BARRETT SAYS AMERICANS DESERVE INDEPENDENT SCOTUS:  Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett declared Monday that Americans "deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written," encapsulating her conservative approach to the law that has Republicans excited about the prospect of her taking the place of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsbur g before Election Day (AP). Barrett spoke about her judicial philosophy, her experience and her large family at the end of the first day of her fast-tracked confirmation hearings that Senate Democrats are using to try and brand her a threat to Americans' health care during the coronavirus pandemic. After sitting in silence through nearly four hours of opening statements from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the 48-year-old federal appeals court judge laid out her approach to the bench, which she has likened to that of her conservative mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. "Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life," Barrett said in a statement she delivered after removing the protective mask she wore most of the day. "The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try."

 

60% IN ABC/WP POLL FAVOR WAITING ON CONFIRMATION; 62% BACK ROE: Six in 10 registered voters say the U.S. Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade as the basis of abortion law in the United States, and a majority in an ABC News/Washington Post poll -- albeit now a narrow one -- says the Senate should delay filling the court's current vacancy. Sixty-two percent in the national survey say they would want the court to uphold Roe, while 24% would want it overturned; 14% have no opinion. There are broad political, ideological and religious-based divisions on the question.

 

COVID CASES UP 75% IN STATE: The number of coronavirus patients in Indiana hospitals grew over the weekend to the highest level in nearly five months, according to state health officials Monday (AP). The 1,238 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Sunday marked the eighth straight day topping 1,000 after not reaching that high since the end of May, the Indiana State Department of Health reported. Hospitalizations have increased nearly 65% since Sept. 19, just before Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to lift nearly all of Indiana’s restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes that he had imposed to slow the coronavirus spread. The health department’s daily update showed Indiana’s seven-day rolling average of new cases continued growing at record levels, reaching 1,519 as of Sunday. That’s a 75% increase from two weeks earlier. Six additional deaths were added Monday to the state’s toll, raising it to 3,795, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases. That is an increase of 114 deaths in the past week.

 

COVID OUTBREAK IN ELKHART COUNTY 'NEVER BEEN WORSE': The coronavirus outbreak in Elkhart County has never been worse, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health (Jorgensen, Elkhart Truth). The record for most new cases recorded in a week was broken last week, and as Sunday's numbers were reported Monday, Elkhart County now has a seven-day average of 87 new cases recorded per day. The previous high, set on June 18, was 78. As the average number of new cases was 31 per day a month ago, the new data tell a story of a significant and quick worsening. Even in the first few days of October, the average was about 50 per day, and then the case number surged to a previously unseen degree. "It's very discouraging and alarming to see that this is happening after this length of time with the virus," said Dr. Lydia Mertz, Elkhart County health officer.

 

HOLCOMB CALLS FOR 'SURGICAL' COVID RESPONSE: The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has Gov. Eric Holcomb considering going back to televised weekly briefings as well as extending the mask mandate, which is set to expire Oct. 17 (WANE-TV).  “Specifically, in certain areas, surging in some areas, we need to be able to surgically address that and we need to underscore that point that our actions in actions have consequences whether they are good or bad consequences,” Holcomb said. Holcomb said a key concern is how to ensure the public is getting the latest and updated information needed from the state. “Wednesdays are one way of doing that, we are still on an hour by hour basis all over the state of Indiana every single day,” Holcomb said. “The key is how we get this information out, obviously I don’t want to miss an opportunity to stress just how important that is with numbers going up.” The Governor didn’t say directly he will start back with the televised briefings but he did say it is being considered. Not only is the Governor considering going back to the weekly briefings he is also considering extending the mask mandate. “There are thoughts on extending that,” said Governor Holcomb. “We’ll make that decision this Wednesday.”

 

JOHNSON & JOHNSON PAUSES VACCINE TRIAL: Johnson & Johnson said it has paused further dosing in all clinical trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine because a study volunteer had an unexplained illness (Wall Street Journal). The pause announced Monday affects all trials of J&J’s vaccine, including a large Phase 3 trial that began in September and aimed to enroll as many as 60,000 people in the U.S. and several other countries. An independent data-safety monitoring board is reviewing the study subject’s illness, the company said. The company didn’t immediately disclose more information about the illness, and said it needed to respect the subject’s privacy. This is the second time trials for a Covid-19 vaccine trial have been paused over a safety concern. Last month, AstraZeneca PLC paused clinical trials of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine after a participant in a U.K. study had an unexplained illness. The U.K. study resumed, but a large U.S. study is still on hold.

