HHS DELIVERS $183M FOR COVID TESTING IN INDIANA: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delivering $183,065,472 in new funding to Indiana to support testing for COVID-19 (Howey Politics Indiana). In total, $10.25 billion in funding is being provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement. This funding from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act will provide critical support to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts, and related activities. These funds, along with the previous funding support CDC provided, will help states, territories, and localities with their efforts to re-open America. “This funding secured by President Trump for state, tribal, and local public health activities is a historic investment in America’s ability to track and control the spread of the virus, which is essential to a safe reopening,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

AARP CALLS ON HOLCOMB TO RELEASE COVID NURSING HOME DATA:  AARP Indiana has written a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb requesting the state release more detailed information on where nursing home residents are dying from COVID-19 and where the outbreaks are happening (Kenney, WRTV). “It is clear that more must be done to inform residents, families, and the public about COVID-19 cases and deaths in facilities,” read the letter dated May 19. “This is a step toward much-needed transparency. But it is clear that more must be done to inform residents, families, and the public about COVID-19 cases and deaths in facilities.” AARP Indiana’s letter comes after numerous stories from Call 6 Investigates raising questions about the state’s reluctance to release nursing home death and case information broken down by facility, especially given they’re largely funded by tax dollars through Medicaid and Medicare.

PORTER COUNTY CAN'T FIND POLL WORKERS:  With the primary election just two weeks away, there still aren’t enough poll workers for Porter County. “We may need to consolidate” polling places if there aren’t enough poll workers in time for the election, Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey told the county Board of Elections and Registration on Monday (Ross, NWI Times). Indiana’s average age for poll workers is 72, which puts them in the high-risk category for COVID-19, she said. “I think a lot of people are scared,” Bailey said. Member Jeff Chidester said some potential poll workers changed their minds when they thought the stipend for working the polls would affect their unemployment compensation. “The governor just changed that about two weeks ago, and that was really big for us,” Bailey said.

NAACP CALLS FOR REP. LUCAS TO RESIGN: The Indiana State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has submitted an resolution to Gov. Eric Holcomb seeking the resignation and public censure of Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour (Columbus Republic). “When so many Hoosiers are fighting, literally, for their very lives the time is now that divisive messages of hate, disrespect and disdain will not be tolerated by those who have taken an oath of office,” according to conference representatives. “We are better than this.  We call upon you to send forth that message.” Lucas is being accused of racism after creating and posting an image of a group of black children dancing with the words “We gon’ get free money!” written on the photo on his Facebook page. The post went up at 9:04 p.m. May 11 and initially Lucas said he would not remove it. It has since been removed after Lucas was removed from the interim study committees on elections and public policy and demoted as vice chair of the committee on government reduction, House Speaker Todd Huston said. “The post is unacceptable and I don’t condone it,” Huston, R-Fishers, told the Indianapolis Star.

PENCE NOT TAKING HYDROXYCHOROQUINE: Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday he's not taking hydroxychloriquine, an unproven treatment for COVID-19 that President Donald Trump has vigorously promoted and claims to be taking himself (NBC News). "My physician hasn’t recommended that but I wouldn’t hesitate to take the counsel of my doctor," Pence told Fox News in an interview from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. "I would never begrudge any American taking the advice of their physician."

RESEARCHERS SAY HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE RAISES HEART ATTACK RISK: Another study shows that hydroxychloroquine — a drug President Donald Trump said showed promise in treating the coronavirus — appears to not help Covid-19 patients and, instead, places them at increased risk of heart attack (CNBC). Hydroxychloroquine taken in conjunction with azithromycin was associated with “significantly elevated levels of cardiac arrest” even after adjusting for factors such as sex, age, underlying health conditions and more severe illness, according to a new study in the JAMA Network published Monday. The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with the University of Albany, had been conducting a so-called observational study that researchers hoped could shed some insight into the drug’s potential effectiveness.

COVID PUTS MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN CRISIS: Following professional baseball’s shutdown in March, minor league clubs now exist in a sort of sports purgatory, 160 affiliates unsure whether they will have games to host and worried about how they will pay employees, settle debts, and potentially return millions of dollars in ticket and advertising revenue to fans and sponsors (Sports Illustrated). “It’s like this big wave is about to hit us,” Jeff Savage of the Sacremento River Cats said. “Everything is on fire.” In Fort Wayne, Ind., $2 million in facility upgrades to the Class A TinCaps’ Parkview Field may well go unused this year, but that doesn’t mean the bills won’t come due. “By the time we get past [COVID-19], we might be looking at 18 months without significant revenue,” says Jason Freier, the chairman and chief executive for Hardball Capital, which owns the TinCaps, a Padres affiliate, as well as the Class A Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies and the Double A Chattanooga Lookouts. “Minor league baseball is in a terrible position, because we can’t just open up and start playing if we get the all-clear in November. We have to sit and wait, and I don’t know of many businesses that can go that long without income.”

