BUTTIGIEG 3RD IN INDIANA POLL: Hoosier Democrats aren’t at home yet with native born South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, choosing former Vice President Joe Biden and liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as their first and second picks in the state’s 2020 presidential primary (Washington Examiner). A new survey from We Ask America said that Biden is backed by 33%, Sanders 23% and Buttigieg 20%. The results, coming after weeks of media hype and favorable Time and Vanity Fair features about the mayor, are a disappointing showing for the candidate considered a favorite son, said the survey analysis. “Despite being the home-state candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a long way to go if he hopes to win Indiana in the Democratic primary next year as former Vice President Joe Biden has a 10-point lead over second place U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders,” said Andrew Weissert of We Ask America. “Despite very loud noise from the far left of the Democratic Party and Buttigieg's popularity in the South Bend region, it seems that, for now, rank-and-file Indiana Democrats prefer a traditional party leader,” he added. In a New Hampshire Monmouth Poll, Buttigieg is third with 9%, trailing Biden at 36%, Sanders at 18%, but leading Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 8% and Sen. Kamala Harris at 6%.

FEDS CHARGE 2 FROM CHINA IN ANTHEM HACK: A federal grand jury in Indianapolis has indicted a Chinese national in connection with the massive computer hacking of health insurer Anthem Inc. in 2015 that compromised the private information of 78.8 million customers and former customers (Russell, IBJ). The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday afternoon that Chinese resident Fujie Wang, 32, and other members of a hacking group broke into the computer networks of Anthem and three other U.S. businesses and installed malware to thwart the systems and steal private information. The other hacked companies were not identified. Wang and another defendant, identified only as John Doe, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in relation to computers and identify theft, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two substantive counts of intentional damage to a protected computer. The FBI has issued a "wanted" poster for Wang, who is believed to live in Shenzhen, China. It isn't clear whether prosecutors would be able to bring him to the United States for trial if he is apprehended. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana declined to comment. Prosecutors say the defendants used “extremely sophisticated techniques” to hack into Anthem’s computers and steal confidential business information and patient records. That included sending specially tailored “spearfishing” emails with embedded hyperlinks to employees. After a user accessed the hyperlink, a file was downloaded that, when executed, deployed malware that compromised the user’s computer system by installing a tool known as a back door that gave the defendants remote access to the system.

TARIFFS UP AS PRESSURE RATCHETS: The U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% Friday as President Trump ratcheted up pressure on Beijing and threatened to impose additional levies on virtually everything China exports to the U.S. The tariff hike went into force hours after U.S. and Chinese negotiators met Thursday in hopes of getting the troubled trade talks back on track. Discussions are set to resume Friday, but the White House said it had no plans to suspend the scheduled tariff increase, which will raise levies from the current 10% (Wall Street Journal). Beijing has said it would retaliate against the U.S. actions. As soon as the tariff increase took effect, the Chinese Commerce Ministry expressed regret and reiterated that Beijing “cannot but take necessary countermeasures.” It didn’t specify how or when Beijing would retaliate. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for a working dinner Thursday night. Afterward, Messrs. Lighthizer and Mnuchin briefed Mr. Trump on the talks, the White House said. Earlier Thursday, Mr. Trump told reporters the U.S. was also taking steps to impose fresh 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that aren’t currently taxed. If that happens, virtually all Chinese exports to the U.S. would face 25% tariffs. “I’m different than a lot of people,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “I happen to think the tariffs for our country are very powerful.” The White House said talks would resume again on Friday but it remains uncertain whether the two sides can bridge the differences that have arisen over the past week (New York Times).

TRUMP SAYS 'I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN': In remarks at the White House, the president said he had received a “beautiful letter” from President Xi Jinping of China and would probably speak to him by phone, but Mr. Trump said he was more than happy to keep hitting Beijing with tariffs. “I have no idea what’s going to happen,” he said (New York Times). “They’ll see what they can do, but our alternative is, is an excellent one,” Mr. Trump added, noting that American tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products were bringing “billions” in to the United States government. “We were getting very close to a deal then they started to renegotiate the deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We can’t have that.”

TRUMP RECEIVES 'BEAUTIFUL LETTER' FROM XI: President Trump said on Thursday he had received “a beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping and may speak to him by phone, though Trump did not say whether that would occur before a scheduled increase in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday (Washington Post). The president said Xi’s message was: “Let’s work together. Let’s see if we can get something done.” Robert E. Lighthizer, the chief U.S. trade negotiator, is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Thursday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to continue negotiations aimed at a comprehensive deal. Those talks had been proceeding smoothly, with U.S. officials predicting a final accord could be agreed to as soon as this week. But China last weekend angered the president by trying to water down its commitments, according to Lighthizer. Chinese officials balked at specifying in the agreement which laws would be amended to address U.S. concerns over forced technology transfer and intellectual property protection, U.S. officials said. “The vice premier is coming here today. We were getting very close to a deal, and then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” the president said, following a White House event on preventing surprise medical bills. “It was their idea to come back.”

