HOUSE VOTES TO REFER BANNON TO DOJ FOR CONTEMPT: The House passed a resolution Thursday finding Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress and asking the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution over his refusal to cooperate with an investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The resolution passed largely along party lines in a 229-202 vote. Nine Republicans voted for the measure (NBC News). "Steve Bannon has led us down this path by refusing to cooperate in any way with our investigation," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House select committee probing the riot, said on the House floor ahead of the vote. He said the committee needs to talk to Bannon because he has potentially important information about the effort to delay the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6. In a Jan. 5 podcast, Bannon said, "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. ... So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.' Well, this is your time in history." "Mr. Bannon stands alone in his defiance and we will not stand for it," Thompson said. "We need to make it clear no person is above the law." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had urged his members to vote against the contempt finding, saying the panel had issued "an invalid subpoena" in part because of the lack of Republican representation on the Jan. 6 committee.

 

NINE REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR CONTEMPT; REP. PENCE ABSTAINS: The Republican ayes: Peter Meijer (Mich.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.) and Nancy Mace (S.C.) (Politico). Seven of those members voted to impeach President Donald Trump following the insurrection — except Mace and Fitzpatrick. Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), the brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, did not vote. Hannah Osantowski, a spokeswoman for Pence, said the congressman had a family medical emergency that he had to attend to, but he would have voted no” on the resolution (Columbus Republic). In one of the stranger developments of the day, Cheney called out Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) for writing a letter to the Department of the Interior last month claiming to be the “ranking member” of the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 (his appointment, he noted in the letter, was blocked by Speaker NANCY PELOSI) and “asking to be provided with any information the department turns over to the House committee,”

 

PENCE CASHING IN ON 2024 RUN: Mike and Karen Pence are living their best lives. No, really. Almost a year after Donald Trump nearly got them murdered at the Capitol by a band of rioters trying to overturn the election, the former second couple is living in a nearly $2 million mansion in suburban Indianapolis (LoBianco, Vanity Fair). Mike Pence has a megawatt book deal in the bag with Simon & Schuster. And the two are traveling widely, with Mike Pence getting paid upwards of $100,000 a speech, according to Republicans who spoke on background. In perhaps one of the most unlikely trollings of the former president, Mike Pence also remains a top-tier candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024. In a Politico/Morning Consult poll released last week, Pence dominated among Republicans who don’t want Trump to run again, pulling in 26% support, compared to 20% who would pick Florida governor Ron DeSantis if the primary were held today. A separate poll released last month by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies found similar strength for Pence, with the former veep clearly leading the field if Trump doesn’t run, and still drawing 13% support if Trump does. Which is why statements like his brush-off of the insurrection that almost claimed his life befuddle normal people, but make all the sense in the world to his inner circle and those eyeing the expansive 2024 shadow field.

 

LIMITED DATA AVAILABLE TO HEALTH CARE COMMISSION: More than a dozen members of the Governor’s Public Health Commission met Thursday to discuss workforce issues facing the statewide system, but they faced challenges analyzing anything because of limited data (Downard, CNHI). “I could go on and on about what we know about national public health workers but, to be specific to Indiana, we have a problem,” said Dr. Valerie A. Yeager, with the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. “(Some of) this data is really limited, and it’s probably too limited to be actionable.” Yeager urged the commission to be cautious in using available data, as it only partially represents the current public health workforce, partly due to low response rates to surveys. She said that approximately 70% of the state’s 94 local health departments served populations of less than 50,000 people in rural settings. On average, those departments had five full-time employees, but many had zero full-time workers and relied on part-time employees. Just 39 agencies had a full-time local health official, and 55 had part-time health officials. “The vast majority of public health workers — nationally four out of five — do not have formal training in public health,” Yeager said. “Some positions within a public health agency may not require public health expertise, but this is important because cross-training, especially in small agencies, is really crucial.” The shortage of workers comes even as the number of public health graduates grew from 214 in 2011 to 591 graduates in 2020, a 176% increase. Researcher Courtney Medlock, with the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at IU School of Medicine, said there was no available data to indicate where those students had gone.

