CARMEL SYNAGOGUE VANDAL SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS:  A federal judge sentenced a 21-year-old man to three years in prison after the man pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime in a 2018 attack on a Carmel synagogue, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday (WISH-TV). Court documents released Tuesday show that Nolan Brewer, of Cloverdale, planned to set fire to Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, detonate homemade bombs and release what he referred to as homemade napalm, as well as burn swastika symbols into the synagogue floor. Evidence presented during a five-hour court hearing showed the July 28 attack "was not a spur-of-the-moment childhood prank," according to a release from U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. Brewer told the FBI that he and his wife -- whose name was not released because she is a minor -- planned to attack the synagogue because it was "full of ethnic Jews."

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL CHOOSES SUMMER STUDY TOPICS: Prescription drug prices and rising health care costs, ticket scalping, and adoption subsidies are just some of the issues lawmakers will tackle in study committees this year (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Legislative leaders approved more than 40 study topics for the interim agenda at a meeting Tuesday. One of the issues will be e-cigarette and CBD oil taxes. That’s something lawmakers couldn’t agree on in the 2019 session – in part, Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says, because the technical issues surrounding those taxes are complicated. “So we’ll have the opportunity to more fully vet the idea through the summer,” Bray says. Also on the docket this summer: criminal penalties. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says since the General Assembly passed a major criminal code overhaul five years ago, lawmakers each session have proposed harsher sentences for various crimes – without considering an overall effect. “And it’s very difficult to vote against that, from a political perspective, because those have been used in campaigns, historically, to say somebody’s light on crime rather than thoughtful about crime,” Bosma says.

72% IN FARM BUREAU SURVEY SAY TARIFFS JEOPARDIZE: Indiana Farm Bureau recently conducted an online survey of farmer members to gauge how the ongoing trade conflicts and increasing tariffs are impacting their operations. The survey received submissions from farmers across the state (Hoosier Ag Today). According to survey data, 72% of respondents said the current trade environment’s impact on commodity prices is jeopardizing their farm operation. Commodities across the board have seen a sharp decline in prices since the tariffs between the U.S. and China were announced and enacted. For example, in April of 2018, the soybean price was holding firm at around $10.40 per bushel. After the tariffs were announced and put into place, those prices dropped. Today, the price per bushel of soybeans is in the $8 range. Prices for other commodities including corn, which is produced by a large number of Indiana farmers, have also dropped significantly. “The agriculture industry is dealing with a number of issues that impact a farmer’s bottom line right now,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “There’s a surplus of commodities in the market due to higher than average yields, and over the last five years farmers have seen a 50% drop in farm income. Add the additional impacts of trade wars and tariffs to the existing issues, and the financial situation has become even more concerning.”

TRUMP PREPARES NEW FARM BAILOUT: The Trump administration is preparing to announce another round of aid to farmers hurt by the trade war with China as soon as Thursday, people familiar with the plan said, a package of assistance that could exceed $15 billion (Bloomberg News). The aid plan is largely modeled on the program the administration put in place last year after China slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, though the payments will be more generous. The administration is considering payments of about $2 per bushel to soybean growers, 63 cents per bushel to wheat growers and 4 cents per bushel to corn growers to compensate for losses from the trade war, according to two people familiar with the payment levels, who asked not to be identified because the aid plan hasn’t been made public. The administration last year paid $1.65 per bushel for soybeans, 14 cents per bushel for wheat and 1 cent per bushel for corn.

GASTON COUPLE FACING OFF FOR COUNCIL SEAT: Audra Koontz and her husband Benji will both tell you they are passionate about the town of Gaston (Ohlenkamp, Muncie Star Press). They are so passionate that they are running against each other in the November election for the same seat on the three-person town council. Both were uncontested in the primary, setting the stage for the general election, with Benji on the Republican ticket and Audra as the Democrat. But this isn't a story about a household split by political beliefs. This is a story about a husband and wife who only want the best for their little town. This plan to be opponents on the ballot isn't the storyline for a romantic comedy; it was a tactical decision by the couple to guarantee one of them would have a say in the direction of the town going forward. Both have lived in Gaston almost their entire lives. Audra and Benji fell in love while Audra was still in high school and married shortly after. “We've always both had a servant heart,” Audra said. Benji agreed. “We just want Gaston to win and if either of us serve on that board, I think Gaston’s won,” Benji said.

NYT EDITOR PREDICTS STATES WITH NO JOURNALISM: New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet has a bleak forecast for the future of print media. Late last week at the International News Media Association World Congress, the editor spoke about the state of journalism, the world, and the newspaper he runs. The conversation was sprawling, but Baquet did have one very specific prognostication to make ( Asked about the future of newspapers, the executive editor said: "The greatest crisis in American journalism is the death of local news . . . I don’t know what the answer is. Their economic model is gone. I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire. I don’t know what the model is for covering the school boards in Newark, New Jersey,” he said. “That makes me nervous. And despite the fact that there are some rich people championing media, there is no way the entire industry can rely on the kindness of deep-pocketed strangers. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think that everybody who cares about news — myself included, and all of you — should take this on as an issue. Because we’re going to wake up one day and there are going to be entire states with no journalism or with little tiny pockets of journalism.”