INDIANA'S 'MR. SOYBEAN' BILL SILVER DIES: Hoosier farmer William “Bill” Silver of Boswell, IN, a pioneer in launching the soybean checkoff in Indiana, died Tuesday, May 7 (Hoosier Ag Today). Silver served as an advocate for all Indiana farmers, and he also supported the creation of the state’s soybean checkoff program. Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, said Silver took pride in the growth and work the checkoff provided for farmers. “Those of us who have worked to support Hoosier farmers were saddened to learn that Mr. Indiana Soybean, Bill Silver, has passed away,” Stevens said. “Bill was the soybean farmer who led the effort for many years to get a soybean checkoff passed. He has always been an advocate for farmers and took great pride is seeing how the Indiana Soybean Alliance has developed. We lost a great advocate this week. May he rest in peace.”

INDIANA HOSPITALS CHARGE 311% OF MEDICARE COSTS: Indiana hospitals charge privately insured patients more than three times what Medicare pays for similar procedures, making it one of the most expensive states in the nation for hospital care, according to a new Rand Corp. study (Russell, IBJ). The study examined nearly 1,600 hospitals in 25 states, looking at prices paid by private health plans for a wide range of procedures in 2017 compared with what Medicare would have paid. It found that Indiana hospitals charged 311% of what Medicare would have paid, making it the most expensive state in the study. Rand said it examined only states where it was able to obtain data, and hopes to include all 50 states for a report that will be released in early 2020. On average, the hospitals across the study charged 241% of what Medicare would have paid. But there was a wide variation among states. Michigan hospitals had the lowest relative prices, charging privately insured patients an average of 153% of what Medicare would pay. Other states on the low end were Pennsylvania (169%), New York (178%) and Kentucky (186%). At the high end—in addition to Indiana—were Wyoming (302%), Maine (283%), Wisconsin (279%) and Montana (277%).

BRAUN ANNOUNCES DRUG PRICE TRANSPARENCY BILL: U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) today introduced the FAIR Drug Pricing Act. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation takes the first step in addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices by requiring transparency for pharmaceutical corporations that plan to increase drug prices (Howey Politics Indiana). Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tina Smith (D-MN) have also signed on as cosponsors of the FAIR Drug Pricing Act. “It’s time for pharmaceutical companies to clean up their act, otherwise they will be stuck with one customer: the federal government,” said Braun. “This legislation will help push them into the right direction by requiring transparency and justification before drug companies can increase the cost of certain drugs by more than 10 percent over one year or 25 percent over three years.” “For too long, I’ve heard story after story from Wisconsinites who are struggling to afford the life-saving medications they need,” said Senator Baldwin. “Drug corporations are making prescription drugs more and more expensive with no systematic transparency to taxpayers. My bipartisan reform will change that and demand answers from drug companies who are jacking up the prices on the medications that Americans need. It is time for Congress to take action and take on the rising costs of medicine people depend on.”

U.S./NORTH KOREA POW/MIA TALKS BREAK DOWN: Talks between the United States and North Korea regarding the remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers have broken down following President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam at the end of February (Newsweek). Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) "officials have not communicated with DPAA since the Hanoi summit," Chuck Prichard, a spokesman for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said Wednesday, CNN reported. "As a result, our efforts to communicate with the Korean People's Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operations for 2019 has been suspended." During Trump and Kim’s first summit, in Singapore last June, which marked the first time a sitting U.S. president had met with a North Korean leader, the two signed an agreement that said the remains would be returned. “The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified,” the joint statement from Trump and Kim said.

TRUMP TAUNTS DEMS BY GOADING IMPEACHMENT: As the White House and Congress escalate their constitutional showdown, President Trump and his team are essentially trying to call what they see as the Democrats’ bluff. The message: Put up or shut up. Impeach or move on (New York Times). Confident that there are not enough votes to remove him from office through an impeachment trial in the Senate, Mr. Trump and his advisers have chosen the path of maximum resistance, calculating that they can put the Democrats on the defensive in a fight that is politically useful for the president. The decision to assert executive privilege and defy subpoenas across the board suits Mr. Trump’s natural combative instincts and fits the grievance narrative he has adopted by arguing that the establishment is out to get him. The president seems eager to force the hand of Democrats who are investigating him as if they are conducting an impeachment inquiry without actually calling it that and risking any of the political problems that might come with it. “If it’s an impeachment proceeding, then somebody should call it that,” said Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers. “If you don’t call their bluff now, they’ll just keep slithering around for four, five, six months.”

JUDGE FAST-TRACKS CASE ON TRUMP FINANCIAL RECORDS: Congress and Donald Trump's fight over his financial records is now on the fast track (CNN). Judge Amit Mehta plans next week to weigh the major legal issues raised in President Donald Trump's challenge of a congressional subpoena for his accounting firm's records, according to an order issued Thursday -- putting the case on an even faster track than it previously looked to be. Congress has subpoenaed Trump and his business' accounting records from the firm Mazars USA, and Trump's personal legal team sued to stop the records from being turned over. A hearing is now scheduled for May 14.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: I'm not surprised Mayor Pete comes in third in an Indiana poll. Beyond his unsuccessful 2010 state treasurer race, Pete Buttigieg did little to build an Indiana political base beyond the South Bend media market. He was active in AIM circles, but skipped a key step in going national by neglecting to build a base in his home state. He might win an Indiana presidential primary if no one locks up the nomination a year from now, but Mayor Pete will have to work his home state. - Brian A. Howey


MERRITT PRESSER ON 10 POINT COMMENTS: Republican Indianapolis mayoral nominee Jim Merritt will be addressing the recent insensitive and offensive remarks made against the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition by two key members of the Hogsett administration – and the inadequate response to the situation by Mayor Joe Hogsett and his staff (Howey Politics Indiana). He will appear at West 29th St and MLK St. at 11:45 a.m. today.