 

SEN. BALDWIN DESCRIBES DONATING TO OATH KEEPERS 11 YEARS AGO: Sen. Scott Baldwin told Howey Politics Indiana he made a donation to Oath Keepers 11 years ago when running for sheriff of Hamilton County. “I initially had no recollection or familiarity with the organization, but have since discovered that back in April 2010, more than 11 years ago, when I was running for county sheriff, an advocate for the organization described it to me as a 2nd Amendment rights group, and I donated $30," Baldwin said in a statement to HPI. "I haven’t had any interaction or communication since. Recent media reports indicate that the group has changed significantly since its founding in 2009." - State Sen. Scott Baldwin, R-Noblesville, on a ProPublica report that he is an "annual" member of the Oath Keepers, which played a pivotal role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Senate Republican Leader Sen. Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) noted Baldwin said he wasn't affiliated with the group. "In his time in the Indiana Senate, Sen. Baldwin has been a very thoughtful and capable leader for us on a number of subjects," Bray said in a statement.

 

SCHMUHL CALLS ON GOP TO DENOUNCE OATH KEEPERS: “It’s alarming to see the Indiana Republican Party connected to the domestic terrorist organization responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection and the attempt to overthrow the United States government. State Sen. Scott Baldwin’s membership to this extremist group invalidates Hoosier and American values, and in normal times, would disqualify him from holding this office. Indiana Democrats have said since January 6 that Indiana Republicans are endorsing a form of extreme partisanship that divides communities and puts the safety of Hoosier families at risk – and sadly, it’s becoming more true by the day. It’s time for INGOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Scott Baldwin to denounce the Oath Keepers, and for Baldwin to reexamine whether or not he is fit to hold his current office.” – Indiana Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl, on the ProPublica report that State Sen. Scott Baldwin is an "annual member" of Oath Keepers (Howey Politics Indiana).

 

GREENSBURG OFFERING INCENTIVES TO REMOTE WORKERS TO RELOCATE: The city of Greensburg is trying to attract remote workers by offering financial incentives to move there (Herrick, WIBC). Your relocation package includes $5k to offset moving expenses, a year’s membership to the local co-working space and YMCA, and gift cards to the seasonal farmers market, among other things. “We’ve had great success so far. We’re over 500 applications already in less than a week or so. Now, we’re going through the vetting process to find us some new neighbors,” said Joshua Marsh, mayor of Greensburg, in an interview with “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning. Marsh says you are the perfect candidate if you are working remotely with a high income, but would like that “small city feel with great schools in the Midwest.”

 

SALVATION ARMY COLLECTS COATS FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES: The Salvation Army Indiana Division has collected 1,600 coats for Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury, but with 7,000 at the base there is still a donation gap (Daily Journal). State officials gathered Thursday morning with leaders from The Salvation Army at the Kessler-Moore Readiness Center, an Indiana National Guard facility in Indianapolis, to share an update on refugee needs. Afghans quickly exited their homeland with only the summer clothes on their backs. Many didn’t have time to pack a bag while escaping for their safety, let alone a suitcase big enough for a winter coat. Now, with colder temperatures setting in, the 7,000 refugees housed at the southern Johnson County base are unprepared for winter. Donations are being gathered at local businesses and organizations around the state and at nine Indiana National Guard facilities.

 

ACTOR BALDWIN PROBED IN FATAL SET SHOOTING: Authorities are investigating after confirming that a prop firearm discharged by actor Alec Baldwin, while producing and starring in a Western movie, killed the cinematographer and wounded the director. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officials said Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on the movie “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday on the rustic film set in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe (AP). Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, the sheriff’s department said. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries. Production was halted on the film. A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, though a charge without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill at a moderate distance. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 63-year-old Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Truth Social, eh? That's what Donald Trump has named his new social media platform. That's a curious name for a platform featuring the former president who lied about anything and everything. He lied about stuff he didn't even need to lie about. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

