SENATE RACE TIED, TRUMP UP 11%, GREGG UP 6% IN MONMOUTH POLL:  It no longer looks like Democrats can count on Indiana for an easy "plus one" in their bid to take control of the U.S. Senate, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll (Howey Politics Indiana). Republican Todd Young has erased former senator Evan Bayh's early advantage to pull into a tie for Senate.  Young's campaign gets an assist from the top of the ticket where Donald Trump now holds an 11 point lead over Hillary Clinton for president.  Indiana Democrats can take some comfort from the governor's race, though, where John Gregg is ahead of Eric Holcomb by 6 points. Among Indiana voters who are likely to cast ballots in November's presidential election or who have already voted early, 50% currently support Trump and 39% back Clinton while another 4% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson.  The current margin is larger than the 4 point lead Trump held two weeks ago (45% to 41%) and matches the 11 point lead he held in August (47% to 36%). Former senator Evan Bayh and Congressman Todd Young are tied at 45% for Bayh and 45% for Young.  Libertarian Lucy Brenton garners 4% of the vote.  Bayh had held a steady 6 to 7 point lead in prior Monmouth polls - 48% to 42% in mid-October and 48% to 41% in August. "Attacks on Bayh's out of state activities have certainly led to this shift, but renewed strength at the top of the ticket is providing a crucial assist for Young," said Murray. Former state legislator and 2012 gubernatorial nominee John Gregg is ahead of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb by a 48% to 42% margin.  Another 4% support Libertarian Rex Bell.  Gregg held a larger 50% to 38% lead in mid-October while the race was virtually tied in August at 42% for Holcomb and 41% for Gregg. "Earlier this month it looked like Clinton could potentially make a play for Indiana, but that opportunity has faded.  While the email news does not play a decisive role in the presidential contest, a couple of points on the margins could be having a critical impact on tight down-ballot races," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

 

LABOR MAKING 600K CALLS TO STOKE UP GREGG VOTE: Labor leaders stung by setbacks during Republican rule of the Statehouse are engaged in a massive effort to mobilize their members and put a Democrat back in the governor’s office (Hayden, CNHI). The effort, focused on individual, member-to-member contacts, comes after union leaders discovered that more than a quarter-million of members and their families failed to vote in the 2012 election that the labor-friendly John Gregg lost by only 75,000 votes. “Labor alone could have flipped that election if we’d turned out,” said Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana AFL-CIO. Voorhies led the analysis of the 2012 vote that put Republican Mike Pence into the governor’s office. During his tenure, Pence signed a repeal of the decades-old “prevailing wage” law that set union-level pay for workers on public projects. Seen as a major setback for labor, it came after a series of Republican-led actions under Pence’s predecessor, Gov. Mitch Daniels, that ate away at the unions’ political strength. Those included an end to collective bargaining rights for public workers and the first “right to work” law in the Midwest that outlaws mandatory union dues as a condition of employment. Four years ago, the state AFL-CIO endorsed Gregg, but its effort to get him elected pales in comparison to the push in place now. That year, union volunteers made 65,000 calls in the waning weeks of the campaign encouraging fellow members to vote for Gregg. As of Friday, labor phone banks have made 260,000 calls as part of a months-long campaign that also involves social media outreach and knocking on doors to push for Gregg's election and stress labor's role in determining the state’s future. The goal is 400,000 calls by Election Day, Nov. 8, to tip the scales in favor of Gregg in a close race against Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. A Monmouth Poll released on Monday had Gregg leading Holcomb 48-42%.

 

COMEY BOMBSHELL HAS LITTLE IMPACT IN POLITICO POLL: The race for the White House is tight, but it has not been radically changed by the FBI director's bombshell announcement last week. Hillary Clinton has a slim three-point lead over Donald Trump one week before Election Day, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted entirely after FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of new emails that might pertain to the former secretary of state's private server. Clinton leads Trump 46 percent to 43 percent in a two-way race, and 42 percent to 39 percent in a four-way race, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 7 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at 5 percent. The poll was conducted using an online panel of 1,772 likely voters on Saturday and Sunday, beginning one day after Comey's announcement. The poll carries a margin or error of 2 percentage points.

 

DITTO IN NBC/MONKEY, CNN POLLS; NO CHANGE IN NUMBERS: Hillary Clinton's 6-point national lead over Donald Trump remains virtually unchanged since last week, even after FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of emails that could be "pertinent" to the investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server (NBC News). The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll showed Clinton with a 6-point lead over Trump in the days prior to the Comey news. When looking at the data for Saturday and Sunday only, her lead remained the same — 47 percent to Trump's 41 percent. The poll was conducted online from October 24 through October 30. Questions about Comey's announcement were included on October 29 and October 30. Results for the entire week of the tracking poll show that in a four-way match-up, Clinton enjoys 47 percent support among likely voters, while Trump holds onto 41 percent support. Gary Johnson drops a single point to 6 percent support, and Jill Stein has 3 percent support. In a two-way race, Clinton enjoys a 7-point lead over Trump, with 51 percent support compared to Trump's 44 percent. In CNN's Poll of Polls, which averages results for the five most recently released national surveys, Clinton has a 47% to 42% advantage over Trump. That's unchanged from the most recent Poll of Polls on Saturday.

 

HILLARY SAYS ‘GO AHEAD, LOOK AT EMAILS’: With eight days remaining until Election Day, Hillary Clinton told a crowd of supporters here Monday that the FBI should hurry up and check out the additional emails that agents said they found while investigating the estranged husband of one of her aides (Associated Press). "Go ahead. Look at them," the Democratic nominee said about the emails that may have been originally housed on a private server she used as secretary of state — a revelation that has thrown the presidential election into turmoil. "I made a mistake. I'm not making any excuses," Clinton said about not using an official State Department email address. After an investigation that concluded during the summer, FBI Director James Comey called Clinton's treatment of classified material "extremely careless" but did not recommend prosecution.

 

CONTROL OF SENATE COULD GO DOWN TO THE WIRE: The fight for the Senate remains quite close. Democrats have a 65 percent chance of taking control, according to [the FiveThirtyEight] polls-plus model and a 62 percent chance according to polls-only (Enten, FiveThirtyEight). But it's not just that the overall race for a Senate majority is close. There is an unusually high number of close races. That's one reason the latest reports about Hillary Clinton's private email server could be important - even a small shift could have a big effect in a lot of races... We could easily end up with a situation like we had in 2006 when it wasn't clear who was going to control the Senate until the day after the election. That year, moreover, the majority of Senate races broke late for Democratic candidates. The reverse happened in 2014, with Republicans beating their polls in most states. That could happen this year. We'll have to wait and see what, if any, impact the resurgence of the Clinton email story has. And even if it doesn't change the polls, control of the Senate looks like it will go down to the wire.