GEN-CON CANCELS INDY CONVENTION: Gen Con LLC on Tuesday announced it has scrapped its massive tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis this year due to concerns over COVID-19—the latest in a series of major losses for the city’s tourism and hospitality industry (IBJ). But with the cancellation came some positive news: Indianapolis will now host the event through 2026 after organizers and city convention officials announced two-year contract extension. Gen Con is the single-largest event the Indiana Convention Center hosts on an annual basis from an economic impact standpoint. And it’s among the top five in overall crowd size, too. The event has been held in Indianapolis every summer since 2003—more than tripling in attendance since its arrival. The annual event, scheduled for July 30 to Aug. 2, had been expected to draw up to 70,000 people to the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium, generating an estimated economic impact of more than $70 million.

JUDGE OKs TITANIC MARCONI TELEGRAPH RECOVERY: For the first time in the 108 years since the Titanic sank to the bottom of the ocean, causing the deaths of more than 1,500 people, explorers are set to cut into the ship and remove a piece (Washington Post). Their target is the wireless Marconi telegraph, one of the first of its kind, which the doomed ocean liner used to contact a nearby ship for aid. A federal judge in Virginia approved the expedition Monday, calling it “a unique opportunity to recover an artifact that will contribute to the legacy left by the indelible loss of the Titanic.” Because of a backlog of personal messages, the wireless operators had ignored ice warnings from other ships. Banal good wishes soon gave way to increasingly desperate calls for help. Operator Jack Phillips died after refusing to leave his flooded post. “He was a brave man,” his fellow wireless operator told the New York Times a few days later. “I will never live to forget the work of Phillips for the last awful 15 minutes.”

DAVIS, OESTERLE HOSTING ZOOM CALL FOR INDIANA CITIZEN: Proof that the Indiana Citizen’s One More Voice campaign has broad, bipartisan support: Kathy Davis and Bill Oesterle are co-hosting a series of Zoom calls for donors today and tomorrow (Howey Politics Indiana). Lt. Gov. Davis was Gov. Joe Kernan’s running-mate when Oesterle managed Mitch Daniels’ first successful campaign for governor.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In Thursday’s weekly Howey Politics Indiana, we’ll explore how the pandemic is changing politics and campaigns. Plus we’ll have 1st and 5th CD open seat primary updates. Look for it around 9 a.m. - Brian A. Howey


NW TRADES COUNCIL ENDORSES HOLCOMB: The Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council has unanimously endorsed Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb for his re-election bid, Randy Palmateer announced (Howey Politics Indiana). "This is the first time in the history of the council that a republican governor has been endorsed," said Palmateer, business manager. "On behalf of the 30 affiliates and more than 35,000 highly trained, hard-working, Union men and women of the Northwest Indiana building and construction trades Council thank you for everything you do for the construction industry."

INGOP URGES VOTE BY MAIL: The Indiana Republican Party is urging vote by mail for the June 2 primary (Howey Politics Indiana). "With important races up and down the ballot determining our party's nominees in November, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to vote -- including one big deadline this Thurday," the GOP said. "Voting Absentee By Mail: If you choose to vote absentee by mail, you must make sure your local county clerk or Board of Elections has received your absentee ballot request by this Thursday. Voting Early In Person: If you'd prefer to vote early in person, you can do so starting this Tuesday, with early voting running through June 1. Check IndianaVoters.in.gov for your polling location and hours. If you choose to request an absentee ballot, here's how to make that request online right now: Go to IndianaVoters.in.gov and click “Vote By Mail or Traveling Board.” Click “Visit My Voter Portal,” and securely log in with your name, date of birth and county. On the left navigation bar, select “Absentee Voting,” and then click “Vote By Mail.” Complete the “Application for Absentee Ballot by Mail Only For 2020 Primary Election” form. Select a Republican ballot. Check that you authorize your signature to be added to the application, and the click “Submit Application.” You will get your absentee ballot in the mail. Fill out the ballot and return it to your county election division.

HALE BEGINS AIRING TV AD: 5th CD Democrat Christina Hale released her first television ad of the 2020 cycle. The positive spot highlights her record of reaching across the aisle to solve problems and get things done for Hoosier families. It begins running today through the June 2nd primary (Howey Politics Indiana). “Christina has a proven record of delivering results for Hoosier families,” said campaign manager Joann Saridakis. “She’ll bring that experience to Washington, where she’ll fight for access to affordable health care and expanded economic opportunities so no Hoosier is left behind.”

