BMV CAN PROVIDE VOTER ID TODAY AFTER SYSTEM CRASH: Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles was unable Monday to complete any transactions, which means no ID could be issued for people who might need one to vote. The BMV blamed the problem on one of their vendors. The problem affected all branches and kiosks. It also affected myBMV (Davis, WIBC). Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches are ready to do business again today after an error crashed the system Monday (Smith, Indiana Public Media). That means Hoosiers who need state identification cards to vote will be able to get them. The agency announced late afternoon Monday a problem with a private vendor left it unable to process any transactions. In a statement, BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy apologizes for the issue and promises to continue working to see it doesn’t happen in the future. Most BMV branches around the state are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, the same time as poll hours. Indiana law requires Hoosiers show ID to vote. “We understand the BMV plays a critical role leading up to Election Day helping Hoosiers get necessary identification to vote. We will work with our vendor until this issue is resolved,” said BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy. “We will work diligently with IDEMIA to ensure this issue does not occur in the future.” Branches will be open Election Day.

TRUMP APPROVAL 52% IN HOOSIER SURVEY: Most adults in Indiana approve of President Donald Trump, according to the Old National Bank/Ball State University 2019 Hoosier Survey (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Ball State said Monday that 52% of Hoosiers approve of the job Trump is doing and 40% disapprove. The results are from a telephone survey of 600 adults taken from Oct. 8 through 28; the margin of error is 5.2 percentage points. "These survey results show that, despite the recent impeachment inquiry, the President’s approval among Hoosiers continues to hold steady," Chad Kinsella, a political science professor and survey analyst at Ball State's Bowen Center for Public Affairs, said in a news release. "The survey indicates that Trump’s approval is essentially unchanged from last year’s Hoosier Survey." The Bowen Center conducts the yearly survey. Kinsella said Trump's approval is 86% among Republicans, 46% among independents and 11% among Democrats.

PENSKE BUYS INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, HULMAN: The chairman of Indianapolis-based Hulman & Co. says the decision to sell the company is "bittersweet, but very exciting." The company's board of directors announced Monday plans to sell Hulman & Co. and its subsidiaries, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series, and IMS Productions, to Penske Entertainment Corp. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). At a news conference at IMS, Tony George said the proposed new owner is "ideally suited" to take over. "(Penske is) a corporation that is family-involved much like ours but with a track record that is really without compare," said George. Hulman & Co. acquired the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945. Penske will become the fourth owner of the famed race track and founder Roger Penske says he sees a great opportunity to grow IMS even further. "We look around this 1,000 acres and we say, 'Can this be not only the racing capital of the world, but an entertainment capital of the world in Indiana and be able to support the state, the governor, the region, the city, the town of Speedway and continue to grow it?'" said Penske. "So we're going to invest capital. We know the economic benefit today that this race brings to the region is amazing and we want to grow that. It's important to us."

MEER ATTORNEY CITES 'POLITICAL HATCHET JOB': An attorney hired by Ron Meer said felony charges filed against the Michigan City mayor last week are "politically driven" and has filed a motion for a special prosecutor in the case (Mayes, Michigan City News-Dispatch). Meer is also seeking a special prosecutor. Scott King, former mayor of Gary and partner in the King, Brown & Murdaugh law firm in Merrillville, said in a statement, "My preliminary review of the charges demonstrates that they are poorly drafted and, I believe, subject to a Motion to Dismiss ... I firmly believe that none of the charges can be sustained in court." King said he was "flabbergasted by what appears to be nothing more (or less) than a political hatchet job by a Prosecuting Attorney that was not politically supported last year by my client and does not support my client now. I have news for Mr. Lake: Prosecutors have a higher obligation to the law and ethics of the legal profession than they do to elections and politics. "That is not, sadly, what has happened here and appears to be the worst breach of ethics and professionalism that I have seen in the 43 years I have been an attorney. In an effort to stop any further improprieties by Mr. Lake and his office, I am filing the accompanying Motion for the Appointment of a Special Prosecutor that I hope will be heard and granted expeditiously by whatever court assumes jurisdiction of this case.”

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS REFUSE TO TESTIFY: Four senior White House officials refused to testify Monday to House impeachment investigators, a sign that Democrats have exhausted their best leads for evidence against President Donald Trump (Politico). Those witnesses, including the White House’s top national security lawyer John Eisenberg, blew off subpoenas to testify, underscoring the likelihood that Democrats are already sitting on the evidence they’ll have for impeachment as they move toward public hearings. And many of them say it’s more than enough. All that remains before those hearings begin is a cluster of high-profile witnesses closely connected to Trump who seem likelier to battle Congress to a near-certain stalemate than submit to questioning that might boost Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. National Security Council lawyer Michael Ellis, national security aide Robert Blair, and budget official Brian McCormack also refused to appear for their scheduled depositions Monday, a major victory for a White House that has largely failed to prevent senior officials from across the administration from showing up.