 

INDIANA COULD DETERMINE WHICH PARTY WINS SENATE: Both parties see a close race for control of the U.S. Senate, and a poll showing a dead heat between Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican Todd Young in Indiana is sure to intensify the attention on the state (Berman, WIBC). Bayh and Young both portray themselves as dedicated to working across the aisle, while slamming the other as partisan. Bayh boasts he worked with Republican Senator Richard Lugar on the auto industry bailout, and with legislative Republicans on tax cuts and the 21st Century Scholarship Program when he was governor. Young says he's worked with Democrats in the House to find areas of common ground to repeal pieces of the federal health care law, such as the classification of 30-hour-a-week workers as fulltime. He says he'd like to form a bipartisan committee to monitor Iran's compliance with last year's nuclear deal. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to win an outright majority, but could also take control by gaining four seats plus the White House, with Vice President Tim Kaine holding the tiebreaking vote.

 

VOTER FRAUD INVESTIGATION THREATENS LEGITIMACY, PROF SAYS: An Indiana University law professor says state officials' handling of a possible voter fraud investigation threatens the legitimacy of the election (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Indiana University law professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer says there's very little evidence of voter fraud in Indiana's history. And he says he's skeptical of the accusations without seeing some evidence. "They led with the claim and left the evidence behind to be brought up at a future date," Fuentes-Rohwer says. "I would call that almost irresponsible." And Fuentes-Rohwer says even if the group was forging some registration forms, Indiana's voter ID law still makes influencing the election unlikely. Fuentes-Rohwer says he thinks the larger issue is the election system itself. "Why we place partisans in charge of elections is really the bigger problem and I wish we would stop," he says. "And until we do, these questions will keep recurring."

 

STATE BUSINESSES CONCERNED ABOUT AGILE DEAL: Indiana telecommunications businesses are concerned about a potential deal between the state and an Ohio based data networking company (Saliby, Indiana Public Media). Under the agreement Agile Networks would lease unused cell tower capacity and the state would use the money to fund bicentennial projects. The deal announced in early September requires Agile Networks to pay the state $50 million up-front for a 25 year lease. During that time the state estimates it will make another $36 million in profit. Agile will also help expand broadband coverage to rural and underserved areas. The deal raises questions for Indiana's broadband and technology businesses. Industry Reps sent a letter questioning the deal to the Indiana Finance Authority. Joni Hart is one of the authors of the letter and Executive Director of the Indiana Cable Telecommunications Association. "We've put literally millions of dollars into the ground, investing in our facilities, and we believe this devalues the private investments we have made," she says. The group maintains that the agreement gives the state an incentive to favor Agile over Indiana companies. Hart says they have not received an official response. However, she says the Indiana Finance Authority has told them they are aware of their concerns.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: While the Monmouth Poll here in Indiana attracted wide attention on Monday, it will be the WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll coming later this week that will provide one of the final looks at the riveting Indiana presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial and 9th CD races. Look for our exclusive coverage on Friday. Howey Politics Indiana is your most complete source of political news, data, analysis and commentary. - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

 

McINTOSH SAYS GOP KEEPS SENATE RACES CLOSE: Democrats had all the momentum in the brutal battle for the Senate as Donald Trump’s presidential prospects took a nosedive last month. But the sudden relitigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices has them on defense in the last week of the election, injecting even more uncertainty into the half-dozen races that could go either way and will determine which party controls the Senate (Politico). Simultaneously, Trump has pulled back within striking distance. That makes Democrats nervous not because they think Trump can win, but because many Republican candidates are running ahead of Trump and a small swing in the presidential contest could make the difference in key Senate races. “Republicans have done a great job of keeping it very close in a bad environment,” said David McIntosh, president of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, which plowed millions into competitive races. “They’re consistently running anywhere from 5 to 6 points ahead of Trump. If Trump gets within a point or two,” Republicans can hold the chamber. Democrats are still in the driver’s seat thanks to simple math: Republicans essentially have to run the table in the most competitive races to keep the Senate. Democrats are on offense in North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin and Illinois — and are only on defense in Nevada. That gives them lots of ways to take back the minimum four seats they need, though Democrats are hoping for much greater gains to give them some cushion heading into a brutal 2018 map.

 

WALORSKI, COLEMAN DEBATE TODAY IN WABASH:  U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, and Lynn Coleman, D-South Bend, will meet today in their only head-to-head debate of this election year (South Bend Tribune). The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Wabash County Farm Bureau. Walorski is running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana's 2nd Congressional District. Coleman, a retired South Bend police officer, is challenging her. The debate is not open to the public, but it will be broadcast on the radio and online. People can listen to it on WKUZ (95.9 KISS FM) if they are inside the Wabash-based station's broadcast radius. Otherwise, they can listen on the station's website at www.wkuz.com or on the TuneIn app. Coleman's campaign has objected to Walorski's decision to participate in only this one debate. She didn't accept invitations to other debates in South Bend, Elkhart and Rochester. Also, the Indiana Farm Bureau has endorsed Walorski, and the debate's moderator will be WKUZ's Bill Ruppel - a Republican who served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 2010.

 

McCONNELL'S PAC LAUNCHES ANTI-BAYH AD DRIVE: A super political action committee run by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's allies is ushering out two new television ads set to run across Indiana in the final week of the Hoosier State's hotly contested Senate campaign (Lovelace, Washington Examiner). The Senate Leadership Fund has invested heavily in Indiana, where it spent large sums to help Republican Rep. Todd Young survive the GOP primary. In the final days of Young's contest with former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, the McConnell-aligned super PAC is running ads targeting Bayh's role in passing Obamacare and his post-Senate career as part of the "corrupt Washington game." While the Indiana race could turn on the coattails of the candidates at the top of the ticket, Bayh and Young have sparred on other issues and avoided talk of the presidential race when debating. The two 30-second television spots, titled "Meltdown" and "Delivered," will run on broadcast and cable stations across Indiana.

 

BAYH, YOUNG EXCHANGE BLOWS OVER TRADE: U.S. Senate candidate Evan Bayh, a Democrat, is focusing on trade in the last weeks of the election, trying to paint Republican Rep. Todd Young as misaligned with the best interests of the Hoosier worker - but Bayh also has his weaknesses when it comes to trade (Colombo, Indianapolis Business Journal). Bayh's camp has attacked Young for taking donations from United Technologies Electronic Controls, the parent company of Carrier Corp., which stunned the state earlier this year with its announcement that it would move manufacturing from an Indianapolis Carrier plant and a Huntington UTEC plant to Mexico, eliminating more than 2,000 jobs here. United Technologies PAC gave Young $2,500 in 2015, before its outsourcing announcement. And Alexander Housten, a managing director with UTEC, gave Young $500 in April, afterward. UTEC has given Young a total of $17,500 during his time in Congress. But Bayh, who previously held the Senate seat, also took donations from another Indiana company that was outsourcing Hoosier jobs at the time. Carmel-based insurance company Conseco announced in April 2001 that it planned to move 800 jobs to India, expecting to save millions on labor.