 

PANDEMIC COSTS HIT $16T: The coronavirus pandemic will end up costing Americans $16 trillion, far more than anyone predicted when the virus first emerged in the U.S. back in March, according to a new study released on Monday (CBS News). The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was co-authored by former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Harvard University economist David Cutler. Summers was also a top economic adviser to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and is a former president of Harvard. Their estimated cost includes a theoretical estimate for the value of a human life, and is spread out over the next decade. It also relies on an estimate that the eventual U.S. death toll from the pandemic will more than triple by the end of next year. But $16 trillion is still an eye-popping number, and underscores the long-term impacts of the novel coronavirus and the U.S.'s inconsistent attempts to contain it. The study is listed in the medical publication as a viewpoint, and does not appear to have been peer-reviewed.

 

TRUMP DEFENDS PANDEMIC RECORD AT PACKED MAGA RALLY IN FLA:  Defiant as ever about the coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Monday turned his first campaign rally since contracting COVID-19 into a full-throated defense of his handling of the pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans, joking that he was healthy enough to plunge into the crowd and give voters “a big fat kiss” (AP). There was no social distancing and mask-wearing was spotty among the thousands who came to see Trump’s return to Florida. He held forth for an hour, trying to get his struggling campaign back on track with just weeks left before Election Day. Though he was hospitalized battling the virus only a week ago, Trump’s message on COVID-19 was unaltered since his diagnosis: a dubious assessment that the pandemic was just about a thing of the past. Hundreds of people in the U.S. continue to die of the virus every day. “Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like no one can even believe,” Trump insisted. “If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we have recovered.” His voice was perhaps a touch scratchy but otherwise, Trump was, well, Trump. “I feel so powerful,” said Trump, displaying no obvious signs of lingering infection. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women ... everybody. I’ll just give ya a big fat kiss.”

 

FEDERAL FUNDS GUSH TOWARD AMERICAN FARMERS:  For the American farmers whom President Trump counts on for support, the government money is flowing faster than ever (New York Times). Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day. The gush of funds has accelerated in recent weeks as the president looks to help his core supporters who have been hit hard by the double whammy of his combative trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic. According to the American Farm Bureau, debt in the farm sector is projected to increase by 4 percent to a record $434 billion this year and farm bankruptcies have continued to rise across the country. Farmers are not the only constituency benefiting from the president’s largess: He has promised $200 prescription drug cards to millions of seniors, approved $13 billion in aid to Puerto Rico, which could help his prospects in Florida, and he directed his Agriculture Department include letters signed by him in millions of food aid boxes that are being distributed to the poor.

 

INDY SETS HOMICIDE RECORD:  Indianapolis has recorded at least 160 criminal homicides so far in 2020, surpassing its highest ever tally for a whole year, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (AP). From Friday night to Sunday night in the city, seven people were slain in four separate shootings, one was stabbed to death and one died in an apparent inmate-on-inmate assault inside the Marion County Jail, The Indianapolis Star reported. IMPD investigated 154 criminal homicide cases in all of 2019 and 159 a year earlier — the city’s previous record high. Craig McCartt, IMPD’s deputy chief of criminal investigations, says frustration that residents express over the killings is shared by the police. “I wish I knew what was causing it because if I did, we could certainly find solutions and put some of those things to work,” he said. “It’s interesting because it’s not unique to Indianapolis. If you look at other large cities across the country, homicide rates are up in some places by 100%. Unfortunately, being up by 50 to 75% isn’t at all unusual around the country right now.”