POL ELECTED TO SD4: Rodney Pol Jr. of Chesterton was elected to succeed former State Senator Karen Tallian to serve the District 4 seat in the Indiana State Senate (Howey Politics Indiana). Pol, who works as an attorney for the city of Gary, was endorsed at the caucus by the outgoing 16-year lawmaker. Pol won on the second ballot with 29 votes, defeating Deborah Chubb with 14 and Todd Connor with 11. “First and foremost, the Indiana Democratic Party wants to thank Karen Tallian for her service to District 4 and Indiana with the kind of honor, passion, and commitment that exemplifies the definition of what a public servant should be in our politics," said Democratic Chairman Mike Schmuhl. "Senator Tallian has been a perennial champion for Hoosier families, and her advocacy for issues like women’s health care, criminal justice reform, and future cannabis legalization have made a major impact on our state. We wish Karen the best, and know that she won’t be too far away from the ongoing debates facing Indiana. Pol is a proven leader in the Chesterton community, and Democrats could not be more excited to have another champion in the General Assembly fighting for a better future for Hoosier families. Pol will join Democrats in advocating for livable wage jobs for workers, affordable and accessible broadband internet, and fully-funding Indiana’s public schools. Democrats are delivering solutions to today’s problems for Hoosiers and I know Rodney is ready to get to work. - Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party

 

BUTTIGIEG URGED TO RUN IN 2024:  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been holding informal dinners with top Democratic donors who are urging him to run against VP Kamala Harris for president if Biden doesn’t seek another term, Insider’s Adam Wren and Robin Bravender report. “They’re driven in part by a lack of confidence in Vice President Kamala Harris’ performance so far, and some don’t think Buttigieg should wait in line behind Harris if Biden opts against running for a second term. Other dinner attendees think Buttigieg is better off waiting until 2028 or even later.” Wren later backed off the report, tweeting that Sec. Buttigieg did not attend any dinners.

 

SEN. JON FORD SEEKS REELECTION: State Sen. Jon Ford has announced he is seeking another term in SD38 (Howey Politics Indiana). “When I initially ran for office, I could see great potential for the Wabash Valley, but unfortunately progress wasn’t being made because our elected officials were more interested in playing politics than making real change,” Ford said. “During my tenure in the State Senate, I have remained an independent leader focused on delivering results. I have always put people before politics and have worked with all sides, including business and labor groups, to get things done.  At times I’ve had to stand up to my own party or special interests for the betterment of the district. And I’ve delivered on my promises of providing additional support for our local schools, teachers, and students, protecting and attracting higher-paying jobs for the middle class, securing record infrastructure funding that has allowed us to finally complete the West Terre Haute Connector – among other projects - and improving the local economy.” Ford serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Elections and is a member of the senate committees on Family & Children Services, Appropriations, and Public Policy.

 

ENVIRONMENTALISTS FORM PAC: The state has its first political fundraising organization for the environment. The group Indiana United for Our Future — or INUF— hopes to raise money for environmental candidates running for the state legislature (Indiana Public Media). The nonpartisan group wants to see more state lawmakers pass legislation that addresses climate change and protects Indiana’s natural resources like wetlands and forests. INUF’s Beth Sprunger said when it comes to who gets in office — money talks. “Hopefully we can start competing with some of those other donors who are donating money for organizations that are kind of pushing towards bills that are a detriment to the environment," she said.

 

BIDEN TO CAMPAIGN FOR McAULIFFE: As polls show the Virginia gubernatorial election neck-and-neck between former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, President Biden is scheduled to appear with the Democrat on the campaign trail (Fox News). The McAuliffe campaign put out a media advisory alerting the press that Biden would campaign with McAuliffe on Tuesday, exactly one week before the election.

 

PRANKSTERS HACK TRUMP'S 'TRUTH' MEDIA:  Former president Donald Trump and his team declared Wednesday night that they would soon launch a “media powerhouse” that would help them triumph in their long-running war against Big Tech. But within hours, pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the “donaldjtrump” account (Washington Post). The site has since been pulled offline — evidence that Trump is likely to face a daunting challenge in building an Internet business that can stand on its own. Banned by all major social networks after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump has for months agitated to regain the online megaphone that once blasted his voice around the world. In a presentation released Wednesday by his new media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, his team hailed the new social network as the first tentpole for a Trump-led media, news and Internet empire that would one day compete with Disney, CNN and Facebook.

