journal). The drugmaker on Monday disclosed its pricing plans as it prepares to begin charging for the drug in July. The U.S. has been distributing remdesivir donated by Gilead since the drug was authorized for emergency use in May. Under the company’s plans, Gilead will charge a higher price for most patients in the U.S., and a lower price for the rest of the developed world where governments directly negotiate drug prices.

COVID: 43% OF DEATHS AT NURSING HOMES - At least 54,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died from the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, accounting for 43 percent of virus-related deaths in the United States (New York Times). Relying on reports from states, counties and individual facilities, as well as some data from the federal government, The Times has tracked 282,000 known coronavirus cases at some 12,000 facilities. Most of the country’s largest clusters have emerged in nursing homes, prisons and food processing facilities — places where social distancing is difficult or impossible, and in some cases where shutting down because of the pandemic was not an option.

SCOTUS: ROBERTS PLAYING LONG GAME - After Chief Justice John Roberts stunned conservatives by voting against them on a big case for the third time in 12 days, advocates on both sides agreed on one thing: Roberts is playing a long game (Allen, Axios). Roberts, 65, nominated by President George W. Bush, is acutely conscious of both his personal legacy and the reputation of the institution. So court-watchers in both parties see a wily pragmatism in his surprise votes. Roberts yesterday joined with the court's liberal bloc in striking down a Louisiana limit on abortion, as he had in the past two weeks on rulings protecting LGBTQ workers and giving a reprieve to Dreamers. "I think Roberts believes he is where much of the country see themselves — conservative about their money and tolerant on social issues," said Hilary Rosen, a Democratic consultant and co-founder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

SCOTUS: FED EXECUTIONS TO CONTINUE - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block the execution of four federal prison inmates who are scheduled to be put to death in July and August (AP). The executions would mark the first use of the death penalty on the federal level since 2003. The justices rejected an appeal from four inmates who were convicted of killing children. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor noted that they would have blocked the executions from going forward. The court’s action leaves no obstacles standing in the way of the executions, the first of which is scheduled for July 13.

SCOTUS: PRESIDENT CAN CONTROL CONSUMER BUREAU - The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as conceived by President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, making it easier for the agency’s leader to be removed for any reason (ABC News). In a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court struck down part of the law that established a CFPB director who could only be fired for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.” Defenders of the provision said the rules ensured independence of the watchdog agency, keeping it insulated from politics with a leader not directly answerable to the White House and only removable for cause. But Roberts writes the director of the agency "must be removable by the president at will."

SCOTUS: RTL'S FICHTER REACTS TO RUSSO DECISION - Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter issued the following statement in response to today's Supreme Court ruling in June Medical Services LLC vs. Russo (Howey Politics Indiana). “Today’s ruling is an insult to every woman who has ever been injured or placed at risk at an abortion business. Not only does this ruling undermine states’ rights to enforce health and safety regulations for abortion businesses, it places political ideology over the Constitution. This is an outrageous ruling protecting the business of killing unborn children over common sense safeguards for women.” Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote in striking down the Louisiana law.

PENTAGON: 5 HOOSIER FIRMS LAND CONTRACTS - Five Hoosier companies are each receiving a $17.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. The contracts, one of which is also being awarded to a New Jersey company, call for the production of build-to-print machined parts for various military projects (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). The companies include J&R Tool Inc. and Loughmiller Machine Tool & Die, both based in Loogootee, as well as MSP Aviation Inc. and Specialty CNC Inc., both based in Bloomington. Springville-based Embree Machine Inc. was also awarded a contract. The parts being produced through the contracts are used in military projects such as the fixed forward firing weapons and interface unit automatic processor systems used in military helicopters.