ROBERSON PROMISES 'PIVOT' IN ELKHART: After winning the Democratic nomination in the Tuesday primary for Elkhart mayor, Rod Roberson is moving his focus to defeating Republican Dave Miller in the Nov. 5 election (Elkhart Truth). “Now I pivot,” Roberson said Wednesday. “And when I say I pivot, I just make sure that I’m speaking to a broader audience about the same things.”

LIBERTARIAN FILES AGAINST MAYOR WINNECKE: Bart Gadau has filed to run in the Nov. 5 election for mayor as a Libertarian Party candidate (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). Gadau so far is the only general election challenger to two-term Republican Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, who on Tuesday claimed 88 percent of the vote in a primary victory over Connie Whitman. Gadau, 43, ran as a Libertarian for U.S. Congress in 2012 and for the 1st Ward City Council seat in 2015, receiving vote percentages in the single digits. "I've lived in Evansville my entire life, and my whole adult life we've kind of done the same thing," Gadau said. "We've pushed for Downtown Evansville, and it takes all our tax money. They build big shiny buildings there to try to bring in more people, and it hurts the everyday taxpayer. "Middle- and lower-income families are hurting, and they can't pay their water and sewer bills," he said. " ... I think we need someone who represents the everyday person rather than large businesses."

NEW ERA IN HAMMOND POLITICS AFTER 2 COUNCIL UPSETS: The defeat of two longtime Hammond Common Council members in the Democratic primary points to a new era in city politics, with the council poised to become more representative of the electorate and even friendlier to the mayor’s office (Racke, NWI Times). In a pair of stunning victories Tuesday, first-time council candidates Barry Tyler Jr., 34, and Katrina Alexander, 35, unseated the council’s two longest tenured incumbents. Tyler made perhaps the biggest splash of primary night, easily defeating District 3 Councilman Anthony Higgs, who has held that seat since 2003. Alexander finished third in the race for Hammond’s three at-large seats, knocking eight-term Councilman Bob Markovich out of the running for the general election. Some influential Lake County Democrats say the election results in Hammond mark a tipping point in favor of younger, less experienced candidates. It was no surprise that Markovich and Higgs — with nearly a half century on the council between them — were the incumbents unseated by 30-something challengers, said District 5 Councilman and Hammond Democratic Party Chair Dave Woerpel. “I think it’s a sign of things to come,” he told The Times on Wednesday. “Cities and towns (in the Region) are moving toward younger candidates.”

DEMOCRATS SAY HOLCOMB IS 'TIMID':  Indiana’s tragic infant mortality rate often find its way into first-term Gov. Eric Holcomb’s talking points, according to the Indiana Democratic Party (Howey Politics Indiana). Yesterday, like in 2018, he signed a bill to address it and has committed to achieving the lowest rate in the Midwest by 2024 (Indiana currently possesses the Midwest's highest). Great talking points, but for a governor who places high value on the ‘sanctity of life’ and who enjoys commanding legislative majorities, it’s not an approach that screams urgency. It’s a pattern for Holcomb, who refuses to burn capital or take a stand on just about anything. It’s not as if big, bold action on infant mortality isn’t possible. Georgia dropped its rate of infant mortality per 1,000 births from 7.7 to 6.6 between 2011 and 2013 with an at-any-cost approach. And the cost of dragging feet is high. In 2017, the Midwest’s lowest infant mortality rate belonged to Minnesota at 4.8/1,000 births compared to Indiana’s rate of 7.3. Apply Minnesota’s rate to Indiana’s 82,251 births in 2017 and 200 fewer children die before celebrating their first birthday. Extend that projection to 2024, and more than 1,400 children would be saved. Don't forget, Indiana Republicans also cut a modest funding request for doulas - a tool in the fight against infant mortality - in the waning hours of the 2019 legislative session. What’s behind Holcomb's timid tactics? Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believed Holcomb is allergic to bold action. “Three years on, and it’s pretty clear Governor Holcomb lacks the bold vision and political courage to take a stand on just about anything,” said Zody. “Holcomb’s decision to play it safe on infant mortality means as many as 200 more children won’t celebrate their first birthdays. We should expect more from Holcomb with so much at stake.”

Presidential 2020

DEMOCRAT DEBATES SET FOR JUNE 26-27: The first Democratic primary debate - being aired by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo - will be at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27. It will air between 9 and 11 p.m. (Politico Playbook).

MAYOR PETE DRAWS BIG CROWD IN HOLLYWOOD: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg drew a sold-out crowd Thursday to a fundraiser at an iconic West Hollywood gay bar, providing an intimate moment with the first Democratic White House contender who is a member of the LGBT community (AP). Attendees at The Abbey each paid about $25 to attend the "grassroots" event. Buttigieg was introduced by his husband, Chasten. It's just one of a crush of fundraisers he has in the coming days, with actress Gwyneth Paltrow holding a high-dollar fundraiser later Thursday. Buttigieg told the audience to ignore skeptics who say change is impossible: "Tell them you saw ... a top tier presidential candidate on his way to the White House moments after his husband introduced him." Earlier Thursday, Buttigieg joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and various union leaders at a morning rally in support of a parcel tax on the June 4 state ballot to increasing funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District, KCAL9-TV reported.