NYT/SIENA POLL SHOWS TOSSUP BATTLEGROUND STATES: Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election (New York Times). Across the six closest states that went Republican in 2016, he trails Joe Biden by an average of two points among registered voters but stays within the margin of error. Mr. Trump leads Elizabeth Warren by two points among registered voters, the same margin as his win over Hillary Clinton in these states three years ago. The poll showed Bernie Sanders deadlocked with the president among registered voters, but trailing among likely voters. Nearly two-thirds of the Trump voters who said they voted for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 say that they'll back the president against all three named opponents.

POLL SHOWS MOST NOT BETTER OFF: A majority of respondents in a new poll said they are not in better shape financially since President Trump assumed office. The Financial Times-Peterson poll released Monday found that almost two-thirds of Americans said their finances haven’t gotten better since Trump has taken office (The Hill). Thirty-one percent of respondents in the new poll said their finances have gotten worse since Trump won the White House, while 33 percent said their finances haven’t gotten better or worse in the same time frame. Just over one-third, 35 percent, of respondents did say they have seen a positive change in their finances since Trump took office. Of those who said their financial situation has worsened since Trump took office, 36 percent said their wages are to blame, while 19 percent blamed their personal or family debts. The poll also showed an even split amongst likely voters over whether Trump’s policies help or hurt the U.S. economy. Forty-five percent of those polled said they believe Trump's policies have improved the economy, while another 45 percent said they’ve worsened the economy.

STEEL TARIFFS HURT INDUSTRY: President Donald Trump’s move last year to tax imported steel triggered jeers but also cheers. Its goal — to raise steel prices — threatened to hurt the legions of U.S. manufacturers that depend on steel (AP). But at least it would benefit U.S. steel companies and the Americans who work for them. That was the idea, anyway. Yet Trump’s 25% tariffs, it turns out, have done little for the people they were supposed to help. After enjoying a brief tariff-induced sugar high last year, American steelmakers are reeling. Steel prices and company earnings have sunk. Investors have dumped their stocks. The industry has added just 1,800 jobs since February 2018, the month before the tariffs took effect. That’s a mere rounding error in a job market of 152 million and over a period when U.S. companies overall added nearly 4 million workers. Steelmakers employ 10,000 fewer people than they did five years ago. “Even with these very high tariffs, the industry has not been able to take advantage,” said Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at Mercatus Center, an economic think tank at George Mason University.

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE BECOMES A NFP: The Salt Lake Tribune is now a nonprofit, an unprecedented transformation for a legacy U.S. daily that is intended to bolster its financial prospects during a troubling time for journalism nationwide. The IRS approved the shift in a letter dated Oct. 29, deeming The Tribune a 501(c)(3) public charity. That means supporters can start making tax deductible donations now (Salt Lake Tribune). The move from a for-profit model was spurred by Tribune owner Paul Huntsman, who, in agreeing to turn Utah’s largest paper into a nonprofit, is giving up his sole ownership. “The current business model for local newspapers is broken and beyond repair,” said Huntsman, who also serves as The Tribune’s publisher. “We needed to find a way to sustain this vital community institution well beyond my ownership, and nonprofit status will help us do that. This is truly excellent news for all Utah residents and for local news organizations across the country.” The Tribune, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, will seek donations large and small, coupling them with revenue from advertising and subscriptions and a separate foundation. The Utah Journalism Foundation is creating an endowment to fund independent journalism in Utah, with The Tribune being a big beneficiary.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Lev Parnas is a very interesting character, well before he turned up at a 2018 Republican event in Warren County, Ind., with Rudy Giuliani, who is President Trump's personal lawyer. Parnas posted photos of the Warren County event on his Instagram account. He's involved with Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash who is fighting extradition to the U.S. to face bribery charges. Parnas and Igor Fruman are now facing felony U.S. campaign finance charges, arrested at Dulles with one-way tickets out of the U.S. Now Parnas is signaling he will cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. All very curious connections. - Brian A. Howey


HOGSETT, MERRITT TALK HOMICIDES: With record-breaking homicides over the past few years, public safety is one of the top issues on voters' minds when they head to the polls next week (WRTV). Indianapolis has experienced 131 criminal homicides in 2019, RTV6 data shows. But this number is still lower than 147, which was 2018’s homicide number on Oct. 28. If the pace holds, Indianapolis will see a drop in year-to-year homicides. The likely homicide decrease is something the current officeholder, Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett, will tout. "I think what we're seeing now is the ship has finally turned," Mayor Joe Hogsett, D-Indianapolis, said. "The investments that we've been making are starting to pay dividends, and I hope we see a continued reduction in crime." Republican Sen. Jim Merritt has attacked Hogsett on crime since he first announced his run for mayor in January. "Who knows what's going to happen?" Merritt said. "The bottom line is we need new techniques to accept the challenge of violent crime."

ZODY CRITICAL OF BMV HOURS:  Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement after the Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced the agency cannot process customer transactions hours before polls open on Election Day (Howey Politics Indiana). “How will Governor Holcomb ensure Hoosiers needing ID ahead of Tuesday’s election will be able to exercise their Constitutionally-protected right? Voters shouldn’t be denied their franchise because state government can’t get its act together. Governor Holcomb owes Hoosiers an explanation – and one quickly.”