NADLER VOWS TO GET McGAHN TESTIMONY AFTER 'EMPTY CHAIR' HEARING: House Democrats convened Tuesday to hear a crucial witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — and for the second time in a month, they came face to face with an empty chair (Politico). Former White House Counsel Don McGahn refused to appear, deferring to President Donald Trump’s instruction that he not testify to the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has warned that McGahn could face stiff consequences for ignoring his subpoena to appear and sent a warning shot at the president Tuesday. “Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” Nadler said at the outset of the hearing. “We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other,” Nadler said.

MUELLER BALKS AT PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Robert Mueller is balking at testifying publicly before Congress, pushing for a closed-door appearance in negotiations with House Democrats, according to three people familiar with the special counsel’s position (Bloomberg News). Mueller has told the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee that he doesn’t want to be dragged into a political fight and that he’s hesitant to publicly discuss his final report, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the continuing negotiations. Among the options Mueller has raised is making a public statement before the committee questions him in private, the people said. Democrats are eager to hear from Mueller in public because his report chronicles examples of actions taken by President Donald Trump that hundreds of former federal prosecutors have said constitute obstruction of justice. Mueller also has written Attorney General William Barr to complain that he offered public summaries of the report’s findings that “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of his team’s work.

DEM CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT GROW: House Democratic leaders on Tuesday faced fresh calls to move forward with President Trump's impeachment after former White House counsel Don McGahn skipped his scheduled testimony before the House Judiciary Committee (The Hill). The calls to launch an impeachment inquiry are coming from some of the most important voices in the 235-member Democratic Caucus — from members of leadership and powerful committee chairmen to key Judiciary members who have jurisdiction over impeachment. “We’ve been presented with overwhelming evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team who also sits on the Judicary Committee and is a constitutional law professor.

KREMLIN SOUGHT TO EXPLOIT RACIAL DIVIDE IN U.S.: Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by pumping out divisive fake social-media posts and hacking into, manipulating and disseminating the email of various political actors and organizations. These activities are documented in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report (Engle, NBC News). The same Russians also discussed much bigger and more shocking plans, NBC News reported Monday. They considered recruiting and setting into action “disenfranchised” African-Americans who had criminal backgrounds. The plan called for the recruits to go to Africa for “combat prep and training in sabotage.” “Those recruits,” wrote NBC, “would then be sent back to America to foment violence and work to establish a pan-African state in the Southern U.S., including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.”

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: President Trump is diabolically luring House Democrats into the impeachment trap. Never seen anything like it. As for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s cold feet on explaining his report, he owes it to the American people to provide a narrative, publicly, before Congress. - Brian A. Howey


CLARKSVILLE COUNCIL RECOUNT SET: A Clarksville Town Council primary candidate who lost his race by five votes May 7 has filed for a recount in Clark County, and is challenging the legality of some of his opponent's votes (Rickert, News & Tribune). Republican Mike Popplewell filed the paperwork Tuesday morning before the noon deadline to start the recount process in the race in which he lost to opponent Dee Shelton, where vote totals were 58 to 53. The winner faces Democratic incumbent John Gilkey in the General Election. Popplewell said it's so close, there could be room for error on ballots if they were marked improperly and unable to be read by voting machines. That's why he's asked for a hand recount of the 111 votes. "I want those ballots looked at," he said. "I could be missing a few votes there. It's not like it's 50 or 100; I think I've got a good chance there. I got to try. I feel good about it."

Presidential 2020

TRUMP APPROVAL AT 38% IN QUINNIPIAC POLL - The nation's economy is "excellent," 22 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll today, the highest "excellent" rating for the economy. Another 49 percent of voters say the economy is "good." The total 71 percent for "excellent" and "good" is the highest total number for American voter attitudes on the economy in almost 18 years (Howey Politics Indiana).  Some 52 percent of American voters say they are better off financially today than they were in 2016, while 21 percent say they are worse off and 23 percent say they are the same.  But American voters give President Donald Trump a negative 38 - 57 percent approval rating, compared to a negative 41 - 55 percent approval in a May 2 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University National Poll.

BUTTIGIEG FADING IN QUINNIPIAC POLL: The Quinnipiac Poll shows Joe Biden at 35% (-3), Bernie Sanders 16 (+5), Elizabeth Warren 13 (+1), Kamala Harris 8 (-), and Pete Buttigieg 5 (-5). Buttigieg had 23 percent favorable to 19 percent unfavorable.