 

CNN REPORTS FUNDRAISER ATTENDED MEETINGS IN BAYH OFFICE: Former Sen. Evan Bayh has repeatedly called Washington broken - but he appears to know full well how to work the Washington system (Raju, CNN). His internal 2009 schedule - obtained by CNN - provides a rare account of how Bayh privately engaged with fundraisers, lobbyists and donors who had a keen interest on the issues dominating Capitol Hill. At times, his own campaign fundraiser was sitting in on his meetings with donors in his official Senate office, the schedule says, raising potential conflict-of-interest concerns. "At a minimum, the meetings raise questions about buying access, and they raise questions about selling influence," said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, a group that calls for stricter campaign finance rules. Aides to Bayh told CNN there was nothing untoward. They said the then-senator's office had created strict firewalls between official and political action. And the campaign cast doubt on the accuracy of the schedule, but did not dispute its authenticity or deny that any of the meetings took place.

 

YOUNG'S FINANCE RECORDS CONTRADICT HIS IMAGE, AP REPORTS: Republican Senate candidate Todd Young presents himself as a squeaky clean, detail-oriented Marine who Indiana voters can trust to help "clean up" Washington, D.C., and be a responsible steward of tax dollars (Slodysko, Associated Press). Yet public documents detailing both his personal and campaign accounts seem to paint a picture at odds with the image Young has sought to cultivate since entering Congress in 2011. The congressman collected an improper tax deduction on a rental home, bounced a $4,000 check when making a payment on delinquent property taxes and was fined thousands of dollars by the Federal Election Commission for sloppy campaign finance practices. Those details, reported individually in the past by The Associated Press and other news organizations, have largely gone under the radar in a race against Democratic former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.

 

PAUL RYAN TO RALLY FOR HOLLINGSWORTH TODAY: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is rallying for 9th Congressional District Republican candidate Trey Hollingsworth at the Clark County Regional Airport today (Beilman, News & Tribune). U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-Indiana; National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon; and Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, 9th Congressional District GOP chairman, will also be in attendance. The rally begins at 11 a.m. The House Speaker's visit just one week before the election is his second to Indiana in the last two months. Ryan recently rallied for Young in Fort Wayne and for Rep. Jackie Walorski in South Bend.

 

RYAN DUMPS TRUMP TO BE IN SELLERSBURG: Trump and running mate Mike Pence were to hold a rally the western Wisconsin city of Eau Claire on Tuesday night, but Ryan instead will be campaigning for House Republicans in Indiana, Michigan and New York on Tuesday (Associated Press). Ryan has publicly distanced himself from Trump, saying earlier this month that he would no longer defend or campaign with the GOP nominee after audio surfaced of him making crude remarks about women.

 

McCORMICK, RITZ VISIT NEW PALESTINE TOMORROW: Candidates for Indiana superintendent of public instruction will speak at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of New Palestine High School (Greenfield Daily Reporter). People can submit questions for incumbent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, and challenger Jennifer McCormick, a Republican. A moderator will ask the questions of both women. This event is sponsored by the New Palestine Chamber of Commerce.

 

ABSENTEE BALLOTS COULD DELAY MARION COUNTY TALLY: The Marion County Clerk is warning that the number of absentee ballots could delay their official count on election night (Cox, WRTV). The Clerk sent a certified letter to every campaign on the ballot, alerting candidates that it's possible not all of the absentee ballots will be able to be counted on Nov. 8, because there's so many of them. "Please be patient. The central counting of absentee ballots may cause a slight delay in us getting those results to you," said Russell Hollis of the Marion County Clerk's Office. "So we will note on our website which absentee ballots have been counted." Clerks say the voting lines keep growing on a daily basis as early voting continues.

 

NEWCOMERS BATTLE IN HD65 RACE: For the first time in 14 years, Indiana House District 65 is getting a new representative (Couch, Seymour Tribune). The seat is being vacated by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, who is running for a spot in the Indiana Senate this election. Democrat Chris Woods and Republican Chris May, both from Bedford, are vying to replace him. The district covers all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties. Education, the drug epidemic and infrastructure should be the top three priorities for state government if you ask Woods. May said the state should focus on accountability, fiscal responsibility and having a "pro-business approach" for "the growth and progress of south-central Indiana."

 

EDUCATION, ECONOMY IMPORTANT IN HD32 RACE: There's one thing the candidates for Indiana state representative District 32 can agree on: education is key to the state's future (Stephens, Anderson Herald Bulletin). The race between Republican incumbent Tony Cook, who took over the seat in 2014 after Rep. Eric Turner resigned amidst an ethics scandal, and Democrat Ryan Scott Davis, a 26-year-old Gaston EMT, is focused on enhancing the district's education and bolstering job creation.

 

SD12 CANDIDATES VIE TO REPLACE YODER: Infrastructure, education, health care and business regulations are some of the key issues facing candidates for the District 12 Indiana Senate seat (Quiggle, Elkhart Truth). Republican Blake Doriot and Democrat Carl Rust are both seeking the seat to replace Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-Goshen), who is not running again. District 12 represents central and eastern Elkhart County and northeastern Kosciusko County.

 

BURTON FACES CHALLENGE IN HD58: Both candidates for a seat in the state legislature that represents the Greenwood and Whiteland areas say education and a long-term funding fix for community infrastructure are the top priorities (Holtkamp, Franklin Daily Journal). But the newcomer, Democrat Dr. Ed O'Connor, says a change is in order and that he has been disappointed and embarrassed by the actions of Hoosier lawmakers, specifically when it comes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The longtime veterinarian who has been heavily involved in Clark-Pleasant schools is challenging Republican Woody Burton, who has been a state representative for the Greenwood, Whiteland and New Whiteland communities for 28 years.

 

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR 'SWEEP' IN TERRE HAUTE: With the election just days away, a gathering of Vigo County Democrats converged Monday on a parking lot behind the law firm of Smock & Etling Monday in Terre Haute to welcome Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg and running mate Christina Hale as they rolled into town on their campaign bus (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Vigo County Democratic Party Chair and attorney Joseph Etling stood on a stage and held up a broom, saying he thinks the party can sweep "sweep" the election in favor of Democrat candidates in the county. Etling also sang "who let the donkeys out" as a parody of the song, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" as Gregg and others stepped out of Gregg's "Moving Indiana Forward" campaign bus. Those others include Susan Bayh, wife of former Indiana governor and U.S. Senate candidate Evan Bayh; attorney general candidate Lorenzo Arredondo and state party Chairman John Zody.