INDIANA FAMILY ASSN RATES 5TH CD GOP FIELD: The Indiana Family Association rates the 5th CD field on the ideological spectrum (Howey Politics Indiana). It rated Rev. Micah Beckwith as "very conservative," the only candidate to achieve that score card. It rated Carl Brizzi as a "moderate," Beth Henderson and Treasurer Kelly Mitchell as "somewhat conservative", State Sen. Victoria Spartz as "conservative" and Dr. Chuck Dietzen and Kent Abernathy under the "insufficient information" category.

BRIZZI COMMENTS ON TRUMP TAKING DRUG: 5th CD candidate Carl Brizzi described his reaction to President Trump saying on Monday that he's taking hydroxychloroquine as a "glitch in the matrix moment" (Howey Politics Indiana). In a Facebook posting Monday, Brizzi explained, "President Trump just told the press 10 mins ago that he's taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc for preventive reasons only ... meaning he's not taking it because he's symptomatic or tested positive for coronavirus, but as a prophylactic. The second the press conference ends, FOX news shifts to the medical 'experts' who say absolutely DO NOT DO what the President is doing. Instead, wait for the development of this amazing 'vaccine' which we will have very soon. We live in interesting times."

UNITED FOOD WORKERS ENDORSE REARDON: Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers announced their endorsement of State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon for Indiana’s 1st CD (Howey Politics Indiana). Local 881 UFCW President, Steve Powell said, “Thousands of Local 881 UFCW members live and work in the Region and are on the frontlines of a global pandemic, ensuring the residents of NW Indiana can safely access food and medicine. Our members put their personal health and that of their families on the line and we need elected officials in every level of government that understand that as our members are rightfully called heroes, they deserve wages, benefits, and workplace protections that meet that designation. Mara has a lifetime 100% voting record with the Indiana AFL-CIO, showing her commitment to working families. When anti-union forces started to turn Indiana into a right-to-work state, attacking the rights of workers in retail, food production, and public services, Mara was willing to lose an election in order to fight the Republican efforts and defend workers. That’s why we are proud to endorse and campaign for Mara Candelaria Reardon."

GiaQUINTA ENDORSES MYERS: Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) endorses Indiana’s presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor Dr. Woody Myers (Howey Politics Indiana). “I fully endorse Dr. Woody Myers for Governor,” said GiaQuinta. “His leadership will help lead Allen County, and all of Indiana, to a brighter future. Woody’s leadership as a public health expert and small business owner is needed right now to help lead Indiana out of our current health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic." Myers thanks Rep. GiaQuinta for the vote of confidence. “To have the full support of the Indiana House Democratic Leader is incredibly important,” said Dr. Myers. “I look forward to working with state lawmakers, including Leader GiaQuinta, to make sure that all Hoosiers have safe workplaces, access to affordable health care and solid educational foundations.”

SENATE DEMOCRATS ASSAIL SEN. BUCHANAN: The Indiana Senate Democrats Committee, the campaign arm of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus, expressed its fundamental disappointment with State Senator Brian Buchanan for his silence after the white supremacist group known as the Ku Klux Klan was found to have sent recruitment forms, including letters promoting a false church, to Hoosiers in Battle Ground, Indiana -- a community within SD 7 (Howey Politics Indiana). Democratic Senate candidate Tabitha Bartley said, “Let me be blunt: White supremacy and organizations like the Ku Klux Klan is homegrown terrorism, and it is up to our elected leaders to immediately condemn racism of any kind. This has not happened yet, and it’s time the state treats this for what it is: a hate crime. White Hoosiers must do more to address the rise of rampant racism across Indiana, and it begins by creating a community that has no tolerance for hate against marginalized people.”

SEN. McSALLY SLIDES IN AZ POLL: From the Republican uh-oh department: Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is sliding in the polls, dropping four percentage points in a month (Arizona Republic). McSally now trails Democrat Mark Kelly by 13 points, according to the latest tracking poll by OH Predictive Insights. While the April poll of 600 likely voters favored Kelly 51% to McSally’s 42%, in May it’s now 51%-38%. The poll shows independents breaking more than 2-1 for Kelly. “McSally is doing terribly,” pollster Mike Noble told me on Monday. “There’s no way to find a bright spot on that one.”

Presidential 2020

REP. PENCE ON TRUMP CONGRESSIONAL CAPTAINS PROGRAM: Trump Victory Finance Committee National Chair, Kimberly Guilfoyle, announced the committee’s “House Congressional Captains” program, a new effort to engage Republican members of the House of Representatives as volunteer fundraisers for the Trump Victory Finance Committee (Howey Politics Indiana). Included is U.S. Rep. Greg Pence.