RECORD TURNOUT PREDICTED: 2020 voter turnout could be the highest in a century, based on Democrats' enthusiasm in the midterms and the big, early 2020 field, Axios' Alexi McCammond writes. Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida, said turnout in 2020 could be as high as 67% — the highest since at least 1916. Turnout in the 2016 presidential election was 60%. Why it matters: That would mean a tougher re-election path for President Trump. Older white people already vote at high rates, and they’re close to their maximum turnout. By contrast, you could see bigger turnout increases among young people, people of color, and low-income people. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said: "The safest prediction in politics is for a giant turnout in 2020. ... Let’s hope the polling places can accommodate the crowds."

FORT WAYNE MAY HOST MSNBC TOWN HALL: Indiana may get a turn in the Election 2020 spotlight with a presidential town hall (WIBC). Neighborhood leaders say they met Monday with a team of producers from MSNBC scoping out whether it's feasible to do a new kind of town hall. Instead of putting the candidate on a stage, they're scouting clusters of houses where the candidate could take questions in someone's living room, and move down the street to another house at each commercial break. West Rudisill Neighborhood Association president Jim Sack says the cable channel is aiming for a cross-section of voters, including Republicans. He says producers didn't reveal which candidate would appear, but said it was "one of the more prominent" contenders. He says they're targeting early June.

PENCE TO VISIT RNC SITE TODAY: Vice President Mike Pence will attend the 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff in Charlotte on today as part of a day-long trip to the state that includes stops in Monroe and Greensboro (McClatchy). The 2020 Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte at the Spectrum Center Aug. 24-27. President Donald Trump and Pence are expected to accept the official nomination for their re-election bid at the event. Wednesday, Pence will also visit Parkdale Mills, a textile company that bills itself as “the world leader in yarn manufacturing.” Pence will tour the facility and speak to employees with a focus on the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, according to a White House official.

AMASH PONDERS CHALLENGE TO TRUMP IN 2020: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Tuesday said he would not rule out a third-party challenge to President Trump in 2020. The Hill asked Amash if he is thinking about leaving the Republican Party to run for president as the Libertarian Party candidate. “I’m just focused on defending the Constitution, it’s not something I’ve thought about,” Amash said. “I don’t take things off the table like that, but it’s not something at the forefront of my considerations right now, I’m just focused on my job. I wouldn’t take running for governor off the table or Senate or state house, I don’t take things off the table."

BUTTIGIEG DISCUSSES AFGHAN DEPLOYMENT: There are movie wars, full of fire and fury, and then there are the real wars familiar to anyone who’s served in a combat zone: 85 percent routine, even boring, duty, interrupted by moments of gut-churning terror (Newsweek). So it was with Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor making an improbable presidential run, who served nine months in Afghanistan as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. As a low-grade ensign, Buttigieg was assigned to the NATO coalition’s Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell in Kabul that tracked the enemy’s money. Sure, he handled secret intelligence, but the rest of the time he basically served as his boss’s armed chauffeur, he says—albeit in life-threatening conditions. Think NCIS, in rebel-infested Kabul. “It's funny, the way it worked out,” Buttigieg said in a Newsweek interview. “I'd get up, maybe I'd do a little bit of work with some documents or [reports] traffic. Then I would be asked to drive the boss over to maybe an Afghan counternarcotics cell that we were working with. And I'd just be Uber, basically, driving or guarding that vehicle.”

BUTTIGIEG APPEARS ON TELEMUNDO: Pete Buttigieg Telemundo News visited yesterday for an interview with the presenter Jose Diaz-Balart. Buttigieg spoke about the president's comments Trump criticizing his candidacy, the Democratic presidential campaign and campaign proposals, among other topics of interest to the Latino community (Howey Politics Indiana). "I think maybe the president does not know what to do with me," Buttigieg said. "And this is fine, do not worry ... tweets, insults. My focus is on topics of interest in how this election will affect the lives of people. That's my perspective. The less we talk about it, the more talk of you. I'm postulándome to replace President Trump, but I want to change the conversation to talk about wages, health care, to fix the immigration system, things are really going to make our lives better. It is interesting to compare me with a cartoon, I do not really focus so much on that kind of insult because I think that's part of a strategy. I think that whenever the president does something to surprise us , do something to catch the headlines, what happens is that we are shifting the focus of issues that are really important."

