HUNTSINGER TO REPLACE McCLELLAND AS DRUG CZAR: Jim McClelland, Indiana’s executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, says he’s retiring (Chapman, Indiana Pubic Media). McClelland was appointed as the state’s drug czar in January 2017, through an executive order from Gov. Eric Holcomb. He had previously retired as Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana CEO. In a statement Thursday, Holcomb praised McClelland’s work coordinating the state’s Next Level Recovery initiative. “His passion and expertise in building systems that work to help people have given Indiana’s response to the drug crisis strong positive momentum,” Holcomb said. “I’m grateful for his service to our state and congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement.” Holcomb also announced McClelland’s replacement: Douglas Huntsinger. Huntsinger is currently deputy director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, overseeing operational aspects of the state’s response to the drug crisis since 2017. He previously served as a policy director under former Gov. Mitch Daniels and executive producer of the Indiana State Fair.

MORNING CONSULT PUTS TRUMP'S IN APPROVAL AT 50%: Morning Consult Polling puts President Trump's Indiana approval at 50%, with 46% disapproving as of Oct. 1. Trump's approval has decreased by 18% since he carried the state with 56% of the vote in November 2016. In surrounding states, Trumps approval is -24 in Illinois, -6 in Ohio, -13 in Michigan, -17 in Wisconsin, -12 in Iowa and +11 in Kentucky.

1ST CD DEM FIELD LIKELY TO GROW: In the wake of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky's retirement, the field is likely to grow beyond Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott jr. and North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan. Sources are telling Howey Politics Indiana that Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, is being encouraged the enter the race.

IU ECONOMISTS EXPECT SLOW GROWTH, BUT NO RECESSION: Indiana University economists predict slow growth across Indiana’s economy in 2020, while the global economy grows at the slowest rate since the 2009 financial crisis. The annual outlook released by the Kelley School of Business shows ongoing trade and political issues will lead to economic volatility in 2020 (Horton, Indiana Public Media). The forecast projects global economic growth will continue to slow, but recent data steered authors away from forecasting a recession in the coming year. Economist Kyle Anderson says household spending is up while business investment is down, an imbalance that will even out one of two ways. “Either this business investment weakness is gonna slow the economy and consumers will pull back, and that’s kind of the recession risk story that’s going on,” says Anderson. “Or consumers will continue spending, businesses will feel better about the economy, maybe we get some positive trade news, and then business investment picks up and there’s potential on the upside.”

SCHOOLS CLOSING FOR BIG NOV. 19 TEACHER RALLY: School days are being called off for tens of thousands of Indiana students as their teachers make plans for attending a union-organized Statehouse rally (Davies, AP). Some school district officials say so many teachers are taking personal time off for the Nov. 19 rally that they wouldn't be able to find enough substitute teachers to cover classrooms. But they also say they support the push by teachers for a bigger boost in school funding. The president of the Indiana State Teachers Association says at least 7,000 teachers have registered for the Statehouse lobbying effort on the day legislators are gathering for organization meetings ahead of their 2020 session starting in January. The union says more than 30 school districts have canceled classes or are having students work online from home that day.

Michael R. Bloomberg is actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary and is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in at least one state with an early filing deadline, people briefed on Mr. Bloomberg's plans said (New York Times). Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, has been privately weighing a bid for the White House for weeks and has not yet made a final decision on whether to run, an adviser said. But in the first sign that he is seriously moving toward a campaign, Mr. Bloomberg has dispatched staffers to Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the primary there. Though Alabama does not hold an early primary, it has a Friday deadline for candidates to formally enter the race. Mr. Bloomberg and his advisers called a number of prominent Democrats on Thursday to tell them he was seriously considering the race, including former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the retired majority leader who remains a dominant power broker in the early caucus state. Aides to Mr. Bloomberg also reached out to Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

CHINA SAYS IT MAY ROLL BACK TARIFFS: Beijing’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. and China have mutually agreed to roll back tariffs as part of a “phase one” trade accord lifted financial markets, but questions remained over how much ground—if any —the Trump administration had agreed to give (Wall Street Journal). Optimism that the trade war was finally nearing an end was raised by comments from a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman in Beijing on Thursday. “If the phase-one deal is signed, China and the U.S. should remove the same proportion of tariffs simultaneously based on the content of the deal,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing. “This is what [the two sides] agreed on following careful and constructive negotiations over the past two weeks,” he said. But there were conflicting reports from within the Trump administration as to whether there was a firm commitment to reduce tariffs. One U.S. official concurred that the two sides plan to roll back tariffs as part of an initial trade pact—which would indicate that reports this week that such a rollback was under consideration had progressed. Others disputed that a formal rollback plan had been agreed on.