KENDALLVILLE: CAMPER TESTS POSITIVE; CAMP CLOSED — A youngster taking part in Kendallville’s Camp Wethonkitha has tested positive for COVID-19 after a household member had tested positive earlier last week (Garbacz, KPC News). On Friday, the Noble County Health Department announced with the Cole Center YMCA and Kendallville Park Department, which together put on the popular day camp, that Camp Wethonkitha would be shut down this week as a precaution after a camper showed cold-like symptoms following a family member testing positive for COVID-19. In a brief Facebook post on Monday afternoon, camp runners confirmed that the student in question has also tested positive for COVID-19. “Sadly, our camper has tested positive, therefore it’s important that all staff and campers get tested and self-isolate until test results are back,” the Kendallville Camp Wethonkitha post stated. “If you have additional questions contact Dawn McGahen. Please keep our camper and their family in your prayers.” On Friday, the health department said the camp was being suspended in order to allow all campers and staff to get tested for coronavirus.

ANDREWS: RAYTHEON BLAMES TOWN FOR WATER PROBLEM - The back and forth between the town of Andrews and the former United Technologies continues in federal court paperwork (WANE-TV). Andrews blames UTech for polluting the town’s drinking water and wants new parent company Raytheon to provide an emergency fix. The town has gone more than 10 days without drinking water. Raytheon tells the court there is no emergency as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has shown the water safe and Raytheon has provided a solution to low fire hydrant pressure. Raytheon blames Andrews for failure to maintain the system and secretly restarting “well one,” which then exceeded the capacity of the “air stripper” water cleaning tool provided by the company.

INDIANAPOLIS: WOMEN SUES IMPD - Two women have filed an excessive force lawsuit against four Indianapolis police officers after video was released of officers using batons and pepper balls to subdue the women at a protest last month over the death of George Floyd (IBJ). Ivoré Westfield and Rachel Harding, both of Marion County, filed the federal lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Three Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers and one sergeant—all named as “John Does”—are listed as defendants. The names of the officers involved in the incident have not been released. According to the lawsuit, the women are seeking damages, attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. Westfield and Harding were taken into custody shortly before 9 p.m. on May 31 in downtown Indianapolis. The lawsuit states that Harding and Westfield were approached for violating curfew but that they remained passive and cooperative with officers. Video of the arrest, recorded by WISH-TV, shows Westfield, who is black, being held from behind by a white male officer, escaping his grasp and then being surrounded by several other officers.

MICHIGAN CITY: NIPSCO DELAYS COAL ASH REMOVAL — NIPSCO said Friday it will delay work to close five coal ash ponds at its lakeshore generating station until spring 2021 (NWI Times). Several organizations had requested the delay because of concerns that excavation and transportation of the coal ash from the Michigan City Generating Station to a landfill at the company's R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield could contribute to an increase in air pollution, which in turn could lead to a higher COVID-19 mortality rate in affected communities. The LaPorte County Branch of the NAACP and Just Transition NWI said in a news release that NIPSCO's willingness to address community concerns was important and the delay "has been acknowledged as a necessary step within the closure process."

ANDERSON: CHARGES FOR SON OF FORMER PD CHIEF - Adam Watters, the son of former Anderson Police Chief Tony Watters, has entered guilty pleas on two misdemeanor counts and has resigned from the Anderson Police Department (Anderson Herald Bulletin). According to the plea agreement, Watters was fined one dollar and ordered to pay court costs in the amount of $185.50. Watters, 24, pleaded guilty on Monday in Madison Circuit Court Division 5 to misdemeanor charges of battery and interference with the reporting of a crime, Judge Thomas Clem said. Clem said felony charges of residential entry, official misconduct, strangulation and criminal confinement were dismissed by special prosecutor Eric Hoffman of Delaware County. Clem said Watters was placed on probation for one year with the standard terms of probation. “There was no sweetheart deal,” he said.