SANDERS VOWS TO HOLD PURDUE PHARMA ACCOUNTABLE: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) led a bicameral group of lawmakers in introducing the Opioid Crisis Accountability and Results Act, as Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan announced a lawsuit today against former Purdue Pharma CEO Richard Sackler and seven family members who served on Purdue’s Board of Directors for deliberately misrepresenting the risks of the drug OxyContin (Howey Politics Indiana). The Opioid Crisis Accountability and Results Act, introduced with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), prohibits illegal marketing and distribution of opioids; creates criminal liability for top company executives; penalizes drug manufacturers who illegally advertise, market or distribute an opioid product; and requires drug makers to reimburse the country for the negative economic impact of their products. The opioid epidemic is estimated to cost the United States over $78 billion per year. In 2016 alone, over 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses. From 1999 to 2016, the number of opioid overdose deaths more than tripled, and U.S. life expectancy as a whole fell for the third year in a row in 2017, due in part to the increase in opioid-related deaths. “We know that pharmaceutical companies lied about the addictive impacts of opioids they manufactured. They knew how dangerous these products were, but refused to tell doctors and patients. While some of these companies have made billions each year in profits, not one of them has been held fully accountable for its role in an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year,” Sanders said. “At a time when local, state and federal governments are spending many billions of dollars a year dealing with the impact of the opioid epidemic, we must hold the pharmaceutical companies and executives that created the crisis accountable.”

TRUMP FACES SEVERE REELECTION HEADWINDS: faces a steep uphill climb to a second term, even if it’s far too early to count him out.  Trump campaign aides have talked up the president’s chances of doing even better than he did in 2016. They note the economy is strong and that he has scored some of the highest poll ratings of his tenure since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report (The Hill). But the headwinds for Trump are severe. One of the largest: His polarizing approach looks to be more hindrance than help.  In four separate polls over the past month, more than 50 percent of respondents said they would not vote for him again or were unlikely to do so. The percentage who said they would vote for him never rose higher than 38. The most recent of those polls, from Fox News, found 54 percent of respondents saying they would probably not or definitely not vote for Trump. In a Quinnipiac University Poll, 52 percent of respondents said they would definitely not vote for the president, while 33 percent said they definitely would. Only 13 percent were in the middle ground, saying they would “consider” backing Trump.

43% SUPPORT SOCIALISM IN GALLUP POLL: Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country (Gallup). While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion. The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup's update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

IOWANS PONDER TRUMP ALTERNATIVES:  Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg asked a crowd of supporters packed into an Iowa brewery this weekend whether the United States has a plan to win the ongoing trade war with China. “Nooo,” was the response (Reuters). The world’s two largest economies have been locked in a 10-month trade war that has roiled global supply chains and rattled financial markets. U.S. farmers, who helped carry Trump to his surprise 2016 election win, have been among the hardest-hit as China has imposed tariffs on imports of U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans, pork and grain sorghum in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Now, increasing frustrations over the prolonged dispute are prompting some rural residents in Iowa, home of the first presidential nominating contest in February, to consider candidates other than President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. ted for Trump and considers himself a Republican. But the 72-year-old retired school superintendent attended the rally for Buttigieg in Dubuque on Saturday with his wife, a Democrat. Murray said he is open to voting for a Democratic candidate. “A lot of the farmers voted for Trump. Now they’re feeling it,” said Murray.


BROOKS DISCUSSES CAREER PATH: -Women have been able to vote and hold office in Indiana for 100 years. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1919, and ratified the next near. Since then, Indiana has sent several women to Congress. Republican Susan Brooks said she never felt like being a woman hindered her political career (WIBC). Her first appointed position in government was as deputy mayor of Indianapolis for Mayor Steve Goldsmith, in 1998. "Mayor Goldsmith wanted to focus and have a high-level position very focused on reducing crime in the city and the criminal justice issues, and I had been a criminal defense attorney for 13 years," said Brooks. "Mayor Goldsmith always had female leaders at city hall. Similarly when I went to the U.S. Attorney's office, I took the place of Judge Judy Stewart, of Brown County." Brooks said several other female prosecutors preceded Stewart. "Indiana actually has a fairly long history of women in the type of roles that I've served in," she said. "I think I'm really fortunate to come from a state that has had a lot of women step up in elected offices."

VISCLOSKY DEMANDS 'ROADMAP' TO JEDI FUNDING: Congressional leaders plan to deny funding for migrations to the cloud provider selected as the winner of the JEDI cloud initiative until the Defense Department's CIO details how the military will avoid vendor lock-in ( In a report put forward Monday to accompany a military spending bill for 2020, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), demanded a roadmap from military IT leaders about implementing a multi-cloud strategy. The subcommittee "continues to be concerned" with the single vendor JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) strategy, "given the rapid pace of innovation in the industry and that this approach may lock the Department of Defense into a single provider for potentially as long as ten years," the report reads. The JEDI bidding process has generated a firestorm of controversy primarily because of its decision for a single vendor for the military's "General Purpose" cloud.

DEMOCRATS SUBPOENA HICKS, DONALDSON: House Democrats issued subpoenas for Hope Hicks, the president's former adviser and confidant, as well as former White House deputy counsel Annie Donaldson (Politico). The House Judiciary Committee subpoenas request documents from Hicks and Donaldson by June 4, and they request that Hicks testify on June 19 and Donaldson on June 24. Donaldson's notes on the chaotic atmosphere in the West Wing after special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment were among Mueller's most vivid evidence of the president's state of mind during the Russia probe.