INDY VOTING EXPECTED TO BE QUICKER: If you are heading to the polls in Marion County, you will see new technology that is meant to speed up the voting process (CBS4). You can also cast your ballot at any of the nearly 300 locations across the county. These new measures are designed to make the voting process faster and easier. “So a voter can vote at any location whether it’s the location that they are used to, a location that’s close to work, close to their children’s school,” said Marion County Clerk Deputy Director Russell Hollis. He said allowing people to vote in any location in the county took a while for both political parties to approve.

4 LGBT CANDIDATES FOR INDY COUNCIL: Keith Potts has a story to tell. As an openly gay candidate running for City-County Council, he knows a little bit firsthand about "Indy Welcomes All," as the slogan on countless storefront windows goes. Earlier this year, Potts said he was called an anti-gay slur and followed while getting off a bus (McKinney, WRTV). "I'm lucky that I walked away from that with only internal pain," he said. "I was not actually hurt. It just put a speed bump in my evening that I didn't expect." That "speed bump," Potts says, does not point to an epidemic in Indianapolis, but instead shows how important diversity of backgrounds is with local government and decision making. And as one of four members of the LGBTQ community running for a council seat, he hopes to be a part of that future decision making. Potts, Ali Brown, Ethan Evans and Zach Adamson, all Democrats, are all running for different seats across the city. They're all part of a potentially historic class. The 2019 City-County Council election is believed to have the most openly LGBTQ candidates in Indianapolis history.

HOGSETT ELECTION DAY SCHEDULE - The Hogsett for Indianapolis campaign announced Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Election Day schedule. Mayor Hogsett will vote on Election Day on Tuesday, November 5th, at 6:00am and then will join Marion County Democratic Party leaders to host an election night watch party on Tuesday, November 5th, at 6:00pm (Howey Politics Indiana). When polls open, Mayor Hogsett will be joined by First Lady Steph as they cast their ballots at the First Baptist Church, 8600 N College Ave in Indianapolis. After polls close, Mayor Hogsett will host an election night watch party at the Athenaeum in the Basil Theater, 401 E Michigan in Indianapolis. Mayor Hogsett will be joined by Marion County Democratic Party leaders, City-County Council candidates, and local volunteers, as results are announced.

Presidential 2020

TRUMP'S 80 MINUTE RAMBLE IN LEXINGTON: President Donald Trump came here Monday night to rally for Kentucky's vulnerable Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, but the impeachment inquiry back in Washington was foremost on his mind (Politico). In a rambling speech lasting an hour and 20 minutes, the president railed against his political rivals, ramping up the invective. Democrats are "trying to tear our country apart," he told a raucous crowd here, "trying to nullify the ballots" of the 63 million Americans who voted for him in the 2016 election. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Trump's onetime rival for the Republican nomination who has become a close ally, angrily defended the president from the stage. Addressing the genesis of the impeachment investigation, which centers on a pressure campaign involving Ukraine, Paul said that 'we also now know the identity of the whistleblower,' and he urged the media to out the individual and Congress to issue a subpoena, despite the legal protections guaranteed to government whistleblowers. 'I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name,' Paul said.

3 STATES TO DELIVER REFERENDUM ON TRUMP: In Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi on Tuesday, impassioned voters are set to deliver a final multistate report card on Mr. Trump before the 2020 presidential clash, at a time when an impeachment inquiry is galloping ahead in Washington and further splitting voters in a country that has rarely been so polarized (New York Times). Mr. Trump was headed to Kentucky on Monday to try to boost a Republican in a tight governor’s race, as he did in Mississippi on Friday, but he has pointedly skipped Virginia, where Republicans in contested districts are distancing themselves from him and the party. With all 140 seats in the Virginia legislature on the ballot, the normally low-interest races are expected to send a national message from a state that has been a seismograph of voting quakes in the Trump era. A strong blue wave in statehouse races in 2017 and a Democratic gain of three congressional seats in the 2018 midterms reflected the national grass-roots mobilization of women, as well as the suburban revolt against the president.

BIG MONEY SPENT IN DIGITAL: The 2020 presidential race is being fought online at a level we've never seen before, eclipsing the airwaves' traditional dominance, Axios' Sara Fischer reports. Advertising Analytics says ad spending on the race so far breaks down as digital, 57.5% ... broadcast TV, 34% ... cable TV, 8% ... radio, 0.4% ... satellite, 0.1%. TV is still one of the candidates' most important vehicles, especially during the general election. But its dominance is quickly being eaten by digital, including TV alternatives like ads on Hulu. The split so far between Facebook and Google leans heavily to Facebook — $56 million vs. $31 million. Tom Steyer has spent $46 million, President Trump $32.5 million, Elizabeth Warren $14 million, Pete Buttigieg at $10.1 million, and Joe Biden at $9 million.

NEW BUTTIGIEG TV AD IN IOWA: Coming off a powerful performance at the Liberty and Justice Dinner and a three-day bus tour in Iowa, Pete for America announced its sixth television ad that will air statewide in Iowa. The new 60-second spot, “Sun Comes Up,” will run statewide on broadcast and cable (Howey Politics Indiana). The ad highlights Pete’s powerful speech laying out his vision for a new approach to politics at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration in Des Moines last Friday. Read the ad’s full transcript below: Picture that first day the sun comes up on this country and Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States. The sun’s going to come up over a country even more divided and torn up over politics than we are today. With crises that still require urgent action, I am running to be the president who will pick up the pieces of our divided nation and lead us toward real action. I am ready to gather up an American majority that is hungry for change, that is done with division. We will fight when we must fight but I will never allow us to get so wrapped up in the fighting that we start to think fighting is the point. The point is what lies on the other side of the fight. The hope of an American experience defined not by exclusion but by belonging. That is what we are here to deliver."