TRUMP POKES AT MAYOR PETE:  President Donald Trump mocked congressional Democrats at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday and called on them to end their investigations into his business and personal activities (AP). Trump referred to potential Democratic rivals for the presidency, saying, "We've got some real beauties" and "Let's just pick somebody, please, and let's start this thing." The president added South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate — to the mix of potential rivals that have his attention. He said mockingly that he would like to see Buttigieg representing the U.S. against President Xi Jinping of China in trade talks. He said, "Representing us against Xi in China. That will be great."

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN NOT PROVIDING HEALTH COVERAGE: On the campaign trail, Pete Buttigieg likes to say that “health care is freedom” and that if “leaving your job means you’re going to lose your health care, that means you’re not free” (NBC News). But as he staffs up a national campaign, the upstart Democratic presidential candidate isn’t providing health care coverage to any of his own campaign workers, an NBC News review of his campaign spending disclosures shows. Instead, Buttigieg is providing a monthly stipend to workers to buy insurance on their own through the Obamacare exchanges, his campaign said, with plans to offer health care in the future. The practice stands in contrast to the other leading presidential candidates this year, as Democrats have made a point of aligning their internal practices with the policies and values they are emphasizing on the campaign trail. Federal Election Commission records show Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign made an $87,000 payment to United Healthcare in March. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaigns have made payments to Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Sen. Cory Booker’s staff has coverage through Aetna. Buttigieg’s campaign currently has 49 workers, but has been staffing up rapidly, and plans to hit the 50 mark imminently. “Crossing this threshold will put us in a position to get a good multi-state group plan, which we are currently negotiating,” said Buttigieg press secretary Chris Meagher.

HUPFER CALLS BUTTIGIEG A 'HYPOCRITE': Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer called South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg "a hypocrite" over the NBC News report. "If there wasn't already any doubt, today it is clear: Mayor Buttigieg is a hypocrite," said Hupfer (Howey Politics Indiana). "He's telling taxpayers they should shoulder the costs for everyone's health care, but he's not willing to foot the costs of covering his own employees." Instead of providing health insurance coverage, Buttigieg's campaign is providing its campaign workers a stipend of just $400 a month for health care, which the report highlights is in contrast to other campaigns. "Buttigieg's stipend is the equivalent of someone giving you a few bucks and saying 'don't spend it all in one place.' Americans deserve real health care solutions -- including more competition to help drive down costs," said Hupfer. "But all we're getting from Buttigieg is hypocrisy and proposals that will irrevocably harm the world's greatest health care system."

BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGNS WITH GARCETTI: Pete Buttigieg campaigned with Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti on Thursday (Howey Politics Indiana). "Pete Buttigieg is one of America's great mayors," Garcetti said. "At the end of the day if you care about homelessness, you better care about public education. Because if you don’t educated a kid they may end up on the street when they grow up. If you’re sick and tired of paying so much to incarcerate so many Americans, how about investing in education so somebody never goes to jail. If you care about unemployment, how about giving people the skills in a school so that we don’t have to worry about paying unemployment to somebody who wants to work but never had the education. Pete Buttigieg understands that because Pete Buttigieg is one of America's great mayors."

BIDEN HAS BIG LEAD IN NH; PETE 4TH: Former Vice President Joe Biden is the clear front-runner for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation Democratic primary, according to the first Monmouth University Poll of Granite State primary voters in the 2020 cycle (Howey Politics Indiana). One-third of voters say that finding a candidate who will carry on former President Barack Obama’s legacy is very important to them and there is little difference in levels of candidate support by the importance voters place on Obama’s legacy. On the other hand, two-thirds of primary voters point to finding a nominee who can beat President Donald Trump as more important to them than agreement on the issues. In a field of 24 announced and potential candidates, Biden holds a clear lead with 36% support of registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters who are likely to participate in the February 2020 primary. He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 18%. Other contenders include South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (8%), and California Sen. Kamala Harris (6%).


PELOSI SAYS WE'RE IN A 'CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS': Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she agreed with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler's (D-N.Y.) assertion that the U.S. is currently facing a "constitutional crisis" after the panel voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress (The Hill). "Yes, I do agree with Chairman Nadler," Pelosi said during a press conference in the Capitol, "because the administration has decided that they're not going to honor their oath of office." Yet Pelosi said even a constitutional crisis is not grounds to launch impeachment hearings against the president before Nadler and the heads of the other investigative committees are able to gather more evidence — and convince more voters — that such a step is necessary.  "This is very methodical, it's very Constitution-based, it's very law-based, it's very factually based," she said. "It's not about pressure, it's about patriotism."

TRUMP JR. WON'T SHOW UP: A single senator criticizing a fellow senator of the same party, especially a committee chair, is rare enough (Axios). But six Republican senators (Cornyn, Cruz, Daines, Graham, Paul, Tillis) criticized the decision by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to subpoena Don Jr. about the Russia investigation. A Trump ally said: "We're drawing battle lines: If you touch Don, we'll come after you. ... And our base will come after you." And Don Jr.'s camp knows the media will always cover a Republican civil war. What's next: We're told Don Jr. won't show up. Options include daring the committee to hold him in contempt, taking the Fifth in writing, or (most likely) a compromise like answering written questions.