STATE'S RATE OF INSURED RISES TO 8.3%: Indiana's share of residents who lack medical insurance is larger than that of its neighbors (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The U.S. Census Bureau released data Thursday showing that 8.3% of Hoosiers were uninsured in 2018. Surrounding states had much lower uninsured rates last year: 5.4% in Michigan, 5.6% in Kentucky, 6.5% in Ohio and 7% in Illinois. Rachel Blakeman, director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne, said Kentucky and Michigan had been aggressive in expanding their Medicaid programs. “Kentucky is a real highlight in terms of getting uninsured folks covered. Now they're doing it through Medicaid, which is not a popular program in all parts of the United States,” Blakeman said in a telephone interview. The Census Bureau said 43.5% of Kentucky residents had public health insurance last year – Medicaid, Medicare for people older than 65 or federal coverage for military veterans. The figure for Indiana was 33.8%.

GARY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING: Two days after his reelection, Gary Common Council President Ronald Brewer faces felony charges for allegedly intimidating and kidnapping a young boy he believed to be involved in the September theft of his red Lexus (Cross, NWI Times). Prosecutors have said the boy in question is not believed to have been involved in the Sept. 22 theft of Brewer's car, during which it was stolen in Gary and taken to East Chicago. "You don't know how bad I want to blow your (expletive) back," Brewer allegedly told the teen as he pointed a weapon at him, charging documents state. As the teen repeatedly denied his involvement, Brewer said, "You need to tell your buddies I need my (expletive) okay (sic)? I‘m coming for them." The teen told police he feared for his life and that Brewer was going to shoot him, charging documents state.  Police originally accused Brewer of tracking down his stolen vehicle, firing a gun at the teens and taking a 14-year-old boy against his will into the city of Gary, rather than allowing police to handle the situation, police records show. Brewer is fresh off his reelection two days ago to the Common Council, where he currently serves as president.
HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Departing Drug Czar Jim McClelland deserves our thanks for the three years he has invested in combatting Indiana's opioid epidemic. Many presumed he would be in that position for just a short time, but he has stayed on to move the dial. This battle is not over, but McClelland clearly made a big difference. - Brian A. Howey


WEINZAPFEL LEAVES IVY TECH; AG SPECUATION: Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus, is leaving that position to join a law firm. Weinzapfel, who was a two-term Democratic mayor of Evansville from 2004-11, is joining Jones Wallace LLC. The Evansville firm serves mid-sized area businesses (Evansville Courier & Press). Informed and reliable Democratic sources tell Howey Politics Indiana that some believe Weinsapfel may enter the 2020 attorney general race. Currently State Sen. Karen Tallian is the only Democrat to announce. Weinzapfel's last day at Ivy Tech is Nov. 30. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kelly Cozart, will serve as interim chancellor upon Weinzapfel’s departure. Whether Weinzapfel's departure from the community college signals a potential return to politics wasn't immediately clear. Weinzapfel didn't return a message from the Courier & Press. ”I have enjoyed my time at Ivy Tech," Weinzapfel said in a news release. "Its mission of providing folks a head start on a great career or a solid foundation to earn their baccalaureate degree is vital to the future of our state and its communities. With a great team of individuals in Evansville, we have accomplished a lot and I am very proud of our work.

RIDENOUR CALLS FOR MUNCIE HIRING, SPENDING FREEZE: Dan Ridenour, the city's Republican mayor-elect, is already working on the city administration transition by requesting the city freeze all additional hiring and new capital spending until he and new city council members take over Jan. 1 (Ohlenkamp, Indiana Public Media). Mayor Dennis Tyler turned down the request, saying he would continue to run the city as necessary to "move the city forward" through the last two months of his term. In a small press conference held at his new transition headquarters, 125 E. Charles Street Suite #202, Ridenour outlined his request to the current administration. Ridenour was looking to halt any more hiring by the city or any major financial promises that hadn't already been undertaken.