BUTTIGIEG BECOMES AN IOWA FRONTRUNNER: Pete Buttigieg is an Iowa front-runner. Will that help him anywhere slse? (New York Times). Mr. Buttigieg's critics say he is offering voters feel-good platitudes without a proven track record of electoral success. But his supporters say his vision, and his identity as an openly gay candidate, make him an inherently transformative figure. He has successfully built a sustainable ground game throughout the state, generating buzz among voters and turning out crowds of several hundred people in towns of just a few thousand. For growing numbers of likely caucusgoers, he is emerging as the moderate front-runner in the race, ahead of even former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. And he is clearly worrying some of his top rivals in the state, like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has recently started taking implicit shots at Mr. Buttigieg by needling candidates who have teams of consultants and centrist ideas.

BUTTIGIEG DRAWING BIG IOWA CROWDS: Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign scheduled a rally here on a recent Saturday night, setting up a choice for local Democrats: see the mayor of South Bend, Ind., or watch a nationally televised Iowa Hawkeyes football game (Washington Post). More than 700 people turned out — and stood for hours in occasional drizzle and frigid temperatures to hear Buttigieg speak from a small stage on Roosevelt High School’s front lawn. “A big football game and lousy weather, and he gets 700 people? Things like that just don’t happen,” said Matt Paul, a local Democratic strategist who ran Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Iowa campaign. “Something is clearly ¬≠going on.” “The way we think this shapes up is, if you want the most ideological, far-out candidate possible, you’ve got your answer. You want the most Washington candidate possible, you’ve got your answer,” Buttigieg said Saturday from his campaign bus in Iowa. “Everybody else, I think, can come our way. I think that’s almost everybody.”

OBAMA ALUMS TO RALLY FOR BIDEN: More than 30 high-ranking Obama administration officials are hosting a Wednesday soiree for Joe Biden intended to be equal parts fundraiser and public show of support for the former vice president’s 2020 campaign (Politico). The event is taking place at the home of ex-National Economic Council director Jeff Zients and his wife, Mary, as Biden hustles to raise money before primary voting begins. Biden's fundraising flagged during the most recent quarter, but Zients and others are also trying to send a message beyond the money chase, according to people familiar with the event planning. They want to show that while some Obama allies may have drifted toward candidates newer to the national political scene, including Pete Buttigieg, Biden still has support from many of his former administration colleagues. High-profile co-hosts of the fundraiser also include Jay Carney, former White House press secretary; Bill Daley, former White House chief of staff; Anthony Foxx, former secretary of transportation; and Michael Froman, former U.S. trade representative, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO. Two former White House counsels — Bob Bauer and Kathryn Ruemmler — are also helping host the event. Anita Dunn, former White House communications director who has been working as an advisor to the Biden campaign, is also a host.

BIG LEADS FOR DEMS IN ABC/WP NATIONAL POLL: One year out from the 2020 election, President Trump trails some potential Democratic rivals in head-to-head matchups, with his national support level currently fixed at about 40 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The new poll highlights the degree to which most of the country already has made a judgment about the president’s performance and their voting preferences next year. Among the 39 percent of registered voters who approve of Trump’s job performance, Trump is winning at least 95 percent support against each of five possible Democratic opponents. But among the 58 percent of voters who disapprove of Trump, he receives no more than 7 percent support. Former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) run strongest against the president nationally, with Biden leading by 17 points (56 percent to 39 percent), Warren by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and Sanders by 14 points (55 percent to 41 percent). South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the other two Democrats tested against Trump, also lead the president among registered voters, with Buttigieg up by 52 percent to 41 percent, and Harris ahead by 51 percent to 42 percent.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN TO LAUNCH 'BLACK VOICES': Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. announced it will launch 'Blacks Voices for Trump,' a coalition dedicated to recruiting and activating Black Americans in support of President Trump on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3:00 PM (EST) in Atlanta, Georgia (Howey Politics Indiana). "Black Americans have never had a better champion than President Trump,” said Katrina Pierson, Senior Advisor at Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

HILLARY BEATING TRUMP IN FOX POLL: A Fox News poll released Sunday did not have great news for President Trump. His approval rating was 42 percent, with 57 percent of registered voters disapproving of his job performance and 46 percent strongly disapproving. A year before the 2020 election, he is behind all of the top-tier Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden (51 percent to 39 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (46 percent to 41 percent), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (49 percent to 41 percent) (The Week). Even worse, Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, who isn't even running, 43 percent to 41 percent.