 

PENCE KIDS ALERTED HIM TO FLY ON HIS HEAD: Vice President Mike Pence said Monday he learned afterward from his children that a fly had landed on his head during last week’s debate against California Sen. Kamala Harris (Politico). “They’re the ones that told me. I didn’t know he was there,” Pence told Fox News in an interview, referring to the insect that lit up Twitter in the hours after the vice presidential forum. “They all told me, ‘Dad, you did OK,’” he said. “But they did tell me about the fly. And it was a good laugh for all of us.” The black bug sat on Pence’s closely cropped, white hair for roughly two minutes last Wednesday as he debated racial justice and police brutality with Harris, the running mate to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The cost of COVID runs $16 trillion according to the American Medical Association. It will be fascinating to see the Indiana version of what the pandemic's fiscal impacts will be. I suspect we'll be seeing this analysis sometime between the election and the biennial budget session of the General Assembly. It will likely be a staggering assessment. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

SPARTZ RELEASES 2 TV ADS: Victoria Spartz for Congress released two new commercials - the first "Agree" and the second "Better Choice" (Howey Politics Indiana). “The choice in the race for Congress couldn’t be clearer. Victoria Spartz is genuine, sincere problem solver who will bring people together to help our community,” said Spartz Campaign Manager Catherine Seat. “On the other hand, Christina Hale is your typical phony politician who talks a good game but has a record of serving party bosses and corrupt special interests, and she is running vicious, false ads to distract from her failed record.  Victoria is committed to running positive ads and setting the record straight.” These ads run over the next week on Indianapolis broadcast tv, cable and digital platforms. 

 

NEW HOLCOMB TV AD: Gov. Eric Holcomb’s reelection campaign launched its latest statewide television ad, the sixth of his campaign. The new ad, titled “Momentum,” features a Hoosier mother and small business owner from Boone County (Howey Politics Indiana). She discusses how Governor Holcomb’s leadership has helped build Indiana’s momentum over the last four years – and how his leadership will continue that momentum over the next four years. “Eric Holcomb's done more than just talk about One Indiana for All. He's shown the leadership to get us there. New jobs, higher teacher pay, improved internet connections and skilling up our workforce,” said the Hoosier mother and small business owner in the ad’s voiceover. “Hoosiers across the state are feeling the impact of Governor Holcomb’s leadership,” said Kyle Hupfer, campaign manager for Governor Holcomb’s reelection. “He’s tackling our state’s biggest challenges, and Indiana’s not just competing – we’re winning. We must keep that momentum going for four more years.”

 

SEN. BOOKER ENDORSES MYERS: Dr. Woody Myers and Linda Lawson, candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor of Indiana, respectively, today received the endorsement of former U.S. Presidential Candidate and current U.S. Senator Cory Booker (Howey Politics Indiana). Sen. Booker said, “We need to elect leaders who build uncommon coalitions to solve the toughest problems facing us, from our broken criminal justice system to the public health and economic crises brought on by the Coronavirus,” said Booker. “I support Dr. Woody Myers and Linda Lawson in their fight to make Indiana a more just, equal place where everyone can reach their full potential.” Myers reacted, “Linda Lawson and I are proud to receive Senator Cory Booker’s endorsement. I’ve been friends with Senator Booker for decades, so his endorsement is especially meaningful to me. We are fighting to provide Hoosiers with better livelihoods and safety,” said Dr. Myers.

 

COWDEN RESPONDS TO YOUNG ATTACK AD: Pete Cowden, a former Army Ranger and candidate for SD35 offered the following comments on recents attacks from Senator Young calling him a “weak leader” (Howey Politics Indiana). “ Being a good leader was life or death in Iraq and Afghanistan as we fought America’s enemies up close. I served alongside exceptional combat leaders and I am prepared to lead as your State Senator. When has Senator Young Stepped up to lead? As a safe career politician he is rarely seen in our community. Senator Young was the leader for RIFRA 2.0 to allow discrimination based on someone’s religion and sexuality. He was the leader to fight Prosecutor Mears in Marion County to make sure marijuana stayed criminalized. He led efforts to try and sink Indianapolis mass transit after his constituents voted for it on the ballot. This is not the type of person we need representing us in the State Senate. I promise to fight for my constituents, not against them.”