BUCSHON INTRODUCES MATERIAL STUDY ACT: U.S. REP. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) introduced the Advancing New and Advanced Materials Study Act, legislation that promotes a national strategy on the development and adoption of new advanced materials that are used throughout the U.S. economy, particularly in the manufacturing, research, and national defense sectors (Howey Politics Indiana). “Indiana is home to more than 540,000 manufacturing jobs – contributing more than $102 billion to the gross state product. As technology continues to advance, it is important that we support the development and use of new and advanced materials in the United States to improve our competitiveness in the global marketplace, which will support our economy and national security.

WALORSKI INTRODUCES MEDICALLY TAILORED MEALS BILL:  U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced the introduction of H.R. 6774, the Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act of 2020, a new bill that would establish a Medicare pilot program to address the critical link between diet, chronic illness, and senior health (Howey Politics Indiana). The bipartisan bill would help ensure nutritious meals reach medically vulnerable seniors in their homes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time providing the data needed to build a more resilient and cost-effective health care system. “Good nutrition can play a key role in improving health, especially for those living with a chronic illness,” Walorski said. “Getting nutritious, medically tailored meals to vulnerable seniors in their homes would not only lead to better health outcomes but also reduce health care costs in the long-term. This innovative, commonsense solution would strengthen Medicare and help older Americans thrive – especially in these challenging times.”

BAIRD SUPPORTS RELIEF PAYMENTS TO FARMERS: U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN) applauds President Trump’s decision to provide a $19 billion relief package for farmers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the relief will be in the form of direct payments to farmers, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (Howey Politics Indiana). The Farm Service Agency will begin to accept application from farmers and ranchers on May 26, 2020, with payments expected in about a week after application. “President Trump’s announcement is welcome news for farmers across my district and around the country. COVID-19 has disrupted many food supply chains and have challenged farmers to seek alternative ways to move their products and livestock."

General Assembly

LEGISLATORS COMMENT ON KKK FLIERS AT BATTLE GROUND: Several Indiana leaders have spoken up about KKK fliers that were distributed in Battle Ground over the weekend. However, some have not (WLFI-TV). State Sen. Brian Buchanan, (R) District 7, said,  "I am aware of the recent activity in Battle Ground. It is extremely disappointing to see this type of behavior. Hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and racism have no place in our society. I firmly believe this is the result of a few bad actors who do not represent the majority of Hoosiers and I stand with our community in denouncing this hateful propaganda." State Rep. Chris Campbell, (D) District 26 said, "The Ku Klux Klan is known as America's leading hate group for a reason: years of racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, religious bigotry and violence," Campbell said."I join our community leaders of all backgrounds in unequivocally condemning this ideology. Efforts to try to incite hatred will not work here. The people of this community reject any attempt to spread fear. Hate has no home in this region. Now is the time to show the rest of Indiana our strength through unity. We are all stronger together and we are not afraid." State Senator Ron Alting, (R) District 22: "I'm incredibly disappointed to see this kind of message being shared in our community. But then I remind myself these are just a few bad apples and that there are thousands of people in Tippecanoe County who firmly believe we are all equal and that no person should be discriminated against or persecuted because of their race, religion, creed, sexual orientation or anything else. I encourage my fellow Hoosiers to continue to stand up for their neighbors and to stomp out the bigotry the KKK stands for."


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB TO TWEAK BACK ON TRACK PLAN TODAY - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is working on tweaks to his existing five-stage reopening roadmap based on data his team is reviewing and plans to share new details later this week (IBJ). Holcomb said during Monday’s press briefing that he will issue updated guidelines on Wednesday to give people time to prepare for any changes before Sunday. “I want to make sure the next steps that we take, either accelerating or decelerating, are done safely,” Holcomb said.

GOVERNOR: CHAMBER DISAPPOINTED HOLCOMB REJECTS WORK SHARE - The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says it’s disappointed the governor’s office has not decided to implement a work share program. It’s a common system in other states that lets workers keep jobs while accessing some unemployment benefits (Hicks, Indiana Public Media). Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber. He says the chamber supports most of the state's coronavirus response, but 130 companies have asked them why a work share program isn’t available in Indiana. “It’s been very important to them during this pandemic and they’re frustrated that they can’t have access to work share here in Indiana,” he says. On Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said his office has researched system upgrades and whether there was legislative support, but has no immediate plans to start a program. In the previous legislative session, bills were authored in both the House and Senate to implement a program. Neither received an initial committee hearing.