2 IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY TRANSCRIPTS RELEASED: The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine testified to impeachment investigators last month that she was shocked when she learned that President Trump had described her as “bad news” in a July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart, according to a transcript of her deposition in which she laid out the circumstances of her firing (Wall Street Journal). Marie Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump ordered removed from her ambassador post this spring, told investigators: “I was very surprised that President Trump would—first of all, that I would feature repeatedly in a presidential phone call, but secondly, that the President would speak about me or any ambassador in that way to a foreign counterpart.”

GIULIANI BUD PARNAS TO COOPERATE: Lev Parnas, an indicted Ukrainian-American businessman who has ties to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is now prepared to comply with requests for records and testimony from congressional impeachment investigators, his lawyer told Reuters on Monday (Reuters). Parnas, who helped Giuliani look for dirt on Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry that is examining whether Trump abused his office for personal political gain. His apparent decision to work with the congressional committees represents a change of heart. Parnas rebuffed a request from three House of Representatives committees last month to provide documents and testimony. “We will honor and not avoid the committee’s requests to the extent they are legally proper, while scrupulously protecting Mr. Parnas’ privileges including that of the Fifth Amendment,” said the lawyer, Joseph Bondy, referring to his client’s constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.

CONGRESS FACES SHUTDOWN ON NOV. 21: With less than three weeks before the federal government runs out of money, lawmakers and Trump administration officials are accelerating efforts to solve politically difficult spending questions, including border-wall funding (Wall Street Journal). Under a short-term funding extension passed in September, the government is funded through Nov. 21. But Congress has yet to pass a single full-year spending bill through both the Democratic-controlled House and the GOP-led Senate, making another stopgap measure necessary to avoid a shutdown this month. Even with the House impeachment process in full swing, lawmakers and aides say they remain optimistic they can keep the government funded. Speaking to reporters over the weekend, President Trump declined to rule out the possibility of a shutdown. “I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is,” he said.

PELOSI, McCONNELL AGREE TO PASS SPENDING BILLS BY DEC. 31: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) last Monday and agreed to try to pass by Dec. 31 each of the 12 spending measures that would fund the government for the full year, according to two people familiar with the conversation (Wall Street Journal). House and Senate Appropriations Committee staffers met with White House budget and legislative staffers last week, two different people familiar with the meeting said. How long the next funding extension would last remains an open question, however.

REP. PENCE VISITS COLUMBUS STUDENTS, CITES ‘WITCH HUNT’: Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, popped into a few eighth-grade Central Middle School social studies classes to answer questions about his new role as a first-term congressman (Columbus Republic). One middle school student asked Pence about the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. “I’m not for it,” Pence told the students, without any further explanation. After meeting with the students, Pence said he believes the impeachment inquiry is a “witch hunt.” “All we’re doing is trying to find a reason to accuse him of everything they’re trying to accuse him of, and, you know, the Mueller Report said there was nothing there. Now, we’re doing this,” Pence said. “So far, what we’ve seen, I haven’t seen anybody say, ‘Yes, there was a quid pro quo.’ I do not believe there was a quid pro quo. All they want to do is take the president down so they can win the House, win the presidency.”

General Assembly

MELTON COMMENTS ON SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY: On Friday, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released the recommendations made by the School Accountability Panel on yet another new school accountability framework. The recommended framework consists of three indicators with differing weights (Howey Politics Indiana). “My record shows that I stand with our Hoosier teachers and public schools, and I will continue to do so going forward. This new accountability system is not in the best interests of our teachers and schools and is recommended by a panel whose membership does not even include a single person from IDOE. This accountability system ignores the work that teachers do in the classrooms and the ways they help individual students improve in their education.”

ATF CHIEF COMING TO ORGANIZATION DAY: American Federation of Teachers President GlenEva Dunham will join key Indiana state legislators on Tuesday, November 19th, in a press conference on Legislative Organization Day to establish the union’s legislative priorities on behalf of educators, students and parents for the upcoming January session and galvanize supporters of public education around a shared agenda (Howey Politics Indiana).

HEALTH COMMITTEE TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS - Indiana lawmakers on an interim study committee on public health made a series of recommendations as they wrapped up their work this week. The issues could come up next legislative session (Sheridan, Indiana Public Media). The committee tackled topics that included pharmacy benefit managers and adoption subsidies. But committee chair, Rep. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), says it was testimony about Indiana’s high health care prices that really hit home. "The one statement that sticks in my mind is ABI," says Charbonneau. "Anywhere but Indiana." That was what one industry leader said about why they wouldn’t be bringing business to Indiana. Recommendations to address high costs include an end to surprise billing and creating a claims database. Another recommendation from lawmakers is to increase the age to buy cigarettes and vaping products to 21. This issue has failed in the past, in part because of concern about the lost revenue and Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) says that’s wrong.

SCHNEIDER HIRED BY AMERICAN WATER: Indiana American Water announced it has hired Justin Schneider to serve as the company’s director of consumer affairs (Howey Politics Indiana). Schneider brings more than 14 years of experience to his new position. Prior to joining Indiana American Water, he served as director of state government relations for Indiana Farm Bureau.