 

CHENEY LOSES POLITICAL CONSULTANT AFTER McCARTHY THREAT: A prominent Washington lobbyist close to Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, is warning Republican political consultants that they must choose between working for Representative Liz Cheney or Mr. McCarthy, an ultimatum that marks the full rupture between the two House Republicans (New York Times). Jeff Miller, the lobbyist and a confidant of Mr. McCarthy’s dating to their youthful days in California politics, has conveyed this us-or-her message to Republican strategists in recent weeks, prompting one fund-raising firm to disassociate itself from Ms. Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming. In response, The Morning Group, a fund-raising firm she hired to help prepare for a primary next year against a challenger endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, informed her last month they could no longer work on her campaign, according to Republicans familiar with the matter.

 

Polls

 

BIDEN APPROVAL 41% IN CNBC SURVEY: President Joe Biden’s approval rating slipped deeply underwater in the CNBC All-America Economic Survey as Americans soured on his economic leadership, lost some confidence in his handling of the coronavirus, and grew increasingly concerned about inflation and supply shortages. Just 41% of the public approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency, compared with 52% who disapprove. The poll of 800 Americans, conducted Oct. 14-17, has a margin of error of 3.5%. Biden’s negative 11-point net rating compared with a positive 3 points in the July survey, when 48% approved and 45% disapproved.

 

Congress

 

YOUNG INTRODUCES HEALTH DETERMINATE BILL: U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would empower states and local governments to improve health outcomes by addressing the economic and social conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play (Howey Politics Indiana). The Social Determinants Accelerator Act would establish a federal interagency council to better leverage existing programs and address the barriers to coordination between health and social services programs. The bill would also help states and localities develop innovative strategies to address social determinants in their communities. “A person’s health should not be dependent on where they live or the economic challenges they face,” said Senator Young. “If we attack the challenges, such as reliable transportation and affordable housing, that negatively impact the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens, we can make our citizens healthier.”

 

BUCHSON EYES HEALTH CARE CUTS: U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.-08), penned an op-ed for Modern Healthcare urging Congress to act to address looming reimbursement cuts that will interfere with doctors pay (Howey Politics Indiana). “For over 19 months, our nation’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic fighting each day for the health and well-being of our loved ones. With the insurgence of the delta variant flooding hospitals across the nation with patients, our nation’s healthcare workers have been once again dealing with overcrowded hospitals, staffing shortages, and equipment issues. “Now with more than 700,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the pandemic and the surges in COVID-19 cases during the past several months, it is no secret that our healthcare professionals are spread thin. This makes the decision by the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress to not address looming physician pay cuts during a pandemic completely incomprehensible,” said Congressman Bucshon.

 

WALORSKI MOVES MISHAWAKA OFFICE: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today announced that her Mishawaka office has relocated. Starting on November 8, Congresswoman Walorski’s office will operate at 2410 Grape Road, Suite 2 in Mishawaka on Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. (Howey Politics Indiana) “It is my privilege to serve the Hoosiers of Indiana’s 2nd District, and I am thrilled that our new Mishawaka office will continue to be a convenient resource for my constituents,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “My Mishawaka office serves as a home base for 2nd District service and outreach. Every day, my team and I are standing by to help Hoosiers cut through red tape with federal agencies and get answers. I am looking forward to continuing our longstanding commitment to constituent-centered service at our new office on Grape Road.” For assistance during the move or to set up an appointment with one of our caseworkers, please call us at (574) 204-2645.

 

SPARTZ SCHEDULES LISTENING SESSIONS: U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) continues to host listening sessions across Indiana’s fifth congressional district with the next two taking place in Pendleton and Anderson on Saturday, October 23. Pendleton Community Public Library, 595 East Water St., 11 a.m.; Anderson Public Library, 111 East 12th St., 1 p.m./

 

MANCHIN DENIES REPORT HE WANTS TO LEAVE DEMS: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in an exclusive interview with The Hill on Thursday said he has no plans to leave the Democratic Party and has not threatened to do so (The Hill). “What he reported is simply untrue,” Manchin told The Hill in response to questions about a story in Mother Jones this week that said he was considering leaving the Democratic Party if President Biden and Senate Democrats did not agree to slash the social spending bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion.  “I’m not threatening to leave. Why would I? I’m very secure in my positions and honestly, I’m not the one stressed out,” Manchin said.

 

The HOUSE will meet at 9 a.m. to take up the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, with first and last votes expected between 10:45 a.m. and noon.

 

The SENATE is out.