 

SHELBY COUNTY REPUBLICANS FIRE UP FOR ELECTION DAY: With no contested local races, all eyes were on the state and national elections at a weekend rally of Shelby County Republicans (Walker, Shelbyville News). About 100 members of the county's GOP turned out for the event held at the home of Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R - Center District). Danae Sponsel, vice chairwoman of the county Republican party, said there was strong interest among voters. "We've had more than 2,400 early voters," she told the crowd. A number of Republican party leaders and elected officials attended the catered dinner and rally Sunday evening. Congressman Luke Messer (R - Indiana) acknowledged that Trump has made controversial statements but urged support for the nominee. He said it's important because the next president will likely appoint three United States Supreme Court justices. Rounding out the evening, Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen oversaw the raffle of an Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Tribute Edition Henry Rifle which was won by Gary Moore.

 

MORE THAN 100 TURN OUT FOR DEMS IN WASHINGTON: The final week before the November election opened with a bang for Daviess County Democrats as the John Gregg-Christina Hale bus tour rolled into Washington Eastside Park on Monday morning (Grant, Washington Times-Herald). More than 100 people were on hand for the rally at the community building. "This is the biggest Democratic event in this community since 1994," said Daviess County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Crooks. "We've been way too long without Democratic representation."

 

FOUR CANDIDATES MAKE CASE AT WHITE COUNTY J-J: Four Democratic candidates continued their final push for votes leading up to the Nov. 8 election by speaking at the White County Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner over the weekend (Thompson, Monticello Herald Journal). Mike Claytor, who serves as the treasurer for the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, spoke on behalf of the candidate at the dinner, stating that this campaign cycle was "a lot more fun" than four years ago during Gregg's unsuccessful bid for governor. "It has been a much more serious campaign. John has worked his fingers to the bone. It has been great. But I'm a numbers guy, so let me share some numbers. Four years ago... we raised $6.4 million in the governor's campaign. This past week, we passed $16.5 million raised in the governor's race," Claytor said.

 

3,400 VOTE IN ONE DAY IN FLOYD COUNTY: "We had 3,400 people in one day on Saturday and that's the highest number we've ever had," said Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton (Corsey, WDRB-TV). Election officials say 7,200 people have already cast ballots in Floyd County, with 5,200 in Clark County and nearly 400,000 throughout the state.

 

1,300 VOTE EARLY IN BROWN COUNTY: Brown County election officials told Howey Politics Indiana that more than 1,300 people had voted early as of Friday afternoon.

 

VOTING REMAINS BRISK IN MUNCIE: A week before the Nov. 8 election, early voting locally is brisk, with hundreds voting each day the election office in the Delaware County Building is open (Roysdon, Muncie Star Press). Election officials think voter registration and voting, sparked in great part by the contentious presidential election, might top total numbers of those who registered and cast ballots in 2012, the last presidential election year, but not 2008, where record numbers turned out to elect Barack Obama. Between 250 and 300 people routinely vote early each day, Delaware County Clerk Mike King said Monday. The clerk reported that 353 people voted in the clerk's election office on Friday.

 

8% OF MADISON COUNTY VOTERS HAVE ALREADY CAST BALLOTS: With Election Day just over a week away, more than 8 percent of the registered voters in Madison County have cast their ballots (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald Bulletin). Madison County is averaging 244 ballots at the government center since early voting started on Oct. 12. Mary Retherford, of the Madison County Clerk's Office, said 3,167 people have voted at the courthouse, as of Friday. Retherford said 4,029 ballots have been mailed, the traveling boards have voted 319 people and 94 have been emailed to military members serving overseas. "It's higher than normal, but probably won't equal the 2008 election," she said.

 

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS INCREASE IN VOTING OVER 2012 - Voter traffic was steady on the first day that Wayne County's four vote centers were open, with 2,273 casting ballots by 5:30 p.m. Monday at the centers and at the Voter Registration Office (Sheeley, Richmond Palladium-Item). That's a slight increase from the 2012 presidential election, when more than 2,125 people cast ballots on the first Monday that the Wayne County vote centers were open.

 

ALLEN COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CHAIR VOUCHES FOR VOTING SYSTEM: Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Jack Morris is concerned that people no longer trust the political voting system and he wants to help restore their faith (Kposowa, WANE-TV). He held a press conference Monday to announce a voter protection system for Allen County. "When a candidate for president of the United States talks about our system being rigged, that is offensive," he said. "It undermines our democracy. It is careless in its communication." The Allen County Democratic Party will be keeping a close eye on the process with the intent to help keep things legal and make sure everyone feels safe. They have monitored polling sites for years, but this is the first time they've held a press conference about it.



Presidential 2016

 

CLINTON CAMPAIGN INSISTS ‘CAKE IS BAKED’: Hillary Clinton's campaign is insisting it can't be thrown off course in the final week of the presidential race -- because it's already running on auto-pilot (CNN). Over the past 18 months, the Democratic nominee has built an impressive campaign infrastructure that has dwarfed her GOP opponent, Donald Trump, on fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts. The sudden revival of Clinton's private email server as a top campaign issue is emerging as the ultimate test of whether all that work will pay off next week and whether her core message -- that she is the only candidate fit to be president -- will resonate.

 

TRUMP, CLINTON NEGATIVES IDENTICAL: Registered voters see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in a nearly identical negative light, mirroring a persistently close split in overall vote preference in a new Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll. Nearly 6 in 10 registered voters have an unfavorable impression of Clinton (59 percent), and an identical percentage see Trump negatively. Nearly half of registered voters, 47 percent, have a "strongly unfavorable" view of Clinton and Trump alike. The parity in basic popularity undermines a key advantage for Clinton throughout most of a presidential campaign where Trump set records as most unpopular presidential candidate in polling history. Clinton's ratings were consistently negative, but were only rarely as troubled as her opponent.

 

NEGATIVES SIMILAR IN INDIANA MONMOUTH POLL: In other poll results on the presidential race, 35% of Indiana voters have a favorable view of Trump and 51% hold an unfavorable opinion of him (Howey Politics Indiana).  While these numbers are nothing to brag about, they are nominally better than his prior Hoosier State rating of 31% favorable to 58% unfavorable in mid-October and 33% favorable to 54% unfavorable in August. Clinton receives an even worse 27% favorable to 63% unfavorable rating, compared with her 30% favorable to 59% unfavorable rating in mid-October and her 28% favorable to 62% unfavorable rating in August.