MUELLER GOT BIG WEST SIDE SUPPORT: Voters picked a new South Bend mayor Tuesday, and political affiliation in the historically Democratic city remained a dominant force (Parrot, South Bend Tribune). Leading up to the voting, Republicans hoped their nominee, Sean Haas, a 37-year-old military veteran and high school teacher who had been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, might make it competitive against Democrat James Mueller, who had admitted he wasn’t a natural politician, having previously worked behind the scenes in Washington and South Bend. But in the end, the race hewed closely along party lines, in a city that hadn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1967. Straight-ticket voting fell 64% to 36% in the Democrats’ favor, a split that was nearly identical to the 63-37 Mueller-Haas results. “I knew this was going to be a hard one to win, but I think I thought it would be a little bit closer than what the final numbers played out,” Haas said Thursday. “I think the straight-party ticket voting, that’s a hard hill to climb. When you see that, I don’t know how much thought really goes into the candidates.” Mueller, longtime friend of and former staffer for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, enjoyed consistent victory margins across much of the city, doing best in majority-minority neighborhoods, according to a Tribune geographic analysis of vote totals. He won 68% in the combined common council 2nd and 6th districts, which cover the city’s west side and are the only majority non-white districts.

ROBERSON WON ON YOUTH CENTER, PD ISSUES: While campaigning to be mayor of Elkhart, Democrat Rod Roberson says, he often heard feedback from voters that seemed to point to “two different Elkharts.” On one hand, the city was investing in the redevelopment of a downtown “River District,” featuring a massive new aquatic center and as many as 1,000 new apartments. On the other hand, the city council had de-funded the Tolson Community & Youth Center, a fixture in the heavily minority south side, and the city was dealing with the fallout over a police brutality scandal (Sheckler, South Bend Tribune). “Downtown had over $100 million of investment, and Tolson, ironically, was closing around the same time the aquatic center was opening,” Roberson said. “When you’re closing Tolson and your police department is mired in an investigation, it’s just a stark contrast.” After Roberson was elected Elkhart’s first black mayor and Democrats won control of the city council Tuesday, some observers linked the victories to unhappiness over the Tolson Center’s closing and the handling of police abuses, including the videotaped beating of a handcuffed man. Roberson defeated Republican Dave Miller, a former two-term mayor, with 56 percent of the vote Tuesday. Republicans lost three city council seats, shifting their previous 7-2 edge to a 5-4 Democratic majority. Roberson said Tolson, police accountability and feelings of inequity in city development were clearly on many voters’ minds. Those issues dominated feedback from voters during the primary, he said, and remained at the forefront during the general election, along with the need to diversify the city’s economy beyond RV manufacturing.

COLUMBUS COUNCILMAN PONDERS RECOUNT AFTER 1 VOTE LOSS: Columbus City Council District 1 representative Dascal Bunch is “leaning towards” officially requesting a recount after losing the District 1 race in the municipal election by the smallest of margins (East, Columbus Republic). Democratic challenger Jerone Wood spoiled Bunch’s bid for a third term on the city council by one vote, 260 to 259. Wood was one of four Democrats who won city council seats on Tuesday, giving the Democrats their first majority on the council since 1983, election officials said. Bunch said he will meet with his attorney on Monday to discuss his options and plans to formally announce his decision next week.

Party leaders, candidates and political experts in Kokomo spent much of Tuesday night and Wednesday analyzing an election that left Republicans overjoyed and local Democrats trying to wrap their heads around a devastating defeat (Myers & Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). And while a half-dozen interviews generated explanations ranging from a cohesive Republican Party message to the unfiltered presence of social media, there was consensus that voters were ready for one thing: change. Howard County Republican Party Chairwoman Jamie Bolser commended conservative candidates for maintaining a message focused on crime and a need for increased public safety staffing – priorities she said were generated by constituent concerns. Crime undoubtedly played a major role in the municipal election, as Republican candidates pushed a claim that Kokomo is experiencing a citywide increase in violent crime.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG UNVEILS MIDDLE CLASS PLAN: Mayor Pete Buttigieg released an agenda to ensure higher incomes, lower costs and a brighter future for working and middle class families (Howey Politics Indiana). Pete will remove the financial barriers that prevent America’s working and middle class families from economic success and reset the balance of power between workers and corporations. His agenda will unlock workers’ income with an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, make college more affordable, and lower child care and housing costs in order to ensure that the economy delivers for all Americans, not just those at the top. “As president, I will measure success not just by the size of the stock market or gross domestic product, but by whether working and middle class families are succeeding,” said Buttigieg. “In the United States of America, economic gains should be shared by everyone and everyone should have a fair shot at real opportunity.”