 

General Assembly

 

KRUSE TO INTRODUCE ANTI-VAX MANDATE BILL:  State Sen. Dennis Kruse is pushing back against President Biden’s mandate to require COVID-19 vaccines for companies with 100 or more workers (WPTA-TV). He says he is working with other state lawmakers to create a bill to keep the mandate from applying to the Hoosier state. Senator Kruse told me he plans to introduce his bill after the first of the year. "I think we should have the liberty to decide if we want a vaccine or not,” Kruse said.  ABC21 talked with Kruse about the reasons behind his opinions and how he thinks requiring this vaccine may differ from other vaccine requirements. In "U.S. News and World Report,” the president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said requiring workers to be vaccinated should be an employer's decision. Some large companies in the Hoosier state like Eli Lilly and Anthem have mandates. Kruse doesn’t think any employers should be allowed to mandate the vaccine. "I do not agree with that. It should be up to the individual, not the company,” he said.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSION EYES WORKFORCE ISSUES - The Governor’s Public Health Commission met Thursday to discuss issues affecting the public health workforce (WANE-TV). The group took a deep dive into the the number of people in the public health sector. Could a state incentive bring and keep more workers in the health care industry? The idea of a higher tobacco tax was floated to pay for better health. Most other states provide more money than Indiana does to help their county health departments. The commission also heard ideas such as eliminating unnecessary licensing for some workers and using more health care students as paid workers to beef up public health resources. Commission member Mindy Waldron, with the Allen County Department of Health, said figuring out where we are now is the next step.

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Gov. Holcomb Public Schedule: 3:15 p.m.Friday, Oct. 22: FIFA and US Soccer Delegation site visit to Cincinnati for 2026 FIFA World Cup, Gov. Eric Holcomb; Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky; Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio Victor Montagliani, FIFA vice president & CONCACAF president; and Colin Smith, chief tournaments & events officer, FIFA. The governor will give brief remarks during a press conference, Paul Brown Stadium, Gate D (Elm St. entrance), 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati.

 

ISDH: THURSDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana State Department of Health on Thursday reported 26 deaths from COVID-19, raising the cumulative total to 15,909 (IBJ). The seven-day moving average of new deaths rose from 19 to 20 per day, the health department said. The department reported 2,161 more cases of COVID-19, up from 2,023 the previous day. The cumulative total rose to 1,005,797. Statewide hospitalizations due to COVID-19 decreased from 1,475 on Tuesday to 1,445 on Wednesday, their lowest number since Aug. 13. Hospitalizations reached a recent peak of 2,687 on Sept. 13. COVID patients occupy almost 19% of Indiana’s intensive care unit beds. More than 3.3 million Hoosiers had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday at 5 a.m., after a daily increase of 2,920. More than 253,000 Hoosiers have already gotten vaccine boosters, after a daily increase of 6,249. The health department said 59% of Indiana residents 18 and older are now fully vaccinated.

 

ADMINISTRATION: NEW ARCHIVE SITE CHOSEN - Indiana officials plan to build a $35 million state archives facility on Indianapolis’ near-east side after a yearslong search for a new site to house the state’s vast collection of historical records (Smith, AP). The 50,000-square-foot (4,645-square meter) building is slated for construction in a largely residential neighborhood about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) east of downtown Indianapolis, according to a request for proposals issued by the state’s Department of Administration. The site was formerly home to the Indiana Women’s Prison and until 2016 was used by the Indiana Department of Corrections as a reentry facility. Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects has been selected to design the facility and the state is seeking a construction manager to oversee the building project, with construction starting as early as fall 2022.

 