General Assembly

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL DETERMINES SUMMER STUDY: The Indiana General Assembly’s Legislative Council met today to assign topics for lawmakers to study during the 2019 legislative interim (Howey Politics Indiana). The Legislative Council is comprised of eight members of the Indiana Senate and eight members of the Indiana House of Representatives. This year, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) is serving as chair and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) is serving as vice-chair. “Study committees provide an important opportunity for lawmakers to examine complicated issues in depth without the same time restrictions we face during a legislative session,” Bray said. “As such, they serve an important role in helping us prepare for the next session. We have collaborated to identify a number of important topics for study, and I look forward to productive conversations between lawmakers, Hoosiers and stakeholders as we take a hard look at these issues in the coming months.” House and Senate leaders will assign members to each study committee in the coming weeks. Committees will meet during the summer and fall months in preparation for the 2020 session of the General Assembly.

NIEZGODSKI LAUDS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: On Tuesday, the Legislative Council released its assignments for study topics during the 2019 interim. State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) was able to get two of his important topics assigned to be studied: worker misclassification and adoption subsidies. Sen. Niezgodski had the following comments on his study topic assignments (Howey Politics Indiana): “I am very happy to see these two topics get the attention they deserve. Both affect Hoosiers from all walks of life, and I will be working this summer to make sure they are heard in their assigned committees. With the opportunity to study issues surrounding worker misclassification, valuable insight in terms of lost state revenue may be determined. Some studies have shown unrealized gains could exceed $400 million annually for the State of Indiana. If these studies prove to be true, plain common sense should dictate that we, as legislators, act upon this information. Studying adoption subsidies is key to making sure adoptive families are getting the support they need to take care of the children they love. My hope is that we can change the way the Department of Child Services assesses foster children so their adoptive families can be awarded fair subsidies in the future."


GOVERNOR: ABORTION RALLY TARGETS HOLCOMB, PENCE - Indy is part of a national chain of protests against abortion bans passed in Alabama, Missouri, and other states (WIBC). Planned Parenthood organized more than 400 "Stop the Bans" protests across the country. In Indy, about 300 people gathered outside the statehouse to denounce efforts to limit abortion. That includes Indiana, where legislators bottled up a bill to outlaw abortion, but passed a ban on a second-trimester abortion method. ACLU Indiana director Jane Henegar warns the stricter bans are "around the corner" if the Alabama law is upheld. IU Health pediatrician Tracey Wilkinson declares bans wouldn't eliminate abortion -- only safe abortions. She argues the "pro-life" label would be better applied to universal preschool, Medicaid expansion, and gun control. Protesters booed mention of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a potential tipping-point vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. And speakers urged a flood of phone calls to Governor Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma, and other state leaders. But the loudest boos greeted mention of Holcomb's predecessor, Vice President Pence. Henegar ignored President Trump entirely in charging the "Pence Administration" has declared war on abortion, and urging ralliers to enlist in the fight to defend it. She says abortion should be treated the same as any other health procedure -- and notes that until and unless Roe is overturned, it remains a legal right in all 50 states.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Below find Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s public schedule for May 22 and 23, 2019. Wednesday, May 22: Hidden Heroes Cities Luncheon, Gov. Holcomb with former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Tom Hanks, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Noon, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Entry Pavilion, 125 S. Pennsylvania St. Thursday, May 23: Rolling Thunder Indiana Chapter #1 Ride to the Wall Departing Ceremony 2019, Gov. Holcomb, Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier, Brigadier General (RET) Steward Goodwin, Indiana Chapter #1 President Michael Clark, 8:30 a.m., Fort Harrison Veterans Center 9450 E. 59th St., Indianapolis. Thursday, May 23: Governor’s STEM Awards, The governor will present award letter jackets and scholarships to the 2019 STEM team, 11:30 a.m., Indiana Statehouse, Governor’s Office.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH APPOINTS RUDD TO FCC ADVISORY BOARD - Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced that Scott Rudd, the director of broadband opportunities, was appointed to the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, which is housed under the Federal Communications Commission (Howey Politics Indiana). "Indiana is at the forefront of increasing broadband access across the state, and the federal government has taken that into consideration and asked Scott to join the broadband committee," Crouch said. "His work on accelerating the deployment of high-speed Internet across the country will help our administration's goal of connecting rural Indiana to the rest of the world." Crouch has been leading the efforts in increasing broadband access across the state through various methods like hiring the director of broadband opportunities in August of last year. Additionally, Crouch implemented a broadband planning grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Crouch also is a part of the administration's Next Level Connections program, which allocates $100M to providers looking to increase their access across the state. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai appointed various individuals from across the country who work on broadband related issues to come together and address the digital divide in the United States. "I am excited to start working on the larger picture of how best to address the broadband discrepancies in our state and country," Rudd said. "It is truly an honor to be asked to sit on such an important committee, and I am ready to get to work and make significant progress in increasing Internet availability for Indiana and throughout the country."