GOVERNOR: WORK REQUIREMENT REMOVED FROM HIP - Healthy Indiana Plan participants no longer are in imminent danger of losing their Medicaid health coverage if they fail to comply with the employment mandate devised by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb (Carden, NWI Times). The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration recently announced it's suspending the "Gateway to Work" reporting requirement for HIP members, while lawsuits challenging Indiana's program, and similar work mandates in other states, are pending in federal courts. As a result, HIP members who do not meet the 2019 work requirement, or are unable or unwilling to report their activities to the state, will not have their health coverage taken from them in January for noncompliance. "We remain committed to operating the Gateway to Work program and to continuing to build on the early successes of the program, through which HIP members are reporting successful engagements in their workplaces, schools and communities," said Allison Taylor, Indiana Medicaid director.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH ANNOUNCES 'BEST OF' WINNERS - The results are in! Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) announced today the winners for the 2019 Best of Indiana people's choice campaign (Howey Politics Indiana). The winners are: Best Brewery: Bad Dad Brewing Co. – Fairmount, Grant County; Best Hiking Trail: The Ladders Trail (Trail 3) at Turkey Run State Park – Parke County; Best Main Street: Franklin – Johnson County. “It was another record setting year. We had 45,768 votes in this year’s categories,” said Crouch. "All the nominations were fantastic and Hoosiers should get out to visit our wonderful hiking trails, breweries and main streets."

GOVERNOR: DRUG ABUSE COMMISSION TO MEET THURSDAY - Indiana’s Commission to Combat Drug Abuse will meet Thursday afternoon at the Indiana State Library. At the meeting, Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement Jim McClelland and other commission members will discuss continued efforts related to the drug crisis, 10 a.m. Thursday, Indiana State Library, History Reference Room 211.

STATEHOUSE: HILL FILES DOWN SYNDROME BRIEF - Attorney General Curtis Hill has filed an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of an Ohio law prohibiting medical providers from performing an abortion with “knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part, because” the unborn child has Down syndrome (Howey Politics Indiana). A panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction against the Ohio statute, stating that any limitation on pre-viability abortions is unconstitutional and that Ohio’s interest in preventing discriminatory abortions “does not become compelling until viability.” In the amicus brief, however, Hill argues that states have a compelling interest in preventing the spread of abortion as a tool for eugenics, which is defined as “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.”

DNR: STATE PARKS CLOSED FOR DEER CULL - Select Indiana State Park properties will close temporarily for controlled deer management hunts in the coming weeks (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Each hunt runs two days. The first hunt is on Monday, Nov. 18, and Tuesday, Nov. 19. The second is on Monday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 3. The participating state park properties will close to the general public on the evening before each of the two hunts. Participating state park properties are: Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Prophetstown, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, and Whitewater Memorial state parks, as well as Cave River Valley Natural Area and Trine State Recreation Area.

RDA: HANNA BULLISH ON REGION ECONOMY - For more than a century, industrial manufacturing has been a critical component to the success of northwest Indiana. While the region was hit hard by the nation's manufacturing transition, there are signs of significant economic improvement and growth with the rise of tourism, a planned $300 million Hard Rock Casino in Gary, and several quality of place investments in various communities (Dick, Inside Indiana Business). On a special road show edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Hanna said the state of the region's economy has never been better. "We went through a period of struggle there of course with the industrial decline and a lot of it had to do with productivity, too, so I feel like the steel industry and BP are more competitive than they've ever been," said Hanna. "But we're learning also to adjust to some of the changes there in terms of employment and so I think we've postured ourselves as the new suburban opportunity around Chicago and that's a game changer for us."  Hanna says while manufacturing is still a powerhouse in northwest Indiana, the region has begun to look toward a changing workforce.

EDUCATION: O'MALLEY TO HEAD IU'S POLING CENTER - Former Maryland Gov. Martin J. O' Malley will visit the Indiana University Kelley School of Business as its Poling Chair of Business and Government during the current academic year (Howey Politics Indiana). O'Malley, who served as Maryland's governor from 2006 to 2014 after six years as mayor of Baltimore, will serve as a leader-in-residence at Kelley during visits to the school in Bloomington and Indianapolis, meeting with MBA and undergraduate students and with faculty. His first visit will begin Nov. 18 at IU Bloomington.

EDUCATION: PURDUE LANDS $9M FED GRANT - Purdue University scientists have been awarded $9 million in matching grants to further study how plant breeders use remote sensing technologies to measure the characteristics of plants.  That sort of manual, in-field, work can be slow, laborious and expensive (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). Purdue researchers have developed next-generation technology to gather the same data remotely and process the information through algorithms. Some of the data is gathered via a high-resolution camera and thermal infrared sensors on an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone. It can measure plant height, canopy structure, plant architecture, and biomass yield. “Manual phenotyping is slow and costly. To do all of this measurement by hand takes a lot of people, and you don’t get a lot of data,” said Mitch Tuinstra, a Purdue professor of plant breeding and genetics.

MEDIA: MELLENCAMP, RYAN SPLIT - Actress Meg Ryan and rockstar John Mellencamp have called it a quits just a year after getting engaged. People reported that the 'You've Got Mail" actress was spotted recently at the Governos Awards without her engagement ring. People confirmed the couple's split. A source told People that Mellencamp didn't want to get married again. “He loves her, but marriage never seemed to be a part of it,” the source said. “It’s unclear how important a marriage was to Meg. But they spent a lot of time together and it’s too bad they split. They really got along so well together.” The couple started dating in 2011 after Mellencamp's 18-year marriage to model ELain Irwin ended. Ryan and Mellencamp called it quits in August 2014 but then announced in November 2018 that they were engaged.