ISDH: STRIKE TEAM TO TURKEY PROCESSING PLANT -  A coronavirus outbreak at a Huntingburg turkey plant could affect Indiana’s plans to further loosen business and travel restrictions (WIBC). State health commissioner Kris Box says the department is “intimately engaged” in testing employees of Farbest Foods after 42 of them were diagnosed with the virus. Box says she believes 91 cases so far are connected to the turkey plant, though she says some workers live in surrounding counties. She says state and local health departments will be tracking whether the virus spreads beyond Farbest workers. It’s not clear whether all the tests conducted Friday are back yet.

ISDH: TUESDAY COVID STATS -  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today announced that 481 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 28,705 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s total. Intensive care unit and ventilator capacity remain steady. More than 41 percent of ICU beds and more than 80 percent of ventilators were available as of Sunday. A total of 1,678 Hoosiers have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, an increase of 57 over the previous day. Another 146 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record, following a correction to the previous day’s total. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by ISDH and occurred over multiple days. To date, 189,330 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 183,912 on Monday. Marion County had the most new cases, at 145. Other counties with more than 10 new cases were Allen (22), Elkhart (48), Hamilton (11), Hancock (11), Hendricks (14), Johnson (13), Lake (61), Montgomery (12) and St. Joseph (32).

COVID: IUPUI STUDY SHOWS DEATH RATE SLOWING - As most of the state is set to enter Stage 3 of Gov. Eric Holcomb's Back on Track plan for reopening the economy Sunday, new data from the Polis Center at IUPUI shows a slowing rate of COVID-19 deaths (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). “The deaths and the cases are dropping across the state of Indiana and in Allen County. That can be attributed to the normal patterns you expect in an epidemic where multiple waves occur,” said Tammy Toscos, director of Health Services and Informatics Research at Parkview Health. “I think everybody should be cautiously hopeful right now. Social distancing does help and if we do see cases on the rise again, we know that the actions we took in the past can help again.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL: BACKS FLYNN CHARGE DISMISSAL - The Office of the Indiana Attorney General this week joined a 15-state brief filed with a U.S. district court supporting the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case against Gen. Michael Flynn (Howey Politics Indiana). In response to the federal government’s motion to drop criminal charges against Gen. Flynn, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia appointed a retired judge to present arguments in opposition to the federal government’s motion. The district court additionally stated that it would invite other individuals and organizations to file amicus briefs addressing whether the court should grant the federal government’s motion to dismiss.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD: BETTY COCKRUM DIES AT AGE 67 - Betty Cockrum, who led Planned Parenthood in Indiana and Kentucky, has died at the age of 67. Cockrum's family said in a release she passed away over the weekend (WTHR-TV). “Betty Cockrum was so many things to so many people,” Cockrum's sons said in a release. “Countless lives touched, careers built, families supported, jobs created, storms weathered and mountains moved. While she was busy changing the world for the better, for us, she was just ‘Mom.’” She served as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood for 15 years, leading the organization through several mergers that finally resulted in the current Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. "Betty was unwavering in her commitment to reproductive rights, was a trailblazer, and a proven leader to all people across Indiana and Kentucky. She was a true force of nature as she championed abortion access for decades, and her leadership continued even after she retired from Planned Parenthood," Planned Parenthood said in a statement.

EDUCATION: IVY TECH TO OFFER STUDENTS FALL SEMESTER OPTIONS - When Ivy Tech Community College students start classes in the fall, they’ll have the option to participate in face-to-face, online or hybrid courses (Kirkman, South Bend Tribune). Fall semester classes will begin Aug. 24. The state’s community college will invite students back onto campuses throughout Indiana, including its Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart location, for in-person learning while continuing to offer virtual opportunities. Both 8- and 16-week terms are being offered to students. In an announcement Tuesday, college officials said the move is being made to provide flexibility and safety for Ivy Tech students, employees and its communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

EDUCATION: ALL TEACHERS HONORED - All Indiana teachers collectively won the 2021 Teacher of the Year in recognition of the challenges each face during the pandemic, the state education department said Tuesday (Weddle, Indiana Public Media). For more than 60 years the Indiana Department of Education picked a single educator to recognize as teacher of the year. Those who won, showed excellence in the classroom and went above and beyond to help their students. State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick says all teachers have done that and more in response to school building closures and the pandemic. "We had teachers going beyond the call of duty to help with food, to have parades. They were calling students every day, taking care of social emotional needs," McCormick said Tuesday during a weekly webinar for school leaders. "It was way beyond the academic piece. I know from hearing from a lot of teachers you are spent. I know it was very taxing on a lot of you."

LOTTERY: SMALL REVENUE DROP FORECAST - Indiana expects to collect less money from the state lottery this fiscal year than it budgeted for. But the projected shortfall isn’t as bad as some state officials feared (Smith, Indiana Public Media). IGT Indiana is the private company that runs the lottery for the state. General manager Melissa Pursley says it’s hard to estimate the effect COVID-19 is having. “It is evident that COVID-19 will have an impact on the Hoosier Lottery’s business, including sales performance and net income return to the state," Pursley says. "But what’s less clear is how long that impact will last.”