 

WESTERHAUSEN IN REMATCH WITH REP. DEVON: As a St. Joseph County Council member representing heavily Republican Granger from 2002 to 2012, and then over the past eight years as a state representative, Republican Dale DeVon either ran unopposed or enjoyed double-digit percentage wins each election (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). In his six elections for both offices, DeVon had run unopposed three times and won his three races by 16, 26 and 36 percentage points. So in 2018, when Granger cardiologist and political newcomer Don Westerhausen came within 466 votes, or two percentage points, of winning DeVon’s House District 5 seat, one might wonder if it shocked the longtime home builder. “No, we expected it,” DeVon said. “He spent a couple hundred thousand dollars. We tried to stay dollar to dollar with him. He worked hard and we did too.” DeVon actually nearly doubled Westerhausen’s expenditures in 2018, spending about $392,000 to the challenger’s $209,000, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Division. DeVon said he figures he also was hurt by typically lower voter turnout in an off-presidential election year, since the Granger part of the district is so heavily Republican and many people vote straight-ticket. Westerhausen said he knew “right away” that he wanted a rematch in 2020, fueled largely by two factors. He said he had sought advice from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg before the 2018 campaign, and Buttigieg told him, “To measure your commitment you should ask yourself, are you willing to do this two times in a row if you lose the first time?”

 

NEW ROKITA TV AD: Republican attorney general nominee Todd Rokita began airing a new TV ad on Monday (Howey Politics Indiana). It starts with Terry Dove, a former employee of Rokita, who says, "Todd really wants to bring people together. He was a great boss. His leadership was really amazing." The ad then segues into leadership, with voice over from Greg Garrison, who calls Rokita "a leader protecting health care from pre-existing conditions; A leader protecting jobs."

 

Presidential 2020

 

NYT/SIENA POLLS SHOWS BIG BIDEN LEADS IN MI, WI: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has maintained his leads in Michigan and Wisconsin, according to new surveys of the pair of Midwestern battlegrounds that were vital to President Donald Trump’s victory four years ago (Politico). A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday reports that 48 percent of likely Michigan voters surveyed back Biden, while 40 percent favor Trump — an 8-point edge for the former vice president. Biden was ahead of Trump by 11 points among the state’s registered voters in June, 47-36 percent, according to the previous version of the Times/Siena Michigan survey. The latest poll also shows Biden enjoying a wider, 10-point advantage among likely voters in Wisconsin, with a majority — 51 percent — of those surveyed preferring him to the Republican incumbent. In the previous version of the Times/Siena Wisconsin survey, conducted last month, Biden outpaced Trump by 5 percentage points, 48-43 percent, among likely voters.

 

BIDEN 'NOT A FAN' OF COURT PACKING: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who for weeks has avoided saying whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, said Monday that he is “not a fan” of the idea that has gained steam in his party’s liberal wing (Washington Post). “I’ve already spoken on — I’m not a fan of court-packing. But I’m not — I don’t want to get off on that whole issue,” Biden said in an interview with WKRC TV in Cincinnati. “I want to keep focused.”

 

FAUCI DEMANDS TRUMP CAMPAIGN NOT USE HIM IN ADS: The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci demanded that the Trump campaign refrain from using him in future campaign ads, saying Monday that it would be “outrageous” and “terrible” if he was featured in another commercial and it could “come back to backfire” on Team Trump (Daily Beast). Asked by The Daily Beast if his comments were a thinly-veiled threat to leave his post if he ended up in a new campaign spot, Fauci replied: “Not a chance. Not in my wildest freakin’ dreams,” he said, “did I ever think about quitting." From there, Fauci went on to explain what he meant by “backfire.” "By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,” Fauci said. “Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off."

 

FAUCI PANS MAGA RALLIES: President Donald Trump’s planned campaign rallies this week -- starting with one on Monday night in Florida -- threaten to advance the spread of the coronavirus, warned Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert (Bloomberg News). “Look at it purely in the context of public health,” Fauci said on CNN. “We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregant settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.”

 

BIDEN TELLS BUCKEYES TRUMP 'LET YOU DOWN': Joe Biden on Monday slammed President Donald Trump for having "let down" American workers and unions, while pledging to utilize a "trade strategy" that "gets results" (NBC News) Speaking to a group of autoworkers in Toledo, Ohio, Biden claimed Trump’s "chaotic trade threats, erratic tweets, and bluster" had "stiffed American workers and consumers." "He’s let you down. I will stand up to China’s trade abuses. I will invest in you," Biden said during a drive-in campaign rally outside a United Auto Workers union hall.