DEMS PREFER MODERATE IN BATTLEGROUND STATES: Democrats in the country’s most pivotal general election battlegrounds prefer a moderate presidential nominee who would seek common ground with Republicans rather than pursue an ambitious, progressive agenda, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll of primary voters across six states (New York Times). As the Democratic candidates intensify their argument over how best to defeat President Trump, their core voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida are counseling them to pursue a political middle ground. A majority of those surveyed said they wanted a Democratic nominee who is more moderate than most Democrats, and they overwhelmingly preferred one who would bridge the partisan divide in Washington. The poll showed a top tier of three candidates in the battleground states: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Mr. Biden was leading in five of the six states, while Ms. Warren enjoyed a narrow advantage within the margin of error in Wisconsin, where Mr. Sanders also appeared strong. No other candidate registered in double digits in any of the states surveyed.

BLOOMBERG PREPARES TO FILE FOR PREZ IN ALABAMA: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to file paperwork this week to run in the Democratic presidential primary in Alabama, keeping his options open for a possible White House bid, multiple media organizations reported on Thursday (Reuters). Bloomberg, who has been privately weighing a bid for the presidency for weeks, has not yet made a final decision on whether to run, an adviser told the New York Times.

PENCE FILES TRUMP IN NH: Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday added President Donald Trump's name to the Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire, the state where he achieved his first victory of the 2016 campaign (AP). Accompanied by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, Pence signed the paperwork and paid the $1,000 filing fee at the secretary of state's office while supporters chanted "Four more years!" in the hallway. "In so many ways, the movement that has transformed our country, rebuilt our military, revived the American economy, restored and strengthened the constitutional foundation of our courts, has America standing tall in the world again, began here in the Republican primary in New Hampshire," Pence said "I couldn't be more honored, on behalf of the president of the United States, to have his name on the ballot."

MANY SEE PENCE PREPARING FOR 2024: Vice President Mike Pence showed up in the first-in-the-nation voting state for two key events Thursday — and more than a few Republican activists saw it as the kickoff of the 2024 Republican primary (Politico). Pence visited the secretary of state's office to put President Donald Trump and himself on the ballot. Then he was on to Politics and Eggs, a primary tradition that countless presidential hopefuls from both parties have made their first stop in the state. Current and former Republican party officials, and Pence's own camp, said the visit was aimed solely at winning a state Trump lost by 3,000 votes. But there’s more going on behind the scenes, with Pence and others, that point to four years from now. Pence largely stuck to his script during his visit, talking about the state’s opioid epidemic, how deregulation and trade agreements are helping local businesses and tax cuts. “I’m excited to be in New Hampshire again and again,” he said. “This is definitely the first view of Pence running for 2024,” said Jennifer Horn, the former state Republican Party chairwoman. “It’s disingenuous for him or anyone to suggest otherwise.”


BOLTON A NO-SHOW; PENCE AIDE TESTIFIES: Former national security adviser John Bolton failed to appear for an interview with impeachment investigators Thursday, making it unlikely that he will provide testimony to the House about President Donald Trump's handling of Ukraine (AP). Democrats indicated they have no interest in a drawn-out court fight over Bolton's testimony or that of any others as they move into a more public phase of their impeachment inquiry. They say they will simply use the no-shows as evidence of the president's obstruction of Congress. An attorney for Bolton, Charles Cooper, said his client had not received a subpoena. Cooper had said Bolton wouldn't appear without one. An aide to Vice President Mike Pence did appear under subpoena Thursday to speak with impeachment investigators and was deposed for more than four hours.

Public hearings in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump begin in less than one week (WRTV). The member of Congress who represents much of Indianapolis will be a vital part of those hearings. Democratic Congressman Andre Carson, D-IN, serves on the House Intelligence Committee. That committee is hearing most of the testimony on the president's efforts to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the country's president investigated trump's political opponents. Carson says the hearings will give the public the chance to see the evidence for themselves. "They'll see a line of questioning coming from staff and members ... make their own conclusion about this administration, and it's excess," Carson said.

YOUNG, BRAUN SEEK JUDICIAL NOMINEES: U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) announced they are seeking applications for qualified individuals to fill a judicial vacancy on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana based in South Bend (Howey Politics Indiana). Chief Judge Theresa Lazar Springmann, who was appointed to the Northern District of Indiana in 2003 by President George W. Bush, will take Senior Status beginning January 2021.