IDEM: $1.8M AVAILABLE FOR CLEAN AIR PROGRAMS - The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) announced Round 3 of grant funding for the DieselWise Indiana with Volkswagen DERA Option program which will distribute awards ranging from $50,000 to $1,000,000 (Howey Politics Indiana). Total available funding for this round is $1.8 million. Grant money will be awarded to clean air projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions from nonroad vehicles or equipment across Indiana. Example projects include installing idle reduction technology on locomotives, replacing diesel-powered switcher locomotives with all-electric locomotives or railcar movers, replacing existing diesel-powered marine engines with new clean-diesel powered engines, and replacing diesel-powered cargo handling equipment with new electric alternatives. Some of the Rounds 1 and 2 projects included replacing diesel-powered switcher locomotive with an all-electric shuttle wagon, replacing 2 landfill compactors with much newer clean-diesel machines, and replacing old diesel-powered terminal tractors with new all-electric alternatives serving the same purpose. These projects will result in notably better air quality for those that live and work around these areas.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA LEADS 19 STATE GROUP ASKING SCOTUS TO UPHOLD TX LAW - On behalf of a 19-state coalition, Attorney General Todd Rokita today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Texas pro-life law by rejecting President Joe Biden's efforts to sideline that law. The law prohibits abortion when doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat and is seen as a model for use in other states (Howey Politics Indiana). “The federal government must respect the boundaries of states’ sovereign authority,” Attorney General Rokita said. “And that authority includes the ability under the Constitution to enact and enforce laws protecting the sanctity of unborn life.” Last week, Attorney General Rokita led a successful 18-state amicus brief supporting the Texas law before a federal appeals court. After striking out at that level, the Biden administration this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law’s enforcement. “The right to life is foundational to American liberty,” Attorney General Rokita said. “In Indiana, Hoosiers will always rise to defend such God-given freedoms.”

 

IURC: I&M RATE HIKE DENIED - Indiana’s consumer advocate for utilities is recommending that state regulators deny Indiana Michigan Power’s latest request for a rate increase (AP). I&M announced in July that it was seeking approval of a 6.5% rate increase, in part to improve technology and reliability, and that the rate hike would result in a less than $10 a month increase for the typical residential customer. But Bill Fine, the Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor, recommended last week that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission deny the rate hike request. He wrote in a filing that “after receiving base rate increases in 2018 and 2020, I&M has not made the case for this increase at this time.”

 

AGRICULTURE: GOOD YIELDS FROM SOUTH BEND TO KOKOMO - In parts of north-central Indiana corn harvest is roughly 50-60 percent complete, while soybeans lag a little, probably in the 45-55 percent range. Those are estimates from Daniel Stauffer, Specialty Hybrids local field sales representative in our latest Yield Check (Eubank, Hoosier Ag Today). “Some guys are totally done, some guys have a long, long way to go,” he said. “Obviously there’s that variability every year, but we’re making some good progress and I think as long as this rain doesn’t do too much in the next day or two, we should be able to make a lot more headway.” The variability extends to actual yields too, but most everywhere you’ll find at least some corn yields in the 200-240 range.

 

BUTLER: HACKATHON BEGINS THIS AFTERNOON - The 48-hour “AT&T 5G Sports Hackathon” at Butler University kicks off Friday afternoon. Brought to you by AT&T, Butler, Indiana Sports Corp and Nextech, the latest AT&T hackathon in Central Indiana will be focused on how 5G technology can be game-changing for the sports world (Howey Politics Indiana). This weekend, Oct. 22 through Oct. 24, teams of developers, designers and other creatives will gather at the Butler Health and Recreation Complex to come up with tech solutions to sports challenges that organizers will pose to them. Participants will also hear from 5G and edge compute experts, as well as leaders from local sports teams, venues and public safety, as they think about the challenges and how to tackle them. More than $100,000 in prizes will be up for grabs during the main competition.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN CONFIDENCE DEALS COMING -  President Joe Biden said he doesn’t think there are enough Democratic votes to raise tax rates in a deal on his economic agenda, but that he believes he’ll reach an agreement on the overall legislative package. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to get the vote,” he said in response to a question about individual and corporate rates at a CNN town hall on Thursday in Baltimore. “Look, when you’re in the United States Senate and you’re president of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, everyone is the president.” A White House official said Biden was referring only to corporate tax rate increases, not other potential provisions to raise federal revenue, including other tax proposals.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN ADVOCATES FOR VOTING RIGHTS AT MLK MEMORIAL - President Joe Biden cast the fight for voting rights in sweeping terms Thursday after the Senate failed to advance a bill on the matter this week, casting blame on Republicans for stymieing the effort in the Senate (CNN). During an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, Biden said, "We now face an inflection point in the battle, literally, for the soul of America" over voting rights, specifically calling out former President Donald Trump's efforts to subvert democracy. "Today, the right to vote and the rule of law are under unrelenting assault from Republican governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state, state legislators, and they're following my predecessor, the last president, into a deep, deep black hole and abyss," Biden said in lengthy remarks at the MLK memorial at Washington D.C.'s Tidal Basin.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SAYS U.S. COMMITTED TO TAIWAN DEFENSE - President Joe Biden on Thursday didn’t hesitate when asked whether the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said during a CNN town hall in Baltimore. But the White House later clarified the president’s comments, telling POLITICO that there had been no change in policy. “The U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act,” a White House spokesperson said. “We will uphold our commitment under the Act, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo.”