 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON BIDEN OHIO TRIP: Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director (Howey Politics Indiana): “President Trump won Ohio convincingly in 2016 and will do so again in November, so we are thrilled to see Joe Biden wasting a valuable day on the campaign trail visiting a state he cannot win. President Trump has a clear record of building a strong Ohio economy before the global pandemic was unleashed by China, and he’s already doing it a second time. Joe Biden’s record on the economy is a disaster and includes voting for NAFTA and putting China’s interests ahead of America’s, with Ohio workers paying the price. Biden’s proposed $4 trillion tax increase and his embrace of the Green New Deal would decimate the Ohio economy and destroy 700,000 fracking jobs in the state. Ohio voters know that President Trump has accomplished more in 47 months than Joe Biden has in 47 years.”

 

BIDEN SCHEDULE: Joe Biden will travel to Broward County, Fla. He will give a speech in Pembroke Pines on his vision for older Americans in the afternoon. He will also attend an event in Miramar. Jill Biden is making a swing through El Paso, Dallas and Houston today.



Congress

 

BARRETT FACES SENATORS TODAY:  Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will face senators’ questions over her approach to health care, legal precedent and even the presidential election during a second day of confirmation hearings on track to lock in a conservative court majority for years to come (AP). The mood is likely to shift to a more confrontational tone as Barrett, an appellate court judge with very little trial court experience, is grilled in 30-minute segments Tuesday by Democrats gravely opposed to President Donald Trump’s nominee, yet virtually powerless to stop her rise. Republicans are rushing her to confirmation before Election Day.

 

SEN. HARRIS SLAMS ACB CONFIRMATION PROCESS: Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, slammed the panel for carrying out what she called an “illegitimate” process to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before Election Day, while warning President Trump’s nominee for the high court will “undo” the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Fox News). Harris, D-Calif., who participated in the first day of Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings remotely, began her opening statement by criticizing Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for bringing “together more than 50 people to sit inside a room for hours while our nation faces a deadly airborne virus.” “This committee has ignored commonsense requests to keep people safe—including not requiring testing for all members—despite a coronavirus outbreak among senators of this very committee,” Harris said, indirectly referencing Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who tested positive, and has since recovered, from the novel coronavirus. Lee attended the hearing in person on Monday.

 

YOUNG INTRODUCES BARRETT:  U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate Judiciary Committee during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing (Howey Politics Indiana). “Education. Faith. Family. Community. Equal justice under the law. These are all values that Midwesterners hold dear. Indeed, they are values that Americans hold dear. And they are all values embodied by Judge Barrett,” said Young. "I am honored to appear before you to introduce Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a remarkable Hoosier poised to make her mark on our country.”

 

BANKS TO TOUR ELECTRIC WORKS SITE: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) will visit General Electric in Fort Wayne for a tour of Electric Works, an economic development project downtown, today (Howey Politics Indiana). Banks will take part in a discussion, along with Fort Wayne Councilman Tom Didier and Kevan Biggs of RTM Ventures, regarding the ongoing project to develop the facility into a multi-use space.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB JOINS 23 COLLEAGUES IN BACKING ACB - Gov. Eric Holcomb joined 23 other Republican governors Friday to urge the Senate to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court (Indiana Public Media). In a letter to Senate leaders, the Republican Governors Association says it supports the judicial philosophy of President Donald Trump’s nominee and praises her “legal brilliance, independence, thoughtfulness, and impartiality.” Democrats have staunchly opposed the nomination, arguing Republicans should wait until after the election to confirm someone to a lifetime appointment on the nation’s high court. Barrett’s critics charge that she will help to overturn Roe v. Wade, the long-standing abortion rights precedent, and vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

 

GOVERNOR: CROUCH NAMES DESTINATION BOARD - Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) announced the IDDC's Foundation Board. IDDC operates as a joint public-private agency, governed by a six-member board appointed by the governor. Crouch serves as the chair of the board (Howey Politics Indiana). Six members will make up IDDC's Foundation Board. The newly appointed board members are: Shenita Bolton (Fort Wayne), Fort Wayne Community Schools, K-12 College and Career Readiness Manager, will serve through June 30, 2023. Bernice Helman (Terre Haute), Co-owner and VP of Coldwell Banker Helman, will serve through June 30, 2024. Jeff McCabe (Nashville), Chairman of Big Woods, Quaff On! and Hard Truth Hills, will serve through June 30, 2023. Dana More (Munster), COO of Luke Family of Brands, will serve through June 30, 2024. Mario Rodriguez (Indianapolis), Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, will serve through June 30, 2023. Judith Thomas (Indianapolis), Independent Consultant on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access and Past Walker Legacy Center President, will serve through June 30, 2024. "I am honored to oversee the IDDC," said Crouch. "The goal of this organization is to attract and retain business, talent, students, and visitors to our great state."