General Assembly

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) today announced several committee assignment changes resulting from the retirement of State Sen. Randy Head (Howey Politics Indiana). Changes to committee assignments are as follows: State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) will chair the Senate Committee on Judiciary, State Sen. R. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis) will serve as the Ranking Member, and State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) will serve as a member of that committee. State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) will serve on the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) will serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.  State Sen. Stacey Donato (R-Logansport), who replaces Head, will serve on the Senate Committees on Commerce and Technology; Education and Career Development; Elections; Family and Children Services; and Utilities. In addition to the committee changes, Bray has named State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) Assistant Majority Floor Leader for Communications.


GOVERNOR: CHAMBER HONORS HOLCOMB - The best in Hoosier business, government and community were celebrated tonight at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 30th Annual Awards Dinner (Howey Politics Indiana). Fort Wayne’s Chuck Surack, Sweetwater Sound founder and CEO, is the Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year. Surack leads the largest online retailer of music instruments and technology in the country. This year, more than 1,800 employees will contribute to more than $800 million in business, continuing an annual trend of 20%-plus growth. The Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year is Gov. Eric Holcomb, who continues to aggressively push his Next Level policy agenda through the Indiana General Assembly. His priorities include expanded workforce training opportunities, dealing with the opioid crisis and making Indiana as competitive as possible for talent and business location/expansion. John Thompson, owner of four Indianapolis-based businesses, is the Dynamic Leader of the Year. The first business he started was Thompson Distribution and the largest is First Electric Supply. He is also a mentor to many, investor in a variety of ventures and the longest-serving board member of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The Republic Airways and LIFT Academy Community of the Year is Plymouth, which is home to several strong industrial businesses in the process of expanding their footprint. The public and private sector is working together to offer high quality education and cultural amenities, creating a strong quality of life for all residents.

STATEHOUSE: HILL SEEKS TO KEEP BEHRMAN KILLER IN PRISON -  Indiana's attorney general will appeal a decision by a federal judge to release from prison a man convicted in the 2000 killing an Indiana University student, his office announced Wednesday (Indiana Public Media). U.S. District Court Judge James Sweeney in Indianapolis ruled in September that John Myers II's legal representation during trial for the murder of Jill Behrman was so ineffective his Sixth Amendment rights were violated. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill's office is challenging the court order that not only vacated Myers' conviction, but also mandated that Myers be released from custody within 120 days of the Sept. 30 judgment, unless the state elects to retry him. "Convicted murderers should stay in prison," Hill said of Myers in a statement. "While we respect the federal judge's order, we believe that it is wrong as a matter of law and should not be the final word in this important case."

INDOT: MORE WEEKEND INSTATE WORK - The Indiana Department of Transportation will be out in multiple work zone this weekend across Marion County. Contractors will be working to repair winter damage by extending the life of pavement and fixing bridge joints (Howey Politics Indiana). INDOT would like to remind drivers to slow down in work zones and do not drive distracted. This construction work is weather dependent. Please watch for updates on Twitter (@INDOTEast) and Facebook (INDOT East Central).

Lane Restrictions:
I-65 NB & SB from Southport Rd. to South Split, Intermittent lane closures, 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, NO ramps will be affected; I-70 WB from South Split to Meridian St. Right two lanes closed 9 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday; I-70 EB from Meridian St. to South Split, Right two lanes closed 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-465 WB from 38th St. to U.S. 31 (Meridian St.), Right three lanes closed, 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday Traffic will be diverted onto Shadeland Collector Ramp; I-69 NB from 96th St. to 106th St., Left two lanes closed, 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday; I-69 NB from 96th St. to 106th St. Right two lanes closed, 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-465 EB from Ditch Rd to College Ave. (Northwest side), Right lane closed, 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-465 WB from College Ave. to Ditch Rd., Right lane closed, 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-65 SB from I-465 to Martin Luther King Jr. St., Right two lanes closed, 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday; I-65 NB from Martin Luther King Jr. St. to I-465, Right two lanes closed, 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

Ramp Closures: Keystone Ave. to I-465 WB 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; Pendleton Pike to I-465 NB 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-465 EB to U.S. 31 (Meridian St)  8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; U.S. 31 (Meridian St) to I-465 WB, 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday; I-865 EB to I-465 EB, 5 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday
Outside Marion County; I-70 EB from Post Rd. to Mt. Comfort Rd., Right lane closed AND ramp lane closed from I-70 EB to Mt. Comfort Rd. 9 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Monday.