 

COMEY BECOMES DC PUNCHING BAG: FBI Director James Comey endured more blows on Monday from both Democrats and Republicans, but he has one guy in his corner — Donald Trump (Politico). The controversy over the FBI director’s cryptic announcement Friday that the bureau would be reviewing additional emails in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server as secretary of state has only been inflamed in the days since, drawing the law enforcement official into a polarizing, toxic presidential campaign already centered more on personality than on policy. Even Trump acknowledged Monday that what Comey did, reportedly against the Justice Department’s counsel, took some audacity. “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution,” Trump told supporters during a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, suggesting Clinton should have been charged after the FBI’s yearlong investigation into her use of a private email server when she led the State Department. “You know that. It took a lot of guts.”

 

HOLDER BLASTS COMEY LETTER: Former Attorney General Eric Holder is criticizing FBI Director James Comey's decision to reveal the recent discovery of emails potentially related to the bureau's earlier investigation of Hillary Clinton's private server. Writing in the Washington Post on Monday, Holder called Comey's decision "incorrect." He said Comey's letter to Congress announcing a review of the new emails was "a stunning breach" of law enforcement protocol and one that carried "potentially severe implications" during a presidential campaign (CNN). "I served with Jim Comey, and I know him well. This is a very difficult piece for me to write. He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes. In this instance, he has committed a serious error with potentially severe implications," Holder wrote. "It is incumbent upon him -- or the leadership of the department -- to dispel the uncertainty he has created before Election Day. It is up to the director to correct his mistake — not for the sake of a political candidate or campaign but in order to protect our system of justice and best serve the American people."

 

CLINTON REVIVES ‘DAISY’ AD GIRL: Hillary Clinton's campaign has turned to the young girl featured in the iconic 1964 "Daisy" ad in order to question Donald Trump's ability to handle nuclear weapons (CNN). A new ad out Monday -- which features Monique Luiz, the same actress who at age three played "Daisy" in the ad for Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign -- is part of the campaign's closing argument against the Republican Party's presidential nominee. The campaign hopes to cast Trump as too reckless and unhinged to be trusted with the country's nuclear arsenal. "This was me in 1964," Luiz says as video from the iconic ad, which features a young girl with flowers while a countdown to a nuclear warhead launch echoes in the background, plays. "The fear of nuclear war that we had as children, I never thought our children would ever have to deal with that again. And to see that coming forward in this election is really scary."

 

TRUMP VOWS TO WIN MICHIGAN: Buoyed by tightening polls and large crowds in Grand Rapids and Warren, the Trump campaign swept into Michigan on Monday and promised to make the reliably blue state competitive on election day next week (Detroit Free Press). "No Republican has won Michigan since like Reagan and I say, I love Michigan and I see numbers and I’m up," Trump told a crowd of several thousand people at Macomb Community College in Warren Monday afternoon, adding his staff tells him that he's even in the polls. "And I get this poll and it says we’re doing well in Michigan. And for all the geniuses who work for me, they said 'You're doing well in Michigan' and I say let's go win it." Trump was introduced at the rally by former IU coach Bob Knight.

 

TRUMP SAYS CLINTON A ‘BAD EXAMPLE’: Donald Trump said Monday that Hillary Clinton is a “terrible example” for America’s children, including his own young son (Politico). “You know, I have a son named Barron, and I wanna tell you: She is a terrible example for my son and for the children in this country,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Warren, Michigan. “That, I can tell you.”

 

CONWAY CHIDES DEMS FOR NOMINATING ‘SERIAL LIAR’: Democrats worried about their White House candidate have nobody to blame but themselves, Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Monday morning, because they’re the ones who nominated a “serial liar” for president (Politico). “I would just say that I think all along, we've been asking the questions about the wrong candidate. The Democrats own Hillary Clinton,” Conway said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They made a huge mistake by nominating someone they know is a serial liar, has a history of having a casual relationship with the truth, of always putting Hillary first. And I think that we're seeing that come home to roost here, because they should own her.”

 

CONWAY ASKS IF HILLARY WILL ‘ACCEPT’ RESULTS: As Hillary Clinton’s campaign has begun leveling attacks at FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Monday that it’s only fair that the Democratic nominee be asked some of the same questions that the Manhattan billionaire has faced for weeks (Politico). “The horrible part about the FBI right now is I just saw, like maybe on your show earlier, Hillary Clinton engendering boos for the FBI and the FBI director at her rallies yesterday,” Conway said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Are we going to ask if she's going to accept the results if she loses? Are we going to start asking her if she's inciting violence and anger?”

 

TRUMP STIFFS HIS POLLSTER: Donald Trump's hiring of pollster Tony Fabrizio in May was viewed as a sign that the real estate mogul was finally bringing seasoned operatives into his insurgent operation (Washington Post). But the Republican presidential nominee appears to have taken issue with some of the services provided by the veteran GOP strategist, who has advised candidates from 1996 GOP nominee Bob Dole to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The Trump campaign's latest Federal Election Commission report shows that it is disputing nearly $767,000 that Fabrizio's firm says it is still owed for polling. Trump campaign officials declined to provide details about the reason the campaign has declined to pay the sum to Fabrizio Lee, the pollster's Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm. “This is an administrative issue that we're resolving internally,” said senior communications adviser Jason Miller. Fabrizio did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

KASICH VOTES FOR McCAIN AS WRITE IN: Ohio Gov. John Kasich voted Monday for 2008 Republican nominee John McCain instead of for 2016 Republican nominee Donald Trump (CNN). Kasich wrote in McCain's name at the top of the ticket, Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf said, on his absentee ballot.



Congress

 

DONNELLY OPPOSES IRS CHANGES TO ESTATE TAX: The IRS is proposing new estate tax rules that would cost farmers dearly (Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today).  The National Association of Conservation districts is the latest farm group to call for the IRS to drop its proposal. President Elect Brent Vandyke stated, "This would mean a major disruption for many farming operations and could impact their conservation practices both short term and long run." AFBF tax specialist Pat Wolf says several bills have been introduced in Congress that would block the IRS plan, "The leaders on these bills are hoping to pass them before the end of the year, and any farmer or rancher who's concerned about this proposed estate tax increase should contact their Senator and Representative and ask them to cosponsor these bills." Wolff says AFBF supports the legislation seeking to block the IRS proposal, House Bill H.R. 6100 and Senate Bill S.3436. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly told HAT that he will work to get these bills passed, "We are going to work hard to see these bills get passed and that farmers are not adversely impacted." Donnelly is also a member of the Senate Banking committee, a place he feels will be a good venue for discussion of this issue.