STATEHOUSE: HILL SUES SACKLER FAMILY OF PURDUE PHARMA - Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit today against members of the Sackler family, alleging that as owners and directors of Purdue Pharma the Sacklers have played a key role in worsening the opioid crisis in Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). Purdue Pharma is best known for making and marketing the painkiller OxyContin. In November of 2018, Attorney General Hill filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging the company intentionally understated the health risks of long-term opioid use and deceptively marketed several drugs in ways that violated Indiana law. That matter remains pending in Marion Superior Court. In Tuesday’s lawsuit, the State of Indiana alleges that members of the Sackler family directed, approved of, and participated in their company’s destructive strategies. The lawsuit further alleges that the Sacklers enriched themselves to the tune of billions of dollars from these schemes. In fact, the Sacklers instructed Purdue Pharma to distribute approximately $4.3 billion to the Sackler family from April 2008 until 2016 alone.

WORKFORCE: STATE UNVEILS EMPLOYER DRUG ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES - Indiana Workforce Recovery has unveiled new guidelines for employers dealing with employees with substance abuse issues. The initiative, a partnership between the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Wellness Council of Indiana, aims to help employers meet the requirements of Indiana's substance abuse treatment law passed last year (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). Mike Thibideau, director of Indiana Workforce Recovery, says many businesses do not have a plan to help employees receive assistance for drug or alcohol problems.  In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Thibideau says the guidelines lay out a process that employers can follow. "If they adhere to that process, they then receive civil liability protections and also have the ability to participate in other programs such as wage assignments in the event that they decide to pay for part or all of an employee's treatment but want to have an arrangement with that employee to pay that back over time," said Thibideau. "These types of things are really unique and they're really important because they allow people to participate in a best practice process that currently many employers are not participating in around the state and have systems by which employees feel comfortable coming forward in requesting assistance even before the event of a workplace accident or a failed test."

NATIONAL GUARD: 600 HOOSIERS TO BE HONORED AT 500 - Hundreds of Indiana National Guard soldiers will be honored at a special ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Indy 500 race day before their deployment overseas (WRTV). The Guardsmen of the 38th Infantry Division will deploy to the Middle East in support of Task Force Spartan, according to the Indiana National Guard. The nearly 600 troops come from 70 of Indiana's 92 counties as shown in the map below. The soldiers will depart Indiana shortly after Sunday's ceremony to train in Texas for several weeks before leaving for their final destination in Southwest Asia.

DNR: FALLEN CONSERVATION OFFICERS TO BE HONORED - A memorial ceremony will be held on May 23 at 11 a.m. in Indianapolis to remember fallen Indiana Conservation Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the state of Indiana and its citizen. The public is invited and encouraged to attend (Howey Politics Indiana). The ceremony will be held at the Indiana Law Enforcement and Firefighters Memorial, which is located at Government Way and Senate Avenue, next to the Statehouse. A total of seven members of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement have died in the line of duty since its inception in 1911. Those officers, listed with their end of watch date: Sgt. Ed Bollman, Feb. 13, 2018; F/Sgt. Karl E. Kelley, April 17, 1998; ICO Thomas Deniston, Oct. 16, 1990; ICO James D. Pitzer, May 27, 1958; Warden William J. Nattkemper, April 27, 1926; and Warden William J. Peare, April 27, 1926.

LOTTERY: RECORD YEAR PREDICTED - The Hoosier Lottery is predicting record-high revenue for fiscal year 2019 after exceeding the $1 billion threshold in March—the earliest point it has reached that milestone (Erdody, IBJ). The bottom line for the state—an estimated $309 million from the total lottery proceeds—also would be a record. According to a financial report presented to the Hoosier Lottery Commission on Tuesday morning, IGT Indiana, formerly known as Gtech Indiana, has already sold $1.12 billion worth of tickets in the 2019 fiscal year as of April 30. IGT Indiana expects that to increase to $1.33 billion before the fiscal year ends on June 30. That would set a record for the Hoosier Lottery.