YOUNG ANNOUNCES AIRPORT GRANTS TO FORT WAYNE, EVANSVILLE:  U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today announced that Evansville Regional Airport and Fort Wayne International Airport will each receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) supplemental grants totaling $18.1 million (Howey Politics Indiana). Young urged Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to support funding for these important Hoosier airports. “As the Crossroads of America, it is critical that Indiana’s airports like Evansville Regional and Fort Wayne International continue to make important infrastructure investments,” said Senator Young. “These two Airport Improvement Program grants will help ensure these Hoosier assets remain vibrant and continue to drive economic development in their respective regions.”  Fort Wayne is in the midst of a vital apron improvement project to support safe and efficient aviation operations. The $9.2 million AIP grant will support the expedited conclusion of this project while enhancing operational flexibility and improving safety at the facility. Evansville’s current general aviation ramp infrastructure and the airfield drainage system will be upgraded to support airport operations. The $8.9 million AIP grant will support a reconstruction project, which will prevent flooding and sinkhole development, preserve overall airport infrastructure, and ensure unimpeded commercial operations.

YOUNG INTRODUCES EARLY PELL GRANT PROGRAM: U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation to make sure that more students have access to higher education (Howey Politics Indiana). Under current law, students only find out how much financial aid they will receive right before attending college. The Early Pell Promise Act provides more financial certainty for families by pre-qualifying certain students for full Pell Grant support starting as early as the eighth grade. It also ensures that families and students who pre-qualify for aid receive additional information about the cost of college attendance and student financial aid. “My Fair Shot Agenda is focused on ensuring that all Hoosiers have an opportunity to succeed regardless of financial barriers,” said Senator Young. “The Early Pell Promise Act aligns with this mission by ensuring our youth is set up for success through pre-qualification for Pell grants. By locking in financing for college as early as the eighth grade, more students will be able to afford higher education and plan for a prosperous future.”

YOUNG INTRODUCES OPPORTUNITY ZONE BILL: U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) introduced a bipartisan bill to restore and strengthen reporting requirements for Opportunity Zones, the tax incentive for individuals who reinvest unrealized capital gains into high-impact projects in underserved communities. These critical safeguards, which were included in the original Investing in Opportunity Act, were removed from the final measure that passed Congress in December 2017 (Howey Politics Indiana). “When we passed tax reform, I was proud to support the creation of Opportunity Zones to incentivize new investment in distressed communities across the country,” said Young. “Our bill will help strengthen Opportunity Zones by increasing transparency within the program and creating metrics to measure and improve on its success.”'

YOUNG PRESSES TRUMP TO 'DRAIN THE SWAMP':  A Hoosier senator is asking President Donald Trump to follow through on his oft-repeated pledge to "drain the swamp" by relocating federal agencies from Washington, D.C., to other parts of the country, especially Indiana (Carden, NWI Times). In a letter sent May 3, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., urges Trump to have his administration begin working on comprehensive feasibility studies for evaluating the economic, technological, workforce and logistical factors associated with moving all federal agencies, apart from those connected to national security, away from the national capital. "Completing these studies would be a sensible first step towards verifying the practicality of moving any single agency to a new home elsewhere in the country," Young said.

WALORSKI BILL WOULD HELP V.A. NEWBORNS: U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve health care coverage for newborn children of veterans. The Newborn Care Improvement Act would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide care for newborns for 14 days, doubling the current limit of seven days (Howey Politics Indiana). “Women who served our country with strength and courage deserve the best health care possible from the VA,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “By improving care for newborns, this bipartisan bill will ensure women veterans get the support and care they need to raise healthy families.”

BANKS AUTHORS MILITARY SPOUSE BILL: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) introduced the House companion bill for the Portable Certification of Spouses Act, led by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), and Martha McSally (R-Arizona) in the Senate (Howey Politics Indiana). This legislation seeks to improve the portability of occupational licenses from state to state. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member gets reassigned to a new military installation.

BANKS BACKS HYDE AMENDMENT: U.S. Sen. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) urging them to defend the Hyde Amendment, a piece of legislation that was first passed over forty years ago and protects all taxpayer money from being used to pay for abortions or insurance plans covering abortions (Howey Politics Indiana). 103 House colleagues of Rep. Banks joined him in his effort to reaffirm broad support for the Hyde Amendment and the sanctity of life.  Said Rep. Banks, “The sanctity of life is under assault by the radical left. For over forty years, it has been widely believed that while Roe v. Wade may be the law of the land, that no taxpayer money should ever go to providing abortions. Now, the radical-left of the Democrat Party wants to dismantle the Hyde Amendment, which has codified this long-held recognition of decency.”

General Assembly

FEIGHENBAUM CALLS GAMING LAW 'GAME CHANGER': The editor of Indiana Gaming Insight says the gaming bill signed into law yesterday by Governor Eric Holcomb will be a huge boon for the Indiana economy (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). The bill allows, among other things, sports wagering both through mobile devices and at Hoosier casinos and also authorizes new casinos in Vigo County and downtown Gary. Ed Feigenbaum says the legislation does more for gaming revenue in Indiana than has been seen in many years, especially with the proposed new casinos.  In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Feigenbaum said the bill does more for the Indiana economy than just revenue. "We're also talking jobs. We're talking perhaps 800 to 1,000 jobs in Vigo County. We're talking about a net increase of some 800 jobs (in Gary)," said Feigenbaum. "We're also looking at the ability to clear the land at Buffington Harbor, which the city of Gary has been wanting to do to build a transmodal port to capitalize on the synergy of the deep water port that they've got there where they'll be able to construct or improve."