 

General Assembly

 

COULD PANEL TAKE POLITICS OUT OF REDISTRICTING? For 200 years, the party in control of the Indiana General Assembly has drawn the district lines for the congressional and seats in the Indiana House and Senate (de la Bastide, CNHI). Over the years, whichever party was not in power complained that the district lines were drawn to favor the party in power. A legislative study committee is recommending that a bipartisan independent commission be created to draw the district lines starting in 2021. Both gubernatorial party candidates and local members of the Indiana General Assembly support the creation of an independent commission. Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, the Senate minority leader and a member of the study committee, said he's pleased with the recommendation. Rep. Terri Austin, D-36th District, supports the concept but did raise some concerns. Rep. Melanie Wright, D-35th District, loves the idea of a bipartisan commission to determine district lines. Rep. Tony Cook, R-32nd District, said a bipartisan independent commission is needed. Rep. Bob Cherry, R-53rd District, said he voted for an independent commission in the past and will continue to support a legislative proposal in the future.



State

 

GOVERNOR: ELECTRICAL CO. TO BRING 30 NEW JOBS BY 2021 - Lewellyn Technology, an electrical safety and combustible dust consulting company, announced plans to expand its offices in Boone County, creating up to 30 new high-wage jobs by 2021, according to a news release from the governor's office (Howey Politics Indiana). The company will invest $1.5 million into its 5,000-square-foot headquarters at 6210 Technology Center Drive in Boone County, adding an additional 3,000 square feet of office space that will include a new training center for employees and clients. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Lewellyn Technology LLC up to $275,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Zionsville approved additional incentives at the request of the Boone County Economic Development Corporation.

 

GOVERNOR: PENCE ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS - Governor Mike Pence recently made appointments to various boards and commissions, a news release stated (Howey Politics Indiana):

 

Board of Chiropractic Examiners: Dr. Marian F. Klaes [Jackson County], appointed to serve a three-year term through Oct. 31, 2019;

 

Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled Board - CHOICE: James M. Leich [Marion County], appointed to serve a four-year term through Oct. 31, 2020;

 

Drug Utilization Review Board: Keith D. Huff [Hancock County], appointed to serve a three-year term through Oct. 31, 2019;

 

Indiana State Egg Board: Darrin M. Karcher [Tippecanoe County], appointed to serve a three-year term through Oct. 31, 2019

 

State Fair Board: Alan D. Washburn [Newton County], reappointed to serve a four-year term through Sept. 30, 2020;

 

State Fair Commission: Nick H. DeKryger [Jasper County], appointed to serve a four-year term through Sept. 30, 2020;

 

Healthy Hoosiers Foundation: Dr. Maria G. Del Rio Hoover [Vanderburgh County], appointed to serve a three-year term through Oct. 31, 2019;

 

Kids First Trust Fund Board of Directors: Candes M. Shelton [Marion County], reappointed to serve a two-year term through July 1, 2018;

 

Motor Vehicle Sales Advisory Board: David W. Mann [Marion County], appointed to complete an unexpired three-year term through April 15, 2017;

 

President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Project Committee: Elizabeth J. Yankowiak [Allen County], appointed to serve a two-year term through Oct. 31, 2018;

 

Board of Licensure for Professional Geologists: Ronald J. Hosek [Hamilton County], appointed to serve a four-year term through Oct. 31, 2020;

 

Rehabilitation Services Commission: Emily A. Munson [Marion County], appointed to serve a three-year term through Oct. 31, 2019;

 

Veterans Affairs Commission: William K. Coley [Johnson County], Jay A. Kendall [Miami County] and Richard A. Jewell [Franklin County], all appointed to serve a term beginning Nov. 1, 2016 and expiring on July 1, 2017:

 

State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners: Natalie C. Duncan [Marion County] and Dr. Jerry L. Rodenbarger [Porter County], both appointed to serve a four-year term through Oct. 31, 2020;

 

Indiana Commission for Women: Melissa C. Cotterill [Marion County], appointed to complete and unexpired four-year term through July 1, 2017;

 

State Workforce Innovation Council: Robert D. Moore [Spencer County] and Mary K. Jenner [Jefferson County], appointed to serve a two-year term through Oct. 31, 2018.

 

STATEHOUSE: APPEAL FILED IN $31M DCS JUDGEMENT - State officials are appealing the $31 million judgment awarded to an Indiana family "destroyed" by accusations that parents had caused their 14-year-old daughter's death (Kwiatkowski, IndyStar). Last year, a federal court jury in Hammond determined that three Department of Child Services employees, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor had violated the constitutional rights of Roman and Lynnette Finnegan and their children. The jury found those officials had sabotaged investigations into the girl's death and retaliated against the couple for complaining about how they were treated. On Friday, the Indiana attorney general's office asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review several decisions made in the case, including the jury's verdict and the federal judge's denial of motions for summary judgment and to reduce the amount awarded by the jury.

 

STATEHOUSE: AG SEEKS SUPREME COURT RULING IN BEVERAGE CASE - The state is fighting a court order that would require it to grant a wholesaler permit to Spirited Sales LLC, a company affiliated with Monarch Beverage that wants to sell liquor (Indianapolis Business Journal). Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he will ask the Indiana Supreme Court to put on hold a lower court ruling that said the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission was "arbitrary and capricious" in its decision to deny the company's wholesale liquor permit application in 2014. Zoeller said he'll also ask the Supreme Court to consider the larger issues in the case. The state argues the alcohol commission rightly denied the Spirited Sales permit because state law prevents Indiana alcohol wholesalers "from directly or indirectly having an interest in both a beer wholesaler's permit and a liquor wholesaler's permit." Indiana is the only state with that kind of restriction.

 

ECONOMY: CUMMINS CEO URGES COMPANIES TO STAND UP FOR TPP - Cummins Inc. CEO Tom Linebarger points to the company's Seymour plant where 800 employees produce high-speed diesel engines - 70 percent of which are exported globally - as a key reason he believes free trade is good for the Hoosier worker (Colombo, Indianapolis Business Journal). That's a message he said has been lost in this year's heated political rhetoric about trade. Talking Monday morning at Butler University to a group of about 50 local proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, which would formalize trade relations between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries, Linebarger said companies and their employees have to do a better job of advocating for trade deals that are critical for American companies' growth. Time is running out for this Congress to pass the TPP, and the Obama administration is hoping to make that happen in the lame-duck session between the presidential election and early January when the new Congress takes over. The dozen countries involved in the deal, including the United States, have signed the deal but Congress still needs to act.

 

DEVELOPMENT: MED TECH CO. JOBS ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY - A jobs announcement is set for Tuesday afternoon at a health care technology company in Indianapolis (McGowan, Inside Indiana Business). In April, St. Louis-based Ascension Health announced a partnership with TowerBrook Capital Partners that involved "significant capital commitments" into TriMedx on the city's northwest side.The deal involved a long-term contract with for TriMedx to provide clinical engineering and other asset management services on-site for Ascension, as well as support for potential acquisitions and growth efforts by TriMedx.The company was launched nearly 20 years ago as a division of St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, which is also owned by Ascension. It has grown to serve more than 1,800 health care providers in 28 states, including all facilities owned by Ascension. TriMedx touts itself as a global leader in managing technology in the health care industry. Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb is slated to be at Tuesday's 2 p.m. announcement.