 

ISDH: MONDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health today announced that 1,581 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 136,555 the total number of Indiana residents known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. A total of 3,568 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of six from the previous day. Another 227 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days. To date, 1,495,852 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 1,486,182 on Sunday. A total of 2,357,865 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

 

INDOT: U.S. 20 DESIGNATED 'MEDAL OF HONOR HIGHWAY' - U.S. Route 20 across northern Indiana has been designated Medal of Honor Memorial Highway (AP). The Indiana Department of Transportation unveiled a sign naming the highway Friday during a ceremony with Hoosier veterans groups. Legislation introduced by Republican state Rep. Denny Zent of Angola calling for the renaming won unanimous approval by the General Assembly this year. Indiana joins a national effort to rename the entire stretch of U.S. 20, which runs more than 3,300 miles (5,310 kilometers) from Boston to Newport, Oregon.

 

ISP: FALLEN TROOPER REMEMBERED - Sunday, Oct. 11 is a day of remembrance for Indiana State Police here in Lafayette. On this day last year, Trooper Peter "Bo" Stephan died while on duty. He was involved in a single-vehicle crash heading to a 911 call (WLFI-TV). Officers are honoring his legacy with a "Hero Workout." They exercised for 14 minutes to represent District 14, which is where they serve. And they did specific workouts in a pattern of the numbers 9-1-1-8, which was Stephan's badge number. ISP Trooper Corey Brown said Stephan is always on their minds. "Bo was the perfect example of what the Indiana State Police is all about so whether we come across a situation or encounter something, we always think, what would Bo do, because Bo would always go out of his way to go above and beyond and do what he could for anyone," said Brown.

 

JUDICIARY: JUDGE BARKER UPHOLDS ABORTION RESTRICTIONS - A federal judge has upheld several Indiana laws restricting abortion that were challenged by a group that has fought a legal battle to open an abortion clinic in South Bend (AP). The ruling, however, allowed Texas-based Whole Woman's Health Alliance to continue its lawsuit against other Indiana abortion restrictions. The group sued the state last year after the state health department denied its request for a license to operate the clinic performing medication-induced abortions in South Bend. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued the ruling Friday, upholding several state law provisions, including the requirement that all abortion clinics obtain a state license; that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; that doctors must perform an ultrasound on the pregnant woman at least 18 hours before an abortion procedure, and requirements of parental consent for abortions involving those younger than 18. Barker allowed court action to continue on the group's lawsuit against other provisions.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - The president will depart the White House at 5:50 p.m. He will travel to Johnstown, Pa. Trump will arrive at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport at 6:55 p.m. He will deliver a campaign speech at 7 p.m. and depart at 8:25 p.m. en route back to Washington. He will arrive at the White House at 9:30 p.m.

 

MICHIGAN: SUPRME COURT NEGATES WHITMER ON COVID - The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday denied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request to delay the effect of an opinion that ruled her executive orders on the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional (CNN). Ten days ago, the court ruled Whitmer, a Democrat who is a former prosecutor and a first-term governor, had no authority to issue or renew executive orders relating to Covid-19 beyond April 30. Whitmer filed a motion last Monday, saying more time was needed to "allow for an orderly transition during which some responsive measures can be placed under alternative executive authority and the Governor and Legislature can work to address many other pandemic-related matters that currently fall under executive orders." In its order Monday, the court wrote that "our decision today ... leaves open many avenues for our Governor and Legislature to work together in a cooperative spirit and constitutional manner to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic."