FARMERS BENEFIT FROM SEA565: When you get a surprise in your accountant’s office, it’s almost never a good or happy surprise. Shelby Swain Myers, Associate Policy Advisor for Indiana Farm Bureau, told Hoosier Ag Today that those surprises for farmers led to action being taken during this year’s Indiana General Assembly (Hoosier Ag Today). “Late in the fall last year, farmers were beginning to meet with their accountants. We were hearing different stories about farmers having a significant increase in their state income taxes. These were unanticipated large increases that no one really planned for and no one could really figure out what was happening.” Myers said that as they dug deeper, they realized that changes made as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the federal level in 2017 were the reason why. “The process for a like-kind exchange, when farmers would trade-in equipment for a new piece, got altered at the federal level. While we were held harmless there, when it trickled down to the state level, we received some issues that now the process was being treated like a sale and a purchase and farmers were being charged income tax on that sale.” She said that passing Senate Enrolled Act 565, which was signed into law by Governor Holcomb earlier this week, was a big win for Indiana farmers to reverse that tax consequence. “What we hope is that now farmers can meet again with their accountant, get an amended tax return for the 2018 year, and be held harmless going forward whenever they do a like-kind exchange at the state level.”


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB HANDS OFF ANOTHER TRAILS CHECK - Gov. Eric Holcomb presented a ceremonial check Thursday to celebrate the funding of a connection between two trails in northern Indiana. It’s part of the first round of grants awarded by the state’s Next Level Trails initiative (Hicks, Indiana Public Media). The governor presented a check of almost $870,000 to the 933 Corridor Improvement Association in South Bend. The group will use the funding to build a mile of trail that will connect existing pedestrian trails all the way from Mishawaka, Indiana to Niles, Michigan. Holcomb called the Next Level trails program a game changer for the state. “It’s also a lifestyle changer in the sense that it’s promoting healthy living, it’s promoting safety, and then it promotes all of our pleasing natural beauty and assets," he says. 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB ADDRESSES RV POWER BREAKFAST - Leaders in the RV industry gathered in Elkhart County for the seventh annual RV Power Breakfast Thursday. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was one of the keynote speakers, touching on state initiatives to train more workers for the RV industry while also attracting more RV workers to Indiana with financial incentives (WNDU-TV). "Regardless of what your educational level is now, there are pathways for you to skill up," the governor said. "There are pathways for you to double or triple your salary in many cases. But the missing ingredient is the education and training. And so, what we're doing is we are aligning ourselves with the needs of a community or region as a state. And that's what's really made a big difference in the thousands of people that are now going back. And if you put the time in, the state will actually put the money in. And then, ultimately, your life's transformed." This was Holcomb's second time speaking at the RV Power Breakfast.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Gov. Holcomb Public Schedule for Saturday, May 11: Anderson University Commencement, the governor will give the commencement address, 3 p.m., Anderson University, Kardatzke Wellness Center, 1100 E. 5th St., Anderson, IN.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH SCHEDULES OCRA CONFERENCES - Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs kicked off a series of six regional conferences in Madison, Ind. (Howey Politics Indiana). “By encouraging communities to join their neighboring regions, we are furthering the message that working collaboratively is the best practice to enhance the entire state,” Crouch said. “By visiting Madison, Huntingburg, Fair Oaks, Knightstown, Angola and Greencastle, we are ensuring we hit every corner of the state. I look forward to meeting with individuals in these areas and discussing how we can work together to bring Indiana to the Next Level.” The agenda includes presentations on various ways communities can utilize OCRA and other state agencies like the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. These departments, as well as the director of broadband opportunities, will share how cities and towns in Indiana can increase the quality of life in their communities with state assistance. “These conferences are opportunities to network with the stakeholders and communities we serve,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “Sharing best practices and new resources is vital to creating a vibrant, rural Indiana.”

STATEHOUSE: HILL WINS LEGAL SHOWDOWN - A U.S. appeals court this week sided with Attorney General Curtis Hill in his efforts to defend Indiana statutes requiring local police cooperation with federal immigration detainer requests (Howey Politics Indiana). The victory for Attorney General Hill is the latest twist in a case that began when Marion County officials colluded with the American Civil Liberties Union to avoid following state law. In November of 2017, a U.S. district judge approved a consent decree between the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Antonio Lopez-Aguilar, who was represented by the ACLU. In the agreement, the Sheriff’s Department pledged not to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention requests. No one, however, informed the Office of the Attorney General of the consent decree until it was already entered by the federal court. Immediately upon learning of the collusive decree, Attorney General Hill moved to intervene in the case to argue the agreement violated state law. The district judge refused the request. In its May 9 ruling, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit not only declared that Attorney General Hill had the right to intervene on behalf of the State, but it also held that the district court never had jurisdiction to approve the consent decree between the ACLU and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in the first place. “This appellate ruling is a win for common sense, state sovereignty and public safety,” Attorney General Hill said. “When federal authorities ask an Indiana police agency to detain a person in the agency’s custody, Indiana law requires the agency to cooperate. To establish any contrary policy at the local level not only violates Indiana law but jeopardizes the safety and security of Hoosiers.”