SPORTS: BRISSETT HAS SPRAINED MCL -  Jacoby Brissett did indeed sprain the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh, but his availability for the Indianapolis Colts’ upcoming game with Miami remains unclear (Chappell, CBS4). Head coach Frank Reich confirmed Monday the nature of Brissett’s injury, which occurred in the second quarter when guard Quenton Nelson was pushed back onto Brissett’s left knee. No determination of Brissett’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium has been made. Reich said the team will just have to see how Brissett progresses throughout the week. While it’s risky to compare injuries, it’s worth noting Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers didn’t miss a start in 2018 after spraining the MCL in his left knee and suffering a tibial plateau fracture in the Packers’ season opener against Chicago.

SPORTS: REICH CITES VINATIERI 'FLUKE' LACE KICK -  Adam Vinatieri’s way-wide-left miss on a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal with just over 1 minute remaining was a rarity because of a contributing factor, according to Reich (CBS4). “I think we all saw it,’’ he said. “He got the laces and it was a fluke.’’ Reich insisted his snapper-holder tandem of Luke Rhodes and Rigoberto Sanchez is one of the best in the league, but Sanchez’s placement of the football resulted in the laces directly facing Vinatieri. Ideally, the laces are spun away from the kicker. “I’ve held for a number of years,’’ Reich said. “I’ll just say this: it made it a lot tougher on Adam. There’s not many times you see a kicker actually kick the laces straight on. It just doesn’t happen very often. “It was a fluke and unfortunately Adam had to kick the laces and that does play into it in my mind.’’ Reich insisted he still has a “lot of confidence in Adam,’’ and the team has no plans to change its kicking operation. Vinatieri, 46, has missed 10 kicks in eight games – five field goals and a career-high and league-high five PATs.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ORDERED TO RELEASE TAX RETURNS - A federal appeals panel said on Monday that President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, a setback for the president’s attempt to keep his financial records private (New York Times). The case, which has raised new questions about presidential power, now appears headed to the United States Supreme Court. Soon after the ruling, one of the president’s personal lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said Mr. Trump would appeal to the high court. “The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our republic,” Mr. Sekulow said. “The constitutional issues are significant.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP OFFICIALLY PULLS OUT OF CLIMATE ACCORD - The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Monday that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, leaving global climate diplomats to plot a way forward without the cooperation of the world’s largest economy (New York Times). Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the notification on Twitter and issued a statement saying the accord would have imposed intolerable burdens on the American economy. Mr. Trump has long held that the accord would cripple growth and intrude on American sovereignty. “The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy,” Mr. Pompeo said. He added that the United States will still maintain a voice in international discussions on global warming.

WHITE HOUSE: MOVEMENT IN CHINA TRADE TALKS - U.S. and Chinese officials are actively considering rolling back some tariffs to clinch the partial trade deal under negotiation, according to people familiar with the talks (Wall Street Journal). “If there’s a deal, [removing] tariffs will be part of it,” a senior administration official said late Monday. The U.S. and China have agreed in principle to what President Trump has called the first of several phases of an accord to end the dispute that has penalized hundreds of billions of dollars of trade between the two countries. “Both governments have to give to get,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who closely follows the talks. “The two sides are really close to a deal but it will come down to the presidents to make the final call.”

WHITE HOUSE: ROGER STONE TRIAL WILL BE A SPECTACLE - The criminal trial of Trump associate Roger Stone is to begin Tuesday in Washington, one of the last loose ends stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (Wall Street Journal). Among the characters expected in featured roles: a defendant so renowned for his attention to sartorial detail that he stars in a video, “Roger Stone Explains How to Dress for Court”; a judge who despaired in pretrial hearings of what she called “middle school” antics; prosecutors who want to show the jury a clip from “The Godfather Part II”; and a tiny white dog that may or may not appear on the stand with a witness.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP HONORS NATIONALS - President Trump welcomed the Washington Nationals to the White House, celebrating the hometown team’s World Series win as “a comeback story for the ages.” The jubilant mood Monday was a contrast to Mr. Trump’s appearance at Game 5 of the series at Nationals Park in Washington, when he received a cool reception from the fans, facing boos and a “lock him up” chant (Wall Street Journal). The president tweeted his congratulations to the team after they won the title a few nights later. “Throughout this season the Nationals captured the hearts of baseball fans across the region and across the country. America fell in love with the Nats baseball,” Mr. Trump said.

WHITE HOUSE: JOURNALIST SUES TRUMP - E. Jean Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump for the president’s comments denying the journalist’s claims that he raped her in a department store in the 1990s (Politico). “Decades ago, the now President of the United States raped me,” Carroll, an Elle columnist and former "Saturday Night Live" writer, said in a statement released Monday. “When I had the courage to speak out about the attack, he defamed my character, accused me of lying for personal gain, even insulted my appearance. No woman should have to face this.” The 28-page lawsuit filed on Monday outlined the alleged rape, citing Trump’s responses as libelous and “abhorrent.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump has nothing on his public schedule.