 

Local

 

INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCIL PASSES $1.2B BUDGET - The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday unanimously approved a $1.29 million budget for 2021 Mayor Joe Hogsett made the budget proposal in early August and council members have spent the past two months vetting it in various committees (IBJ). Also, in a late-Monday vote, the council approved a controversial proposal that calls for adding four civilians to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department General Orders Committee. The committee, which guides and approves department procedures, is currently made up of two members appointed by the police chief and one appointed by the police union. Republican council members said adding civilian input to the committee was a good idea, but expressed concern at the major step of putting it under civilian control. The approved budget calls for revenue and expenses that are up about $78 million from 2020’s budget. It proposes taking in $113,884 more than it spends, leading Hogsett’s administration to characterize it as the fourth consecutive balanced budget since he took office in 2016. “This balanced budget prepares for an uncertain financial future while continuing to make investments that will keep our roads paved, our neighborhoods safe, and our community moving forward,” Hogsett said in written remarks.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: OSILI COMMENTS ON BUDGET PASSAGE - The following statement may be attributed to City-County Council President Vop Osili upon passage of the City's 2021 budget proposal (Howey Politics Indiana): "Tonight’s unanimous vote on the city’s 2021 budget is the culmination of a months-long process in which this Council, for the first time in our city’s 200-year history, centered our budget review process on considerations of equity. I am thankful to every member of this Council and to our partners in the administration who undertook a thorough examination of whether, and how, the allocation of our city’s fiscal resources impacts inequities of race, place, and identity throughout our community. Their efforts made clear that we have a long way to go, but I’m confident our collective, cooperative work has set us on the right path."

 

INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT AIDE DELETES TWEET - Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s chief of staff tweeted and then deleted a photo on his personal Twitter account over the weekend that included an image of him flipping off the camera while the mayor eats pizza (IBJ). Thomas Cook, who has worked with Hogsett almost a decade, since the Democrat’s time as U.S. attorney, said the post was meant to be a joke among friends. And he said he deleted it when he “saw people were misinterpreting things.” The tweet was a takeoff on a meme—which is essentially a themed, viral social media post—that has been sweeping across Twitter, Facebook and other sites over the past few days. The memes feature two photos, one labeled, “How it started,” and the other “How it’s going.” In a follow-up post, he credited the photos to the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, Taylor Schaffer, whom Cook said “did approve of this tweet and all complaints should be directed to her.” That post also has been deleted.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: MIAMI NATION THANKS COUNCILMAN - City-County Councillor Jason Larrison (District 12) offered a proclamation recognizing today as Indigenous People’s Day in Indianapolis (Howey Politics Indiana). Standing with Dr. Scott Shoemaker, who is a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and curator of Native American art, history and culture at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Larrison called recognition of Indigenous People’s Day “long overdue. I would like to thank the City of Indianapolis for recognizing today as Indigenous People’s Day.”

 

FORT WAYNE: COMMISSION APPROVES NEW ELECTRIC WORKS AGREEMENT – Two months after the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission voted to terminate an economic development agreement with the Electric Works project, the same group approved a new agreement. It was done in a 3 to 2 vote (Darby, WANE-TV). The vote on the new agreement came just days after Mayor Tom Henry announced Cincinnati based Model Group was joining RTM Ventures in transforming the former General Electric campus. Ash Brokerage’s Tim Ash also revealed he would be a new investor in the project. The new agreement pledges the same amount of public funds, $65 million, to the project and must go through another round of approval votes from public entities including Fort Wayne City Council and the Capital Improvement Board. A closing date of December 31 of this year has been set as a requirement in the new agreement.

 

GRIFFITH: 4 BARS, TOWN OFFICE CLOSE DUE TO COVID SPIKE - Four bars in Griffith and the clerk-treasurer's office have temporarily closed in recent days because of coronavirus exposure (Pete, NWI Times). Bridge's Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar, John's Place, Set 'Em Up Lanes and the American Legion all reported positive cases of coronavirus. And the town of Griffith has shut down its clerk-treasurer's office for a deep cleaning after several employees ate lunch together at one of the closed restaurants last week. The Griffith Town Hall already has been closed to the public since March except for appointments, but town employees have still been working there. "It might have spread from one of the bars to the others," Town Council President Rick Ryfa said. "We're going to be talking to the bar owners today to see what's happening and how it's occurring."

 

HAMILTON: COVID PROMPTS SCHOOL TO GO VIRTUAL – Hamilton Community Schools announced Monday evening that it would be going virtual for the remainder of the week. This decision comes after a second grader tested positive for COVID-19 and interreacted with multiple students and teachers outside of the school (WANE-TV).