STATEHOUSE: HILL'S STAFF GETS BIG RAISES - Several senior members of Attorney General Curtis Hill's staff recently received significant raises – ranging from 4% to 14%. But Hill isn't apologizing for the pay hikes. “It's about being competitive” he said – not loyalty for sticking with Hill during a tenuous time (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Chief Deputy Attorney General Aaron Negangard saw his pay jump almost 10% – from $152,400 to more than $167,700. Solicitor General Thomas Fisher's salary rose 6.6% from $135,300 to $144,400. Others saw similar increases.

IDOR: AGENCY HOSTING MEETINGS WITH TAX PREPARERS - The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) announces meeting details for local tax practitioners to join Commissioner Adam Krupp in open discussion surrounding tax season (Howey Politics Indiana). Commissioner Krupp will kick off each meeting by sharing DOR program updates and new initiatives, with ample time for questions and feedback from attendees. Tax practitioners are encouraged to participate with questions and feedback regarding previous and current tax years, in an effort to help DOR make improvements. For June and July meeting schedules, click here.

EDUCATION: IU CONSIDERS GREEK REFORMS - An Indiana University task force charged with overseeing conduct at campus fraternities and sororities is considering hiring third-party, licensed bartenders to serve alcohol at Greek events (Atkinson, Indiana Public Media). IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel formed the 12-member advisory body, dubbed the “Greek Task Force,” in October 2018 to help ensure the success and safety of the Greek community at IU. The committee’s goal is to educate Greek students and enforce sanctions on hazing, sexual violence and alcohol and drug abuse. Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Kathy Adams Riester says the bartender measure is just one of several controversial new standards the task force is discussing. “Well, I think some of the measures that the committee is discussing are things that are not easy to change within the community," she says. The committee is also considering whether to restrict chapter sizes and encourage upperclassmen leadership within the chapters.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP HAS 'SCORCHED EARTH' STRATEGY - House Democrats' heightened hunger for impeachment is being fueled by President Trump's scorched-earth strategy of rebuffing every congressional demand for information related to the special counsel's Russia probe (Allen, Axios). An outside adviser to the West Wing tells me: "Trump’s statement that they will not comply with the subpoenas and document requests was not posturing or an opening negotiating position. It is administration policy." Why it matters: Multiple fights between the two branches of government will wind through the courts, with some likely to end up at the Supreme Court.

The bottom line: Damned if he does: If Trump allows Democrats to rummage through notes and witnesses, he risks new material surfacing that piles on top of the Mueller report, triggering impeachment.  Damned if he doesn't: If Trump refuses all cooperation with Congress, Democrats increasingly see the opportunity to try to impeach him. Be smart: Some Trump advisers would love nothing more than Dems trying to impeach him before 2020. It's win-win in their minds

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP WANTS SHANAHAN AT DOD - President Donald Trump will nominate acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan as the Pentagon's permanent leader, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday (Politico). Shanahan has led the Pentagon since former Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in December. A Defense Department probe recently cleared Shanahan of charges of favoritism toward his former longtime employer, Boeing, widely seen as the final hurdle to his nomination.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP 'TEMPERS' BOLTON - President Donald Trump said Thursday he is satisfied with advice he's been receiving from John Bolton on international affairs, repudiating recent reports that he's losing faith in his national security adviser (Politico). "He has strong views on things but that's okay. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing," Trump said Thursday during an Oval Office press conference. "I'm the one that tempers him. That's okay. I have different sides. I have John Bolton and other people that are a little more dovish than him. I like John."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP 'VERY SURPRISED' BY DON JR. SUBPOENA - President Donald Trump said Thursday he was “very surprised” to learn his eldest son had been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify as part of the panel's investigation into Russian election interference (Politico). The president expressed frustration a day after it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. received a subpoena from the Republican-led panel demanding a follow-up to his prior testimony before the committee.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMPS SAYS KERRY 'SHOULD BE PROSECUTED' - President Donald Trump said on Thursday that John Kerry "should be prosecuted" for allegedly violating the Logan Act through his conversations with Iran, escalating a feud between his administration and the former secretary of State (Politico). "John Kerry violated the Logan Act," Trump said during a White House press availability. "He's talking to Iran and has has many meetings and many phone calls and he's telling them what to do. That is total violation of the Logan Act." In response, Kerry spokesman Matt Summers told POLITICO that "everything President Trump said today is simply wrong, end of story." "[Trump's] wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he's been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe," the Kerry spokesman said.

WHITE HOUSE: KIM REQUESTED 'FAMOUS BASKETBALL PLAYERS' AT SUMMIT - Ahead of the second summit in Hanoi, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un requested as part of the agreement between the countries moving forward that the U.S. send "famous basketball players" to normalize relations between the two countries, according to two U.S. officials (ABC News). The request was made in writing, officials said, as part of the cultural exchange between the two countries, and at one point the North Koreans insisted that it be included in the joint statement on denuclearization. The North Koreans also made a request for the exchange of orchestras between the two countries. “While we did not reach an agreement with the DPRK [North Korea] at Hanoi, we exchanged detailed positions and narrowed the gap on a number of issues,” a State Department official told ABC News in a statement and declined to comment on ongoing conversations.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will participate in a celebration of military mothers at 4:15 p.m. in the East Room.