HISTORY: NEW GRISSOM EXHIBIT TO HOUSE B-58 HUSTLER - The Grissom Air Museum is in the middle of raising money to build a new exhibit space to house a rare B-58 Hustler bomber plane that will mark the largest expansion at the facility since it opened nearly 40 years ago (Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). The museum raised $90,000 for the project over the weekend during a reunion near Grissom Air Reserve Base of airmen who were assigned to the B-58 program at military installations around the country, including what was then Bunker Hill Air Force Base. Museum Director Tom Jennings said the money goes a long way in paying for the $300,000 facility, which will be constructed around the B-58 Hustler plane where it sits on the east side of the museum, making it visible from U.S. 31. Once the building is complete, it will house the Cold-War era supersonic bomber, along with a full display of artifacts documenting the plane’s unique role in U.S. military history. And nowhere did the bomber play a bigger role than at the Air Force base just south of Peru. Tom Kelley, a museum board member and volunteer, said the B-58 Hustler was the world’s first supersonic bomber, and almost half of the nation’s 116-aircraft fleet was stationed at Bunker Hill Air Force Base. “Only eight of these remarkable aircraft remain in existence, and one of them is exhibited at the Grissom Air Museum,” Kelley said in a release. Donations to the project can be made by calling the museum at 765-689-8011 or online at


WHITE HOUSE: IRS PREPARED TO RELEASE TRUMP TAX RETURNS - The Internal Revenue Service has no choice but to honor congressional requests for President Trump’s tax returns unless he invokes executive privilege to protect them, according to a draft legal memo written by agency staff members (New York Times). The memo appears to undercut the reasoning offered by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has refused to comply with Democrats’ requests because they lack a “legitimate legislative purpose.” Mr. Mnuchin said he made his decision after consulting with lawyers from the Treasury Department, the I.R.S. and the Justice Department.

WHITE HOUSE: NEW YORK LEGISLATURE POISED TO REVEAL TRUMP TAXES - A tax attorney from White Plains and a state senator whose district is across the street from Trump Tower may have figured out a way to achieve a goal Democrats have had their eyes on for nearly four years: getting a glimpse at President Donald Trump’s taxes (Politico). The New York Assembly is poised to pass legislation on Wednesday to allow the release of the president’s state tax returns to three congressional committees. The documents could show some of the figures that have been elusive for years as Trump has refused to follow presidential convention and publicly release his tax returns. Since the state Senate already has passed the measure and Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports it, U.S. House Democrats could theoretically ask for and receive Trump’s state tax returns in a matter of weeks.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP APPOINTS AIR FORCE SECRETARY - President Donald Trump plans to nominate Barbara Barrett, former head of the Aerospace Corporation, a government-funded research center, to be the next secretary of the Air Force (Politico). "She will be an outstanding Secretary!" Trump tweeted this afternoon. Barrett, 68, a former bank chair and business executive from Arizona, also served as ambassador to Finland under former President George W. Bush. She has also done stints at the government-funded RAND Corporation and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett would replace Heather Wilson, who is stepping down to serve as president of the University of Texas at El Paso.

WHITE HOUSE: DESTEFANO LEAVING - Johnny DeStefano, one of the president's longest-serving top aides, is leaving the White House, further thinning out the ranks of aides who have served in the administration since the very beginning (CBS News). His last day is Friday, according to a White House official. The Washington Post first reported his anticipated departure. DeStefano has worked as an assistant and counselor to the president.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump is scheduled to meet with Democratic lawmakers on infrastructure at 11:15 a.m. in the Cabinet Room. The president will present the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor at 3:10 p.m. in the East Room. He will leave the White House at 6:20 p.m. en route to the Trump International Hotel for a meeting with supporters and to deliver remarks at a fundraiser. Afterward, he will return to the White House.

STATE: BRIEFING CALLS IRAN 'IMMINENT THREAT' - Lawmakers were sharply divided Tuesday over whether Iran poses an imminent threat to U.S. interests or the Trump administration is exaggerating intelligence to lay the groundwork for war (Washington Post). Top administration officials briefed the House and Senate in two closed-door sessions for all members, presenting evidence that Iran may be poised to attack U.S. military and diplomatic personnel in the Middle East. But some Democrats said that none of the information showed Iran was appreciably more of a threat now than in the past, and they accused the administration of being ready to attack at the slightest provocation.

HUD: COOKIE CONFUSES CARSON - When a freshman congresswoman asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson at a congressional hearing Tuesday whether he knew what the housing term “REO” was, Carson thought she was referencing the similar-sounding cookie (Washington Post). “An Oreo?” the secretary asked. No, said Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), her tone firm. She spelled it back to him, twice. Carson came up with: “real estate e-organization.” It’s actually “real estate owned.”

PENTAGON: U.S. CONFRONTS RUSS JETS OFF ALASKA - US F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets off the coast of Alaska on Monday, according to a statement from North American Aerospace Defense Command (CNN). The Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska's western coast. The Russian bomber flights are seen by US military officials as part of Moscow's effort to train its military for a potential crisis while simultaneously sending a message of strength to adversaries.

MICHIGAN: NILES TOWNSHIP BARS MARIJUANA BUSINESSES - The seven-member Niles Charter Township board of trustees voted unanimously Monday night to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses in the township (South Bend Tribune). The board chose to continue what trustee Jim Ringler described as its “wait and see approach” to allowing commercial marijuana establishments. The move frustrated some among the approximately 25 people who attended the meeting. “For you to take this action to opt out goes directly against the vote of the people,” resident William Lakeman said. “That’s discouraging as a voter.” The statewide ballot initiative last November to legalize recreational marijuana passed by nearly 56 percent. In Niles Township, there were 2,745 votes in favor of it and 2,160 votes against.