HAMMOND: WATER OFFICIAL RESIGNS — It turns out public official Michael Opinker did resign from the Hammond Water Board amid the public disclosure of a police body camera video in a pending drunken driving case (NWI Times). Opinker's criminal defense attorney, George Galanos, confirmed Monday that Opinker resigned from the water board post at the behest of Mayor Thomas McDermott, who appoints those positions. Galanos originally told The Times Saturday evening that his client did not and would not resign the seat, contrary to what McDermott said earlier in the day — that Opinker tendered his water board resignation earlier that morning.

PORTAGE: 'TOTAL CHAOS' AT RINK BEGAN WITH 2 GIRLS — A disturbance between two girls appears to have triggered the "total chaos" that broke out Saturday night among the crowd of 200 to 300 young people at the local Sk8 World roller skating rink, police said Monday (Karsarda, NWI Times). The sporadic fights and other unruliness, which resulted in one officer being knocked to the ground and others pinned against the building by an approaching crowd, was the result of just a few of those in attendance, Portage police said. The only arrest so far was a 17-year-old boy, who had been reported missing in Gary, according to the incident report.


CARMEL: 11 MORE ROUNDABOUTS PLANNED - The City of Carmel—already the self-proclaimed “Roundabout Capital of the United States”—on Monday released a list of 11 intersections where it plans to build additional roundabouts over the next two years (IBJ). Many of the projects have been previously announced but have been added to the construction schedule beginning this summer and continuing through 2021. The city also said it plans to repave Keystone Parkway and extend Range Line Road from City Center Drive to Elm Street. The extension will include a new Walnut Street (or 6th Street) roundabout.

CARMEL: HOA SEEKS TO EUTHANIZE GEESE - The debate continues over what to do with the 70 geese that were supposed to be euthanized in Carmel. The homeowner's association doesn't have permission to follow through with their plan to kill the birds just yet. Since RTV6 first aired the story, dozens of people have emailed and called about them. Some in a hurry to save the birds and others in a rush to see them gone. RTV6 has attempted repeatedly to hear from the HOA in the Lexington Farms neighborhood to get their side of the story. Representatives of the HOA keep saying that will respond but have not given an interview or a statement about the situation.

FORT WAYNE: ZOO OPENS JULY 4 - The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will open to the public on Saturday, with precautions in place to keep guests safe (WANE-TV). The zoo will be open to all guests from noon until 7 p.m. daily starting Saturday, July 4. The zoo had been open to members only since June 14. “Zoo members have enjoyed the past few weeks and starting Saturday, July 4th, we will open for the general public,” said the zoo’s executive director, Jim Anderson. “The Zoo looks beautiful, our staff, volunteers and Zoo animals can’t wait for the community to come back to the Zoo.”

BATTLEGROUND: FIDDLER'S GATHERING GOES VIRTUAL - For the first time in 48 years, the Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering has gone virtual (WLFI-TV). On Sunday morning, the organization posted a Youtube video of eight folk music groups sharing their talents via video recording. "This would have been its 48th year of being outside," said Karah Rawlings, Executive Director of Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering. "When they started to lock things down and it was looking like having large social gatherings was not a good idea, we had to make a decision early on." Rawlings said this year's show must go on so they decided to make it virtual. The team of organizers are calling this year's festival the 'Indiana Fiddlers' UnGathering Wish We Were Here Tour.' Each music group pre-recorded their performances, which were then edited to create one large concert video.

VIGO COUNTY: DEPUTY RESIGNS AFTER FACEBOOK POSTINGS - A longtime deputy enmeshed in turmoil over his personal Facebook posts has turned in his retirement papers at the Vigo County Sheriff's Office (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Lt. Mike Anderson submitted his retirement paperwork this morning, Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said. The Tribune-Star reached Anderson by phone this afternoon, and he declined to comment. Anderson is no longer on duty, Plasse said. Anderson's final day on the payroll remains to be determined because the 40-year veteran has accrued paid time off that is being calculated. “It was his decision,” Plasse said of Anderson's retirement, adding that he “did not pressure” Anderson to leave the department after discussing the Facebook postings that earlier this month resulted in the school corporation firing Anderson as a school resource officer.