UTILITIES: NIPSCO TO RELOCATE COAL ASH - A major utility’s plan to close five Indiana coal ash ponds at a power plant along Lake Michigan and move coal ash to a landfill has sparked concerns from environmental activists about how the dust kicked up by that project will be controlled. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is seeking a permit from the state to remove more than 170,000 cubic yards of coal ash from its Michigan City station and transfer most of it to a state-approved landfill in its Wheatfield, the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana reported.

DNR: LOW HEAD DAM REMOVALS CATCHING ON - A confluence of public safety, recreation and natural heritage concerns is powering an impetus to remove low-head dams across Indiana, including two in Logansport that have been part of the local landscape for generations (Knight, CNHI). The state has more than 140 low-head dams. Most often made of concrete, they were built on Indiana’s rivers and streams to serve a variety of purposes, such as raising the water level upstream for ease of boat navigation, creating shallow waterfalls for the generation of hydro power and pooling of water for supply or irrigation intake.

NATIONAL PARK: DUNES BEACH TO REOPEN SATURDAY - The Indiana Dunes National Park will reopen part of a local beach in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but beachgoers will be monitored to make sure they adhere to coronavirus pandemic safeguards, a park official said Tuesday (AP). The national park temporarily closed its portion of Porter Beach on Lake Michigan on May 6, citing “unsafe health conditions” created by overcrowding, unsafe sanitation practices and a lack of social distancing. Park spokesman Bruce Rowe said Tuesday that the park would reopen its stretch of Porter Beach, beach parking lots and restroom facilities on Saturday, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP DEFENDS TAKING DRUG -  President Donald Trump emphatically defended himself Tuesday against criticism from medical experts that his announced use of a malaria drug against the coronavirus could spark wide misuse by Americans of the unproven treatment with potentially fatal side effects (AP). He asserted without evidence that a study of veterans raising alarm about the drug was “false” and an “enemy statement,” even as his own government warned that the drug should be administered for COVID-19 only in a hospital or research setting. “If you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape,” Trump said. That was an apparent reference to a study of hundreds of patients treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in which more of those in a group who were administered hydroxychloroquine died than among those who weren't. “They were very old. Almost dead,” Trump said. “It was a Trump enemy statement."

WHITE HOUSE: FORD TELLS TRUMP HE MUST WEAR MASK - President Trump and officials accompanying him Thursday to a Ford Motor Company factory in Michigan that manufactures ventilators were recommended to wear masks at the facility, the auto-maker said Tuesday (Fox News). “Our policy is that everyone wears PPE [personal protective equipment] to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Ford said in a statement to Fox News. "We shared all of Ford's safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip." It was not clear if Trump will comply, as he has refused to wear a mask publicly, like when he visits the Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SIGNS ORDER CUTTING REGS - President Trump announced an executive order Tuesday that aims to make hundreds of deregulations in the age of coronavirus permanent, something that would amount to a massive overhaul of regulatory policy (Fox News). "We've done far more regulation cutting than any president in history," Trump said at a Cabinet meeting ahead of signing the order.

WHITE HOUSE: CLUB FOR GROWTH BACKS REGULATION CUTS - Club for Growth President David McIntosh issued the following statement commending President Donald Trump for issuing the Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery Executive Order that will aggressively cut red tape so that our economy can quickly recover from the economic crisis caused by coronavirus (Howey Politics Indiana). “President Trump recognizes the economic burden excessive regulation places on job growth,” said David McIntosh, President of Club for Growth. “Already, the Trump Administration has taken massive deregulatory actions to create the Trump economic boom. Identifying regulations to suspend, making some suspended regulations permanent, and preventing federal over-enforcement to allow good-faith compliance are all cornerstones of the Club for Growth’s proposal to cut red tape, and we thank President Trump for making them the centerpiece of his Executive Order.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will hold a conference call with the “national Hispanic community” at 12:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., he will meet with the governors of Arkansas and Kansas. Kayleigh McEnany will have a press briefing at 3 p.m.

COVID: FLA, GA ACCUSED OF FUDGING STATS - Public health officials in some states are accused of bungling coronavirus infection statistics or even using a little sleight of hand to deliberately make things look better than they are (AP). The risk is that politicians, business owners and ordinary Americans who are making decisions about lockdowns, reopenings and other day-to-day matters could be left with the impression that the virus is under more control than it actually is. In Florida, the data scientist who developed the state’s coronavirus dashboard, Rebekah Jones, said this week that she was fired for refusing to manipulate data “to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” Calls to health officials for comment were not immediately returned Tuesday. In Georgia, one of the earliest states to ease up on lockdowns and assure the public it was safe to go out again, the Department of Public Health published a graph around May 11 that showed new COVID-19 cases declining over time in the most severely affected counties. The daily entries, however, were not arranged in chronological order but in descending order.