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 8 p.m.: Biden will depart the White House en route to Wilmington, Del., where he is scheduled to arrive at 8:55 p.m. VP Harris: — 10:05 a.m.: The VP will depart D.C. en route to New York City. — 12:20 p.m.: Harris will deliver remarks on the administration’s agenda at the Northeast Bronx YMCA with HHS Secretary Becerra. — 3:25 p.m.: Harris will depart New York to return to D.C. The White House Covid-19 response team and public health officials will brief at 11 a.m. Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 1:30 p.m.

 

CDC: APPROVES MIXING VAX - Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said Thursday (AP). Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too. And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of “mixing and matching” that extra dose regardless of which type people received first. The Food and Drug Administration had already authorized such an expansion of the nation’s booster campaign on Wednesday, and it was also endorsed Thursday by a CDC advisory panel. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had the final word on who gets the extra doses. “These past 20 months have taught us many things, but mostly to have humility,” she told the panel. “We are constantly learning about this virus, growing the evidence base and accumulating more data.”

 

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - CBS “Face the Nation”: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Gita Gopinath, Scott Gottlieb. MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Melanie Campbell, Andrew Young, Iowa state Rep. Ross Wilburn, Steve Schmidt. NBC “Meet the Press”: Panel: Brendan Buck, Eugene Daniels, María Teresa Kumar and Ayesha Rascoe. ABC “This Week”: Panel: Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Jane Coaston and Sarah Isgur. CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Molly Ball, Seung Min Kim, Amy Walter and Zolan Kanno-Youngs. “Fox News Sunday”: Panel: Bret Baier, Julie Pace and Juan Williams. Power Player: Edward Luthy.

 

MARYLAND: 3 WESTERN COUNTIES SEEK TO SECEDE TO WVA - State legislators in three conservative western Maryland counties are seeking permission to secede from the state to join neighboring West Virginia. In letters to West Virginia state House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R) and Senate President Craig Blair (R), six Republican Maryland state legislators who represent Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties asked the legislature to consider adding their residents to the Mountaineer State (The Hill). “We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies,” the identical letters read. “Please advise on next steps.” Garrett and Allegany counties are west of the West Virginia panhandle. Washington County, home of Hagerstown, is north of Martinsburg, W.Va. All three counties are far more conservative than Maryland as a whole. President Biden won 65.3 percent of the vote in Maryland, and just 21 percent in Garrett County, 30 percent in Allegany and 38 percent in Washington County.

 

FLORIDA: LAUNDRIE REMAINS CONFIRMED - Human remains found in a Florida nature reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of his fiancée Gabby Petito, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday, after a weekslong manhunt that garnered national attention (Wall Street Journal). Investigators earlier this week had found what appeared to be human remains and a backpack and notebook that belonged to Mr. Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve near Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Fla., Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa field office, said Wednesday. The area had been underwater until recently, Mr. McPherson said, making search efforts for the team more challenging.

 

Local

 

FORT WAYNE: RED RIVER TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS - Red River Waste Solutions said it plans to continue its usual day-to-day operations as it reorganizes through bankruptcy (Filchak, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Red River, Fort Wayne's contracted trash hauler, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Oct. 14 through federal court in Texas, where the company is based. Red River is now protected by bankruptcy law and can either continue to provide trash service itself or assign the contract to another company. Jim Calandra, Red River's chief restructuring officer, said in a statement that Red River “intends for its day-to-day operations, engagement with customers, and top-notch service to continue as usual.” Red River, which Calandra's statement said is an integral part of the communities it serves, was affected adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related challenges. “These challenges include a historic labor shortage and a pandemic-driven increase in waste volumes,” the statement said. “These factors have significantly increased our labor costs, the stress on our great employees, and our rolling stock, all resulting in challenges with our current lender, even though we have maintained our excellent customer service levels required by our customers.”