ILLINOIS: ASIAN CARP DNA FOUND IN CHICAGO NEAR LAKE MICHIGAN - Officials say genetic material from Asian carp has been detected near Lake Michigan, but a follow-up search turned up none of the invasive fish (Indiana Public Media). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted results last week from sampling conducted in the Chicago Area Waterway System in early April. Most of the 401 water samples were negative, but six registered DNA hits for silver or bighead carp in Lake Calumet, a few miles from Lake Michigan. Scientist say if the fish become established in the Great Lakes, they could out-compete native species.


CITIES: FORT WAYNE COUNCIL PASSES WATER RATE HIKE - In a 6-1 vote Tuesday, the Fort Wayne City Council ratified a City Utilities water rate increase previously approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). City Council approved the rate increase request last June, sending the proposal to the IURC for approval. That approval was granted last month, according to documents filed with the City Council before Tuesday's meeting. The IURC approved 99% of the total increase requested, Justin Brugger, City Utilities' chief financial officer, told the council.

CITIES: HAMMOND SCHOOL BOARD CLOSES 3 SCHOOLS - Following its superintendent's recommendation, the School City of Hammond board voted on Tuesday night to close three schools and eliminate between 130 and 150 positions (NWI Times). Columbia and Lafayette elementaries, and Miller School — which houses Hammond's Head Start and special education programs  — will close after this school year after the board's 4-1 vote.  A majority of Columbia students will move to Irving Elementary School, currently at 388 of its 800-student capacity. A majority of Lafayette students will move to Maywood Elementary, currently at 370 of its 775-student capacity. Superintendent Scott Miller promised parents of Columbia, Lafayette and Miller students that the district would provide transportation to their new schools.

CITIES: MUNCIE PAYING PAST DUE BILLS - The City of Muncie is catching up on past-due bills in the amount of more than $600,000 (Muncie Star Press). After making a $300,000 payment to the county last week as part of the city-county based Delaware County Emergency Dispatch Center, city controller Kevin Nemyer said additional payments are being sent to the Muncie Board of Works for unpaid bills regarding health insurance costs that the county and city split.

CITIES: EPA CHIPS IN $26M TO CLEARN UP LAKE GEORGE CANAL - East Chicago and Hammond are in line to receive an eight-figure boost from the federal government to clean up one of The Region’s most polluted waterways, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday (NWI Times). The EPA will chip in $26 million to assist a public-private cleanup effort in the Lake George Canal, which connects the Grand Calumet River to Lake Michigan.

CITIES: NATURAL GAS CALLED JEFFERSONVILLE EXPLOSION - Fire investigators have determined the explosion of a southern Indiana house over the weekend that left one dead was caused by natural gas (AP). Fifty-year-old William Phillips was killed when a home exploded Sunday in the Ohio River city of Jeffersonville. His wife, Janet Phillips, remains in critical condition at University of Louisville Hospital. Investigators for the Jeffersonville Fire Department announced that 12 hours before the explosion, an increased amount of gas was spilling into the home. The gas was ignited by an unknown source.

CITIES: ANDERSON HS MULLS MASCOT CHANGE - Paige McKnight, the Anderson High School senior who has most recently represented the Indians as a mascot, said it may be time for the school and district to revisit this symbol (Bibbs, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). “I loved being mascot, but I do understand that it may be time to switch it out,” she said. Her comments are in response to the news that the governor of Maine signed a law Thursday prohibiting the use of Native American symbols as mascots at public K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The law was introduced at the request of Maine tribes who said being used as a mascot was “a source of pain and anguish.” It’s part of a larger nationwide discussion that has taken place over the past several years, especially in regard to professional sports teams, such as the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins.

COUNTIES: SOLAR FARM COMING TO SHELBY - A $175 million solar power project is planned for central Indiana (Fox59). Officials announced Tuesday that plans call for Brooklyn, New York-based Ranger Power to build the solar project in Shelby County starting in 2022. Those involved in the “Speedway Solar” project says that when it’s brought online in 2023 it will generate enough power to serve about 35,000 households. About 400 workers are expected to build the solar power project. About 1,014 of the 1,200 acres (410 of the 486 hectares) of the Ranger Power project are devoted to solar panels.

COUNTIES: BARTHOLOMEW SHERIFF ON NATIONAL BOARD - Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers has been appointed to the National Sheriffs’ Association Homeland Security Committee (Columbus Republic). Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, the National Sheriffs’ Association is a non-profit association that serves thousands of sheriffs and other law enforcement professionals across the country through education, training and informational resources, according to the association’s website.