MICHIGAN: DAM BREACH FLOODS MIDLAND - Urging residents to evacuate and saying downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams breached (Detroit Free Press). Speaking during a press conference late Tuesday, Whitmer said parts of the city of Midland, the village of Sanford, Edenville Township and Dow Chemical had been or were being evacuated. She said officials were working to evacuate residents in Tittabawassee, Thomas and Saginaw townships on Tuesday evening.


INDIANAPOLIS: STREET CLOSURES TO EXPAND DINING -  Parts of five Indianapolis streets will close Friday to accommodate the reopening of restaurants (WIBC). Indy is allowing restaurants to resume dine-in service Friday, but only outdoors through at least June 1. The city is closing the south half of Monument Circle, plus parts of Illinois and Georgia Streets, Mass Ave, and Broad Ripple Avenue. That’ll let restaurants add tables on the sidewalk and in parking lots, while pedestrians walk in the street to keep their distance from restaurant patrons — and each other. The detours will remain in place at least through the Fourth of July. Mayor Joe Hogsett doesn’t rule out making the pedestrian corridors permanent, but says the focus right now is on finding creative solutions to allow restaurants and shops to open safely.

INDIANAPOLIS: IPS UION CHIEF SENTENCED - The former head of the Indianapolis Public Schools teachers union was sentenced Monday to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (McCoy, Chalkbeat). Rhondalyn Cornett, 55, was also ordered to pay more than $154,000 in restitution to the Indianapolis Education Association and will serve two years of probation.

SOUTH BEND: HOMELESS CAMP TO BE CLEARED TODAY — Land that has been used an encampment for about 50 of the city’s homeless residents is to be cleared today (Dukes, South Bend Tribune). A sign was posted near the property ordering those who erected tents on the encampment to leave and remove their belonging by 4 p.m. today or they will be subject to trespassing laws and removed by the police. The encampment is located on a vacant parcel at 520 S. Michigan St., just south of Monroe Street. Edward Bradley, who owns the parcel, told The Tribune on Sunday that he planned to ask those staying at the encampment to leave. Bradley said that concerns over the spread of COVID-19 are key reasons he decided to clear the encampment.

CARMEL: COUNCIL HEARS BOND REQUESTS - The Carmel City Council is considering whether to issue $27 million in new debt to advance three long-planned redevelopment projects in the city’s core, as well as improvements to an east-side shopping center (Christian, IBJ). Developer-backed bond requests dominated the council meeting Monday for mixed-use projects made up of offices, condominiums, apartments, public plazas, parking, retail and more. The potential $27 million in bonds could, in turn, spur $138 million in private development. Carmel taxpayers will not be directly responsible for the expenses associated with the debt, if the council decides to issue it. That’s because the increased assessed value generated by the developments is expected to pay the costs associated with those bonds. Under that arrangement, the developer is responsible for covering any shortfalls.

FORT WAYNE: CARES ACT FUNDS TO ASSIST HOMELESS - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced today that the City of Fort Wayne is putting federal funding to work providing shelter for some of the community’s most vulnerable residents (WANE-TV). As part of the recent CARES Act, the City will receive approximately $1.7 million in emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). In the first phase of investment, the City will help address the immediate need for shelter for people experiencing homelessness or for those who need to quarantine but cannot safely do so in their own home. “Now more than ever, our community must pull together and help our neighbors in need,” said Mayor Henry. “These much-needed federal dollars will be put to work quickly to help ensure residents have a safe place to sleep at night, as well as provide our shelters with critical supplies.”

FORT WAYNE: FWCS TO PAY NEW SUPT $215K - Fort Wayne Community Schools will hire a new superintendent to replace longtime chief Dr. Wendy Robinson later this month (WANE-TV). The district will formally name its new leader during its May 26 regular board meeting. The board held a public hearing on the deal Monday night. A proposed employment agreement calls for the new superintendent to earn an annual basic salary of $215,000, with a vehicle and other regular benefits.

EVANSVILLE: CITY GRANTS EXPANDED OUTDOOR RESTAURANT SEATING - Restaurants around Evansville opened on Monday, May 11, at 50% capacity as part of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s plan to reopen the state of Indiana (Kight, WEVV-TV). In an effort to allow local restaurants to serve a larger amount of customers in an open, safe atmosphere, the Reopen Evansville Task Force was pushing to relax outdoor seating restrictions. “Through some of the feedback that we’ve gotten, restaurants are obviously hamstringed right now because of the 50% capacity, because of social distancing, they sometimes have to leave a table without individuals,” said Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer, chairman of the Reopen Evansville Task Force. “We thought that this would be a good idea to, instead of leaving that empty, move that table outside.”