OKLAHOMA: 527 SENTENCES COMMUTED - Hundreds of Oklahoma inmates left prison Monday before their original sentences were over. And bipartisan lawmakers couldn't be happier (CNN). In the largest mass commutation in US history, at least 462 non-violent inmates were released, officials said. A total of 527 inmates had their sentences commuted Friday, but 65 of them have detainers and will be released later. The move is one of many prison reform efforts in Oklahoma aimed at reducing overcrowded prisons while helping low-level offenders build a life of self-sufficiency rather than reincarceration. "Now is the first day of the rest of your life," Gov. Kevin Stitt told freed inmates.

CALIFONRIA: PEOPLE FLEEING FOR TEXAS - Just over half of California's registered voters have considered leaving the state, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. Republicans and conservative voters were nearly three times as likely as their Democratic or liberal counterparts to seriously have considered moving — 40% compared with 14%, the poll found. Conservatives mentioned taxes and California's political culture as a reason for leaving more frequently than they cited the state's soaring housing costs. Between 2007 and 2016, California lost 1 million residents to domestic migration — about 2.5% of its total population, according to a 2018 report from the state Legislative Analyst's Office. Texas was the most popular destination.


MICHIGAN CITY: MEER SEEKS SPECIAL PROSECUTOR - The mayor of Michigan City has asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed as he is being charged with eight felonies (Darling, WIBC). Mayor Ron Meer is accused of intimidation, false informing and official misconduct. The charges stem from the arrest of his step-son on drug charges by the LaPorte County Drug Task Force. Court documents say that, according to Meer, a confidential informant came to his house one night in the middle of October to tell him LaPorte County Prosecutor John Lake and the task force had "set-up" the arrest of his step-son, Adam Bray. Meer then relayed this information to then-Police Chief Mark Swistek then told Indiana State Police and the FBI. When investigators met with the informant about what Meer said, the informant denied ever having said that to Meer. The documents say the informant even gave investigators his phone and they found no evidence of him ever having contacted Meer. It was not long after that Michigan City Police Lieutenant Tim Richardson received this email from Meer. "Good afternoon chief, immediately reassign all of the individuals that I discussed in our phone conversation." The individuals Meer is referring to are the Michigan City officers who were involved in the arrest of his step-son. Richardson, in the court documents, said he "took it as Mayor Ron Meer is trying to intimidate me." Refusing to carry out the mayor's orders, Chief Swistek and two of his assistants resigned. Mayor Meer has since walked back claims that top law enforcement officers were targeting his son. Now that charges have been filed against him, Meer's attorneys are calling the charges, filed by Prosecutor John Lake, a "political hatchet job." They also say the charges "appear to be the worst breach of ethics and professionalism that I have seen in the 43 years I have been an attorney."

NEW ALBANY: PUBLIC ACCESS COUNSELOR RULES VIOLATION - Three southern Indiana residents are suing the city of New Albany for allegedly failing to fulfill their public records requests (AP). The Floyd County lawsuit comes after Indiana’s Public Access Counselor, Luke Britt, found that New Albany had violated Indiana’s public records law. The three plaintiffs say they requested public records in August, including electronic correspondence related to River Run Family Water Park. They sought Britt’s opinion after officials in the Ohio River city failed to acknowledge their records requests. The News and Tribune reports the trio say their suit was filed in response to “a consistent pattern of failing to acknowledge, let alone respond, to a citizen’s inquiry into the affairs of local government.” New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan says city officials “greatly look forward” to their day in court.

SOUTH BEND: BUTTIGIEG TO TAKE ON CLIMATE CHANGE LOCALLY - Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who in his presidential campaign has criticized President Donald Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, on Monday joined a growing number of cities who are determined to instead tackle the problem locally (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). The Buttigieg administration released “Carbon Neutral 2050,” a plan with a goal of reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 100% over the next three decades. The plan sets two interim goals along the way — the Paris accord’s 26% emission reduction by 2025, followed by a 45% reduction by 2035. “We will need everyone — every worker and resident and student, every business and institution and school — to support these ambitious goals and bring these strategies to bear,” Buttigieg, who was campaigning for president Monday in Iowa, said in a written statement.

FORT WAYNE: NEW FD TRAINING CENTER OPENS - Fort Wayne Fire Department recruits were the first class to experience hands-on training in the Department’s new live fire training center, located at 2700 Dwenger Avenue (Howey Politics Indiana). Over the past 2 ½ years, the FWFD has invested over $150,000 to improve hands-on training capability at the Dwenger Avenue training facility. The initial infrastructure improvements were offset by a $60,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and this most recent phase was finished in late October.

PORTER COUNTY: DELAY IN REVENGE PORN CASE - A 50-year-old Virginia woman is hoping to avoid trial in what has become a high-profile case charged under Indiana's new revenge porn law (NWI Times). Kathy Browne was granted a continuance in a hearing scheduled for Thursday to give her attorney, Ken Elwood, more time to speak to prosecutors about "a possible resolution in this matter short of trial," according to the defense motion. Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester agreed to reschedule the hearing for Jan. 16.