PENTAGON: U.S. SEIZES NORTH KOREA SHIP - U.S. authorities seized a North Korean ship it alleges Pyongyang used to illicitly transport coal in violation of U.S. and international sanctions, the Justice Department said (Wall Street Journal). Officials said the seizure, which was disclosed on Thursday, was the first such U.S. action for sanctions violations. The 17,000-ton ship known as Wise Honest, which Indonesian maritime authorities detained off the island-nation’s coast in April 2018, is on its way to American Samoa, officials said, after months of negotiations with international authorities. A U.S. federal judge in New York issued a sealed warrant for the ship’s seizure last July, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan filed a civil complaint on Thursday seeking the formal forfeiture of the ship.

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - CBS "Face The Nation": House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Robert Gates, Hank Paulson. ABC "This Week": Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Panel: Chris Christie, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Maggie Haberman and Seung Min Kim. "Fox News Sunday": Panel: Josh Holmes, Jonathan Swan, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Juan Williams. Power Player: Howard Buffett. CNN "State of the Union": Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Panel: Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. CNN "Inside Politics": Julie Pace, Michael Bender, Laura Barrón-López and Phil Mattingly.

CLIMATE: MISSISSIPPI/MISSOURI FLOODING MORE FREQUENT - Floods are worsening and coming more often along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers—the nation’s great river system that helps drain some 32 states and generates hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity on everything from grain shipments to fishing trips (Wall Street Journal). In Plattsmouth, Neb., where the Platte River spills into the Missouri River, four of the top 10 floods have come in the last nine years, including the one in March that broke the previous record from just eight years ago. In 2011, when it “was a 500-year flood, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see anything like that again in my lifetime,” said R. Paul Lambert, mayor of Plattsmouth, whose sewer and water plants will take months to get back online. “This flood in March was 4 feet higher.”


CITIES: MUNCIE APARTMENTS TARGETED IN FED LAWSUIT - A Muncie apartment facility was one of 82 complexes sued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations of disability-based discrimination (Muncie Star Press). The Mill Pond complex in the 5300 block of West Keller Road was one of four Indiana facilities among the 82 defendants in 13 states named in the suit, filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the southern district of Ohio. The target of the suit is Ohio-based Miller-Valentine Operations and affiliated companies that built 82 multi-family housing complexes in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The suit alleges the defendants failed to design and construct housing units to make them accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It says the 82 facilities have “significant accessibility barriers,” and seeks an order requiring the defendants to bring the properties into compliance with the FHA and ADA.

CITIES: FRANKLIN RESIDENTS SAY EPA LET THEM DOWN 0 Franklin homeowners say they were left in the dark by the EPA and other government agencies set up to protect them (WTHR-TV). Dozens took up an offer to meet with a team from the Office of the Inspector General to talk about the lack of warnings over toxins in their neighborhood. "No one told us. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I'm hurt," explained Kathy Carlson, a 40-year resident of Franklin. "No one told me that my kids were being exposed. No one told my neighbors we were being exposed," said a tearful Kari Rhinehart, co founder of the grassroots group "If It Was Your Child." "I think they've done a very poor job informing," added Steve Records. One by one, Franklin homeowners shared personal stories of living near the contaminated Amphenol site not knowing their families could be at risk. Most say they never heard of the cancer-causing chemical TCE until 2015. That's when Stacie Davidson and Keri Rhinehart turned to 13 Investigates to try to find out why so many children in Johnson County were getting sick. Our reports revealed half of the children diagnosed with cancer lived or had close ties to Franklin.

CITIES: INDY SEEKS CASTLETON REVITALIZATION INPUT - The Department of Metropolitan Development recently launched a study aimed at the strategic revitalization of the Castleton area. This project represents a critical moment for surrounding neighborhoods and businesses to think forward and help shape the vision, brand, and future investment in the area (Howey Politics Indiana). A team of diverse consultants has been hired by the City to look at and analyze retail and market conditions, traffic patterns, adjacent planning efforts, recreational opportunities, infrastructure needs, and public opinions. This activity will help inform and prioritize both public and private investments, redevelopment initiatives, and coordinated community efforts. “We’re thrilled to start conversations about long term solutions with walkability, traffic flow, and new uses in the age of e-commerce,” said Emily Mack, the director of the Department of Metropolitan Development. “The state of retail is evolving and it’s important that we start planning with neighbors and community stakeholders for how this area can be adapted.”

COUNTIES: 2 TEMPORARY JUDGES APPOINTED IN CLARK - As Clark County judges Brad Jacobs and Drew Adams recover from being shot more than a week ago, two temporary judges have been appointed to fill in (News & Tribune). Senior Judge Steven M. Fleece will serve as Judge Pro Tempore for Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, Adams' court. Senior Judge Kenneth L. Lopp will preside over Circuit Court No. 2, Jacobs' court. Lopp will start Monday and Fleece will begin Tuesday, according to orders issued by the Indiana Supreme Court. Both temporary judges will serve until Adams and Jacobs notify the court that they are able to return. Lopp and Fleece will be compensated by the state at the same rate as the regular judges. According to Indiana's roll of attorneys, Lopp is based in Corydon and was formerly a judge in Crawford County. Fleece served as the Clark County Circuit Court No. 3 judge from 1985 to 2008 and is based out of Charlestown.