JEFFERSONVILLE: COUNCIL PRESIDENT ARRESTED ON DUI - Jeffersonville City Council President Matt Owen could face an DUI charge after an arrest early Tuesday by Indiana State Police (Rickert, News&Tribune). ISP Sgt. Carey Huls confirmed that a trooper had stopped Owen, 29, at 2:45 a.m. today for driving 44 mph in a 25 mph speed zone on West Market Street near Locust Street in Jeffersonville.  Owen consented to a certified BAC test at the Clark County jail, the result of which was .154. The legal blood-alcohol content limit to drive in Indiana is .08. "I am embarrassed by the events of last night and I understand that as an elected official I am held to a higher standard by the community and myself," Owen, who has since been released according to online jail records, said in a written statement sent to the News and Tribune. "The events of last night are not indicative of my character or normal behavior. I apologize to my family, my colleagues and the citizens of Jeffersonville."

WEST LAFAYETTE: MAYOR DENNIS PRAISES CITIZENS - West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said the city's residents are a big part of helping curb the spread of COVID-19 (Burrows, WLFI-TV). In a conversation with News 18 Dennis said they have been very proactive and cooperative during the pandemic. The city's clerk Sana Booker has been calling hundreds of residents making sure they are doing OK. Dennis said the city is prepared in case another wave of COVID-19 makes its way to West Lafayette. "I think for all of us, it will make us all aware of what we do and how we do it," said Mayor Dennis. "Our contacts with people. Think about all the things we do when we have mass gatherings. That might look a little bit different."

LAKE COUNTY: MAIL BALLOT COUNT TO START EARLY - Lake County election officials are hoping if Hoosiers are prevented from getting complete primary election results on June 2, due to the record number of mail-in absentee ballots, it won't be because of them (Carden, NWI Times). On Tuesday, the county's election board unanimously agreed to begin counting absentee ballots starting at 6 a.m. on Election Day, rather than holding the count until after the noon deadline for absentee ballots to be received. "We know we're going to have, obviously, this year, a large number of absentee ballots," said John Reed, a Republican attorney for the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. "I hope with the early start things will get done in a timely fashion."

VIGO COUNTY: SERVEPRO TO CLEAN ELECTION SITES - During a Tuesday morning press conference, the Vigo County Clerk’s Office announced a partnership with SERVPRO of Vigo County dedicated to enhancing the safety of citizens during the voting season (Howey Politics Indiana). This unique partnership consists of fogging and sanitizing the Vigo County Courthouse every week during the voting season. Additionally, SERVPRO has offered to staff two employees at every vote center at no cost to the taxpayer. SERVPRO representatives will be sterilizing all equipment, doors, tables, chairs and high touch points after each use using EPA disinfectant. Continuous cleaning of the area will be done at each vote center. Each SERVPRO representative will have the required credentials that grant them access to the vote centers. “In Vigo County, we are committed to providing the community with fair and safe ways to vote. This partnership with SERVPRO and their donated services will enhance what Vigo County has established,” states Brad Newman, Vigo County Clerk.

CASS COUNTY: FAIR BOARD OKs 2020 OPENING - The Cass County Fair board of directors decided Monday to move forward with its plans to have the 2020 4-H Fair, with the stipulation that it will occur if Cass County is fast-tracked to join the rest of the state in opening on July 5 (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). The Cass County Indiana 4-H Association posted on Facebook: “Fair will look very different than the past years, however the Fair Board is committed to celebrating the achievement of the 4-Her’s with their projects. As has always been permitted, if you have concerns about participating in person, it is possible to complete your 4-H year/project by simply turning in your record books for walking projects or turning in your non-walking project when it is due. Completing your 4-H year is always encouraged, no matter how you choose to complete.”

MONROE COUNTY: 4-H FAIR CANCELLED - The Monroe County Fair is cancelled for this year. The County Fair Board and the County 4-H Board voted today to cancel the event. In a statement the Fair Board cited safety concerns for visitors, vendors and exhibitors (Whittmeyer, Indiana Public Media). “The uncertainty around planning for large gatherings, as well as the concerns regarding proper implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols at such a large venue, also contributed to the very difficult decision to cancel this beloved community event.

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY: FAIR CANCELLED - The Bartholomew County Fair Board has decided to cancel the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair, scheduled for July 10 through 18 (Columbus Republic). The board decision was made as fair board members said they could not meet guidelines that would be required to protect the public from COVID-19.