 

BLOOMINGTON: MAN ARRESTED IN ISLAMIC CENTER VANDALISM — Police have arrested the man believed to be responsible for vandalizing a mosque in Bloomington early Monday morning and leaving behind a mess of damage (WISH-TV). Adam Walls, 32, was arrested Thursday and charged with institutional criminal mischief. The recent vandalism highlights the huge surge of hate crimes across Indiana. According to an FBI report, in 2019, 80 hate crimes were recorded in Indiana. In 2020, there were 186.

 

MONROE COUNTY: MASK MANDATE EXTENDED THROUGH NOV. 30 - The Monroe County Board of Health unanimously voted Thursday to extend the county-wide mask mandate through Nov. 30 (Indiana Public Media). Currently, Monroe County is at 111 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. There is an exception to the mask order - it could also expire at midnight on any Wednesday the state map shows a drop below 50 cases per 100,000. (The state updates the numbers on its dashboard on Wednesdays) Health department board member Robert Wrenn said the mandate should be extended because IU Bloomington’s vaccination rate is 93 percent, yet Monroe County’s rate is only 60.7 percent. “If the IU [percentage] tips the scale uphill, shouldn’t we continue being careful about opening the door if our community is not vaccinated?” he said.

 

WELLS COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS PASS ANTI-MASK RESOLUTION — The Wells County Commissioners have voted unanimously on a new resolution that would defy any future mask mandates or COVID-19 immunization passports (WANE-TV). “What we’ve done and said is we are not going to mandate the citizens and taxpayers of Wells County to wear masks or focus them to take vaccinations against their will,” said Michael Vanover, Wells County Commissioner. “The resolution itself spells out what elected officials, specifically the commissioners of Wells County, stand.”

 

LAKE COUNTY: SEWERS TO REPLACE SEPTIC SYSTEMS - Lake County is preparing to invest a large share of its $94 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds into connecting more than a thousand homes and businesses onto sanitary sewers and getting them off leaking, failing septic systems (Carden, NWI Times). The Lake County Commissioners agreed in principle Wednesday to begin moving forward with a four-year sewerage plan that aims to reduce the amount of E. coli and other harmful bacteria that tests show are increasingly popping up in ditches and other county waterways.

 

MARION COUNTY: CENTER TWP. CONSTABLE GETS DUI - A Marion County constable faces felony charges for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated earlier this year after having already been convicted of asimilar misdemeanor chargein 2016 (IndyStar). The charges could put Center Township constable Lance Stephens' elected position in jeopardy. Fishers police pulled Stephens over in the early morning hours of April 11, saying that he was speeding, disregarded a stop light and made an unsafe lane change in the area of 116th Street and I-69, according to the probable cause affidavit.

 

PORTER COUNTY: ELECTION OFFICIALS SHIFT PRECINCTS - The Porter County Election Board shifted a few precinct boundaries Thursday after new Indiana House of Representatives districts sliced through them (Ross, NWI Times). Boone Township’s Precinct 1 was split between District 4 and District 11. The portion of Boone the district in District 11 is shifting to Boone Township Precinct 5. In Union Township’s Precinct 7, the part of the precinct in House District 19 was shifted to Precinct 2. The portion of Precinct 7 in District 4 merged with Precinct 3. Some other precincts were affected by legislative maps, County Clerk Jessica Bailey said, but action on that is awaiting a closer view by a county GIS specialist. “We were forced” to do this by the state, Bailey said. If the county Election Board hadn’t taken action, candidates filing for office in January could have been affected.

 

BENTON COUNTY: TEACHERS TO RECEIVE 10% RAISE — Teachers and staff at Benton Community School Corp. are getting a raise (WLFI-TV). The school board on Wednesday approved a two-year contract with the teachers' union. Under the contract, starting teacher salaries will rise to $39,000 this year and $43,000 next year. Teachers making more than that will receive a $3,000 raise, says Superintendent Scott Van Der Aa. On average, all teachers will receive a 10% raise. "Really, I think this raise is the board and myself as part of the process trying to show we want to invest in teachers because teachers and our staff are who invest in our students on a daily basis," Van Der Aa says.