 

DEVELOPMENT: RED BULL SETTING UP DISTRIBUTION IN INDY AREA - The company that distributes Red Bull products throughout the United States will establish operations in the Indianapolis area this year (Ober, Inside Indiana Business). Red Bull Distribution Co. says it will lease facilities in Marion and Hamilton counties and create nearly 40 jobs. The company says the move will support continuing demand for Red Bull energy drinks, which are now available in more than 169 countries. The company says it will begin hiring this fall, with plans to be at full employment by the end of 2017. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Red Bull Distribution Company up to $275,000 in conditional tax credits based on the job creation plans.

 

ECONOMY: SUBARU TO DEBUT HOOSIER-MADE IMPREZA TODAY - An event three years in the making will take place Tuesday afternoon in Lafayette (McGowan, Inside Indiana Business). The first 2017 Subaru Impreza produced at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is set to roll off the assembly line. The model was not previously made in the U.S. In 2013, the company first announced plans to produce the vehicle at SIA and invest more than $400 million to do so. In all, SIA has detailed investments totaling $1.3 billion over the last four years and added 1,400 associates in the last 12 months. The expansions have focused on meeting growing demand for Subarus. The company, which is a subsidiary of Japan-based Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., rolled its three-millionth Subaru off the line in July. The company has been a staple in Tippecanoe County for more than 25 years.

 

EDUCATION: UPTICK IN NUMBER OF NEW TEACHERS - After a couple years of Indiana schools fretting that there aren't enough teachers to fill every classroom, the state is now seeing an uptick in the number of people becoming teachers (Cavazos, Chalkbeat). In 2016, 4,552 college grads earned their initial practitioner licenses, the credential that first-time teachers, administrators and other educators need to work in an Indiana school. That's an 18 percent increase over 2015, when 3,843 educators earned the license, but still down 20 percent from 2010 when there were 5,685 licenses issued. Bills considered by the legislature would have made changes to teacher mentoring programs and pay, among other things, but the only measure to pass was a smaller-scale scholarship bill that, beginning this year, sets aside up to $7,500 per year for 200 high-achieving students across the state to go to college each year to become teachers.

 

STEEL: ARCELORMITTAL SEEKS TARIFFS OF UP TO 179% - Congressman Pete Visclosky and the Congressional Steel Caucus are pressing for another round of steel tariffs, this time on carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from 12 countries (Pete, NWI Times). ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corp. and SSAB Enterprises are asking for tariffs against imports from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey. Those countries sent nearly $700 million tons of cut-to-length plate to the United States last year. It's one of more than half a dozen trade cases U.S. steelmakers have filed against foreign competitors over the last two years. In this instance, ArcelorMittal USA and other domestic steelmakers are asking for tariffs of up to 179.2 percent to offset dumping, or selling products for less than they cost to make in order to gain long-term market share.

 

HEALTH: COUNTIES OFFERING CONDOMS ALONG WITH NEEDLES - When Sherry Lawson was hired five years ago as a public health nurse in Lawrence County, she said she was surprised to learn the health department didn't give away free condoms as part of its effort to prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus and sexually transmitted disease (Gerber, CNHI). But soon, some residents will have access to free condoms through the county's syringe-exchange program. The Indiana Recovery Alliance, a Bloomington-based nonprofit that operates Monroe County's needle-exchange program, will provide the same services in neighboring Lawrence County, including distributing free condoms. It's the same story in the seven other Indiana counties that have so far been approved to operate syringe-exchange programs.

 

EDUCATION: IU STUDY FINDS AMERICANS OPPOSE MILEAGE FEES - An Indiana University study says legislators looking to address transportation funding challenges by charging drivers a fee for the number of miles they drive could face strong opposition (Associated Press). The Herald-Times reports federal and state governments currently use money generated by a tax on fuel to build and repair roads. But that source of revenue has become insufficient, partly because of more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. The university's School of Public and Environmental Affairs took a look at the popularity of mileage user fees as half the states consider them. The study of more than 2,000 Americans found that not only do opponents of mileage user fees outnumber supporters by a four-to-one ratio, but they also are more likely to take action to prevent the fees from being implemented.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: EARNEST SAYS COMEY NOT TRYING TO TIP ELECTION - The White House on Monday said James Comey is not trying to tip the scales in the presidential election, amid criticism from Democrats over the FBI director's decision to inform Congress about a new probe into emails possibly related to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server (The Hill). “The president doesn’t believe Director Comey is intentionally trying to influence the outcome of an election,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “The president doesn’t believe he’s secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party.” Earnest called Comey “a man of integrity” and a “man of good character” but acknowledged that “he’s in a tough spot” when it comes to the Clinton email probe. “I’ll neither defend nor criticize what Director Comey has decided to communicate to the public about this investigation,” he added.

 

WHITE HOUSE: COMEY ADVISED AGAINST RUSSIAN HACK DENUNCIATION - FBI Director James B. Comey advised against the Obama administration publicly accusing Russia of hacking political organizations on the grounds that it would make the administration appear unduly partisan too close to the Nov. 8 election, according to officials familiar with the deliberations (Washington Post). But he supported the administration’s formal denunciation last month as long as it did not have the FBI’s name on it, they said. Comey was sensitive not only to his agency appearing to influence the election but also to seeming biased while it was conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. At the same time, the bureau works with Russian services on a variety of terrorism and criminal matters.

 

STATE: REMOVE YOUR GLASSES FOR PASSPORT PHOTO - Before you snap that passport photo, remove your glasses (Washington Post). Under new rules starting Nov. 1, the State Department will not accept passport photos if you are wearing glasses in them, even if you normally wear glasses. Last year, more than 200,000 passport customers submitted poor quality photos that the agency could not accept. “The No. 1 problem was glasses,’’ the State Department said in a news release. “We had to put their passports on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo.’’ The agency expects fewer passport application delays with the new rule.



Local

 

CITIES: CROWN POINT SEWER WORK COMPLETED - A big storm would send sanitary sewer water mixed with storm water shooting up into their homes from the toilets (Conley, Post-Tribune). Storm water that was not directed away by storm sewer lines managed to infiltrate the sanitary sewer lines causing overloads. But the city embarked on a project to prevent those problems in the future. Thorough federal and local matching funds totaling $992,000, the city is lining almost 1,600 linear feet of existing sanitary sewer lines and inspecting and relining and repairing manholes as needed. The work was completed under the auspices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lt. Col. Jason Borg, the new deputy commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District, said the project had started before he got to Chicago but he was please to be able to see it to completion. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky told Crown Point Mayor Dave Uran and Borg that the mayor has him at a bit of a disadvantage. He has to listen to what happens in Crown Point since his father lives in the city.