EDUCATION: PURDUE FW TO PARTNER WITH MACOMB COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Purdue University Fort Wayne is partnering with Michigan-based Macomb Community College.  The agreement will allow Macomb students to completely transfer their Associate of Applied Science degree in the areas of business, IT, and health toward a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Purdue Fort Wayne (McLaughlin, Inside Indiana Business). Macomb students will be able to transfer a total of 88 credits toward their bachelor’s degree. The students minimum requirement of of 32 credits can be taken completely online with Purdue Fort Wayne. “We are excited to enter into this partnership that provides opportunities for graduates of technical programs at Macomb Community College to complete their undergraduate education with a Purdue University degree,” said Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

UTILITIES: AGENCY OPPOSES DUKE INCREASE - An Indiana agency has advised regulators to deny Duke Energy’s request to increase average monthly charges by as much as $23 per customer (AP). Indiana’s Office of Utility Consumer Counselor Bill Fine has recommended that the utility instead reduce its average charges by nearly $8 a month. Duke Energy in July asked the state Utility Regulatory Commission to approve a 15% rate increase over two years that would boost its annual revenue by about $395 million. The Indianapolis Star reports Thursday that consumer groups say the company hasn’t been transparent about how it determined the proposed rate increase.


An agreement between the United States and China to roll back existing tariffs as part of a “phase one” trade deal faces fierce internal opposition in the White House and from outside advisers, multiple sources familiar with the talks said (Reuters). The idea of a tariff rollback was not part of the original October “handshake” deal between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump, the sources said. Chinese officials said earlier on Thursday that tariff reductions had been agreed, and a U.S. official confirmed that was the case early Thursday afternoon. But there is a divide within the administration over whether rolling back tariffs will give away U.S. leverage in the negotiations, current and former administration officials said. The Chinese Communist Party is trying to “re-trade” the agreement, said Stephen Bannon, former White House adviser. He added that rolling back earlier tariffs “goes against the grain” of the original October agreement. “There’s nothing that Trump hates more” than someone backtracking on a deal, he said.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ORDERED TO PAY $2M - A state judge ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages to a collection of nonprofit groups on Wednesday as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that accused the Donald J. Trump Foundation of financial mismanagement (New York Times). The settlement, finalized last month and announced on Wednesday in the judge’s order, brought an end to a protracted legal battle over the foundation, whose giving patterns and management became a flash point during Mr. Trump’s run for office. The settlement included a detailed admission of misconduct: rare for the president, who has long employed a scorched-earth stance toward fighting lawsuits.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will leave the White House at 9:45 a.m. en route to Marietta, Ga. He will travel to The Whitley hotel in Atlanta, where he will hold a roundtable with supporters at 12:45 p.m. Afterward, he will speak at a fundraiser. Trump will then head to the Georgia World Congress Center. He will speak at a "Black Voices for Trump" coalition event at 3 p.m. before returning to Washington.

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - "Fox News Sunday": Panel: Karl Rove, Donna Edwards, Josh Holmes and Mo Elleithee. Power player of the week: The U.S. Army Old Guard's Caisson Platoon. CNN "State of the Union": Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Panel: Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Linda Chavez, David Urban and Karine Jean-Pierre. CBS "Face the Nation": Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Panel: Stephen Hayes, Margaret Talev, Jeffrey Goldberg and Antjuan Seawright. ABC "This Week": Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. CNN "Inside Politics": Panel: Julie Pace, Mike Shear, Abby Phillip and Jackie Kucinich. NBC "Meet the Press": Panel: Yamiche Alcindor, Hugh Hewitt, David Ignatius and Hallie Jackson.


VIGO COUNTY: ACLU BACKTRACKS ON JAIL OVERCROWDING - A reporting error by Vigo County on jail inmate counts led the ACLU of Indiana to pull its request for a status hearing slated for Wednesday in federal court in Terre Haute (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). Last month, Kenneth J. Falk, attorney for the ACLU of Indiana, said an inmate count of 359 marked a "precipitous increase" in the county jail population and sought a hearing in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana. "Apparently that was a mistake. The [county's] reporting was not accurate," Falk said Wednesday. In an Oct. 31 report filed with the federal court, Attorney David P. Friedrich in a break down of inmate numbers stated, "The jail's Sept. 30, 2019 inmate population was inaccurate. The population was reported as 359 inmates when the actual number incarcerated was 326. Vigo County had 33 inmates housed in other counties at the end of last month and were incorrectly included in the jail population." "The jail had 289 inmates on Oct. 30, 2019," the report for the county stated. The county, on Oct. 31, had a total of 322 inmates when counting 33 inmates incarcerated in other Indiana jails, the report stated.