 

MICHIGAN CITY: COUNCIL EYES $800K IN BUDGET CUTS — Michigan City’s municipal budget for 2021 was cut by approximately $110,000 last week, and could be reduced by another $700,000 at the Common Council’s Oct. 20 meeting (LaPorte County Herald-Dispatch). The council voted to eliminate paid secretary positions for the Michigan City Police Commission, Fire Commission, Tree Board and Historic Review Board.

 

EAST CHICAGO: COUNCIL ADJUSTS PD, FD SALARIES — Although facing a possible veto from the mayor's office, the City Council has approved an ordinance adjusting salaries for police and fire personnel for 2021 (Czapkowicz, NWI Times). "The intent of the adjustments made to the police and fire salary ordinance was to return benefits to the officers that existed a decade ago when there was substantial changes made in order to protect the fiscal health of the the city," said City Council financial advisor Steve Dalton.

 

SEYMOUR: CUMMINS TO INVEST $25M IN PLANT - Cummins Inc. has announced plans to invest more than $25 million at its Seymour Engine Plant over the next several years, a move that is expected to create and retain more than 150 jobs over the next decade (Columbus Republic). The announcement was made acknowledging the support of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the City of Seymour and Duke Energy. “After our significant investments into our manufacturing and tech center infrastructure over the last 10 years, our latest expansion decision will once again expand our ability to serve global markets and bring new products and technology from our high horsepower engine hub in Seymour,” said Norbert Nusterer, President, Power Systems Business Segment, Cummins Inc.

 

LaPORTE: RESIDENTS CAN SELF REPORT MINOR CRIMES — Residents of LaPorte no longer need to speak directly to a police officer to file a non-emergency police report (NWI Times). A new online system launched last week enables city residents to self-report many types of less serious incidents, including theft, vandalism, identity theft, fraud, harassing phone calls and civil matters. LaPorte Police Chief Paul Brettin said the technology will help free up the city's limited number of officers to spend more time patrolling the streets. "While our officers are always happy to help the residents of our city, reporting takes a good chunk of their time each day," Brettin said.

 

LAKE COUNTY: SCHEUB SEEKS COMEBACK - The race for 2nd District Lake County Commissioner has become a debate over the cost of county government (Dolan, NWI Times). Commissioner Jerry Tippy, a Schererville Republican, is running for reelection on in the Nov. 3 general election. To win, Tippy must defeat Crown Point Democrat Gerry Scheub, the man who held the office from 1996 to 2016. Scheub held a lock on the job for 20 years by being, what he called, the mayor of south county. He attended to maintaining and plowing south county highways and worked the sandbag line in times of Kankakee River flooding. Scheub also benefitted from a district that includes the Democratic strongholds of Merrillville and Lake Station. The Indiana General Assembly redrew the district’s boundaries further south into the county where most Republicans live and vote. It was the game changer Tippy used to beat Scheub four years ago.

 

VERMILLION COUNTY: COVID HITS COUNTY'S ONLY HOSPITAL - There is just one hospital in western Indiana’s Vermillion County. The slender, 37-mile long county is dotted with corn and soybean fields, and driving from one end to the other would take nearly an hour. Union Hospital Clinton is small, only 25 beds, but it also serves parts of two neighboring counties (Barrett, Indiana Public Media). The area suffers from some of Indiana’s highest rates of heart attack and stroke. Like many hospitals around the country, Union was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. Elective procedures were suspended, protective equipment was more expensive, and staff feared losing their jobs. And while Vermillion County has not seen a spike in coronavirus cases, the financial fallout is still troubling. “Our relationships in this health care sector in our rural communities is a very vital source,” says hospital Vice President and Administrator Stephanie Laws. “To take that away, you think, what would that alternative future look like?” Nationwide, more than 130 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and the pace accelerated last year. Indiana has been largely spared, but now experts wonder if COVID-19 will push its small, rural hospitals to the point of closure. Union Hospital Clinton has higher profits from patient care than similar hospitals in Indiana. Statewide, the average profit from patient at rural hospitals was less than 1 percent in 2019, according to data compiled by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Unlike many rural hospitals, the Union Hospital Clinton’s margin was in double digits.