 

CITIES: ACLU SUIT CHALLENGES BEDFORD SIGN ORDINANCE - The ACLU of Indiana is suing the city of Bedford on behalf of a resident who says he was forced to take down yard signs because they violated a local ordinance (Brosher, Indiana Public Media). The ACLU says the ordinance is unconstitutional. Samuel Shaw says he started displaying the hand-painted signs in his yard 20 years ago. Many of them convey his political opinions such as, "Over the hump with Trump" and "I seek the truth." At one point in September, Shaw had a least a dozen signs in his yard. But the city of Bedford recently sent Shaw a letter demanding the signs come down because they violate a local ordinance. Shaw faced a fine of $300 per day if he didn't comply. The city adopted the ordinance last month, which allows residents one temporary yard sign and one small window sign. "There are also other regulations that regulate what kind of signs, and how many you can put up, and how long they can remain up based on the type of sign," says ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney Jan Mensz. "There was a recent Supreme Court case last year that stated that's unconstitutional because it regulated based on content of the sign."

 

CITIES: COP SUES LAKE STATION, FORMER MAYOR - Former Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist's legal troubles didn't end when he recently started serving a four-year sentence on public corruption charges in a federal prison (Masters, Post-Tribune). Soderquist is named in a lawsuit brought by Lake Station police Officer William Taylor, who claims he was fired from his job for political reasons in violation of his constitutional rights, according to court documents. Taylor is also suing the city of Lake Station, former Lake Station Board of Works members Roger Szotek and Joe Stevens, and former Lake Station Police Chief Kevin Garber, documents said. Taylor's lawsuit claims he was targeted for political retribution by appearing in a photo posted on Facebook in April 2014 showing people celebrating the announcement of Soderquist's federal indictment, which became known around Lake Station as the "indictment part," court filings stated.

 

CITIES: DOUBLE TRACK ON MICHIGAN CITY AGENDA - The city's Common Council will meet Tuesday night to take up the issue of moving and improving the South Shore Line's railroad tracks within the city (Scheibel, NWI Times). It's part of a larger project, called Double Track NWI, which calls for adding a second set of tracks to the South Shore Line from Gary to Michigan City. The project includes removing the tracks embedded in the middle of 10th and 11th streets on Michigan City's north side and replacing them with a more traditional line off the pavement, allowing trains to increase speeds to 45 mph through the city. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 100 E. Michigan Blvd. Tim Smith, chairman of Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer's executive committee with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, said the council will vote on a resolution to approve an operating agreement between NICTD and Michigan City.

 

CITIES: MAYOR SURPRISED AS MUNCIE POLICE CHIEF RESIGNS - The city's police chief, who has been at odds with Muncie's mayor, has resigned (Roysdon & Walker, Muncie Star Press). In a two-sentence resignation letter Muncie Police Chief Steve Stewart submitted to Mayor Dennis Tyler Monday morning, Stewart said he was resigning because of "actions" by Tyler and others. In a Monday afternoon interview, Stewart declined to elaborate on what he meant by citing "actions." "Not right now," Stewart told The Star Press. Stewart had earlier Monday confirmed his resignation and said he felt "emotional" about taking that step. "You know how much I loved that place." Stewart has been at odds with Tyler for several weeks over an investigation that Tyler wanted Stewart to conduct. Stewart declined to order the investigation because it covered some of the same grounds as an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in city government, according to several sources in city hall.

 

CITIES: MAYOR HENRY SEEKS $10M FOR FORT WAYNE RIVERFRONT - Mayor Tom Henry's administration is seeking $10 million from Fort Wayne's Legacy Fund - or about a quarter of the fund - to build the first phase of the downtown riverfront development project (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Henry announced Monday that the request will go to the Legacy Joint Funding Committee on Nov. 9. If approved, the outlay would be considered by and voted on by the City Council in December. The money would finance the construction of public spaces along the St. Marys River between Harrison Street and the Wells Street Bridge. Plans call for, among other things, a park pavilion, plazas, riverfront terraces, a water feature, a boardwalk and a children's playground. The Legacy Fund contribution, if approved, would cover half the expected $20 million price tag for phase 1 construction, with other funds coming from private or nonprofit investors.

 

CITIES: TERRE HAUTE COUNCIL TO REVIEW SANITARY FEES - The 2017 budget may be out of the way, but now the Terre Haute City Council still has some unfinished business when it comes to raising new revenue for the sanitary district (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The city administration has now proposed a "hybrid" ordinance that includes both a reduced sewer rate increase and a modified stormwater fee proposal, with reductions and credits that are different from a stormwater fee unanimously defeated by the council in September. Under the "hybrid" ordinance, the sewer rate increase would be a two-phase, 22-percent increase, with 11 percent taking effect Dec. 1 this year and another 11 percent July 1 next year, Ennis said. The stormwater fee would be a flat rate for home owners, $3.50 per month or $42 per year. Under the earlier proposal, residential ranged from $48 to $216 per year. Agricultural would remain at 50 cents per acre per month, or $6 per acre per year.

 

COUNTIES: CLARK COURTS MOST OVERWORKED IN STATE - In Clark County, there simply aren't enough judges and magistrates to fill the needs for cases, according to a recent assessment conducted by the Indiana Judicial Conference's Judicial Administration Committee, or JAC, and the National Center for State Courts (DePompei, News & Tribune). That means cases can take longer, the accused may sit in jail or be released in the meantime, and the families of victims wait for answers. JAC Chair Rick Maughmer, a trial judge in Cass County, said the committee aims to shed light on the needs of trial courts throughout the state in an effort to make the system most efficient for the people it serves. Weighted caseload measure studies that look at county court's caseloads and determine how many judicial officers are needed have been conducted since the mid-90s, Maughmer said. But the most recent study - the Caseload Assessment Plan To Utilize Resources Efficiently, or CAPTURE - is a more accurate, expansive look at the state's lower courts.

 

COUNTIES: PUBLIC GLIMPSE OF WIND PROJECT IN CONNERSVILLE - Whether it was supporters, opponents or those just curious about it, an open house this week drew many out to Roberts Park in Connersville to learn about the proposed West Fork Wind Energy Center project and the company behind it (Sprague, Connersville News-Examiner). NextEra Energy Resources hosted an open host Thursday evening at the John H. Miller Community Center for the public to learn about the West Fork Wind Energy Center, formerly known as the Whitewater Wind Farm project, which calls for 72 turbines to be constructed across Henry, Fayette and Rush counties that will generate almost 150 megawatts of electricity.  The open house drew wind opponents from several counties, including Don Miller, a resident of Henry County. Henry County has seen a slew of wind energy companies approach it regarding projects - NextEra, Apex Clean Energy and Calpine - and also has a committee examining the subject of wind turbines and setback distance.