HOUSE DEMS BRACE FOR NEW MAPS:  Indiana’s significant population shifts over the past decade mean rural areas will lose seats in the state Legislature while Indianapolis and its surrounding suburbs will gain influence (Davies, AP). Republicans, however, can be expected to use their iron-clad control of the once-a-decade redistricting process to draw new election districts for Indiana House and Senate seats that help maintain their commanding majorities in the General Assembly. Democratic Rep. Sue Errington knows that the Muncie district she first won in 2012 could be on the chopping block when Republicans release on Tuesday the proposed new Indiana House and U.S. House maps that they’ve drawn behind closed doors. Errington’s district lost 7% of its population since 2010 for one of the largest drops among the 100 Indiana House seats, according to a census analysis by City University of New York. It is surrounded by Republican-held districts that also lost population and have to gain territory, making Errington a potential target. “If they were ready to get rid of me, it would be pretty easy,” Errington said. The district held by Democratic Rep. Earl Harris of East Chicago sustained a 10% population loss for the biggest drop of any district. Harris, vice chairman of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, said he’s concerned about diminished minority representation following redistricting. “If you eliminate voices, I think that makes the state weaker,” Harris said.


WESCO ACKNOWLEDGES POPULATION SHIFTS: Republicans might have to shed some of their rural districts as more than half of the state’s 92 counties lost residents over the past decade. But the fastest-growing areas are also friendly Republican territory, with all five state House districts that grew by more than 20% being GOP-held seats in suburban Indianapolis (AP). Republican State Rep. Tim Wesco of Osceola, chairman of the House elections committee, said he anticipated some dramatic changes in legislative district maps. “You’re definitely going to see some of these districts that already have quite a few counties, probably gain a few more counties and expand,” Wesco said. Republicans plan to move quickly to approve the new districts, with the House elections committee holding two days of public hearings Wednesday and Thursday followed by votes in the full House next week. Proposed state Senate maps are set for release Sept. 21, with a final Senate vote expected Oct. 1.


MAPS TO BE POSTED TODAY: U.S. House of Representatives and Indiana House of Representatives maps to be posted online today at In addition to the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment public meeting set for 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, Chairman Tim Wesco will also host a public meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15 in the House Chamber. Wesco added the meeting to provide another opportunity for the public, including those who observe Yom Kippur, to provide input on the maps. The purpose of these meetings is to gather feedback from the public on the initial drafts of the U.S. House of Representatives and Indiana House of Representatives maps. Both meetings will be held in the House Chamber of the Statehouse in Indianapolis.


CNN POLL SHOWS MAJORITY FAVOR VAX MANDATES: Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The shift comes amid renewed worries about the pandemic and a continued partisan divide over the efforts to combat it. The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights. But there's greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store. Support for these mandates has risen across the board since April, growing 6 percentage points with regard to students, 8 points regarding office workers and event attendees, and 15 points regarding grocery shoppers. An Axios/Ipsos Poll has 60% backing the vaccine mandate.


INDIANA ICU CAPACITY DWINDLES TO 17%: Indiana hospitals continue to take the brunt of a statewide surge in infections and hospitalizations spurred by the more contagious delta variant (AP). The state Health Department’s latest report showed that hospitals around the state were treating 2,631 patients for COVID-19 as of Sunday — up more than six times for the state’s level of about 400 patients a day in early July. Hospitals reported treating 726 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units, taking up more than 33% of available ICU beds. Statewide, nearly 83% of all ICU beds are occupied, while 66.7% of ventilators are available. As patient admissions spike to levels not recorded since last winter’s surge, some Indiana hospitals have announced delays in some non-emergency surgeries, while others have started diverting ambulances away from their emergency rooms and intensive care units. Dr. Chris Weaver, an emergency medicine physician and senior vice president of clinical effectiveness for IU Health, said that while last winter’s surge has taught hospitals to more quickly convert rooms to accommodate critical care patients, ICUs are “full and capacity is tight.” “It’s been crazy busy,” Weaver said. “We’ve seen a big surge — in high volumes — of COVID cases, and pretty much everything. But the COVID burden is adding a great deal to it all.”


ANOTHER 5K SCHOOL COVID CASES: Nearly 5,000 students reported testing positive for COVID-19 last week, according to the Indiana Department of Health (WRTV). The state updates its dashboard of COVID-19 statistics in schools each Monday. The most recent update includes 4,996 COVID-19 cases among students, 254 newly reported cases in teachers and 397 among other staff members. Since the beginning of the school year, 22,236 students, 1,143 teachers and 1,661 staff members have tested postive for COVID-19. A total of 627 schools have not reported COVID-19 numbers to the state health department.


GOP ANTI-VAX STANCE RAISING CONCERNS ABOUT BROADER REJECTION: Republicans’ sweeping denunciations of President Biden’s plan to force more people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are raising concerns among public health experts that this heated criticism could help fuel a broader rejection of other vaccine requirements, including those put in place by schools and the military, as the issue of inoculations becomes increasingly political (Washington Post). Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared on Twitter that there should be “NO VACCINE MANDATES.” More than a dozen other prominent Republicans in Congress and in the states have made similarly defiant statements in recent days, often using inflammatory rhetoric. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster pledged to fight Biden and Democrats “to the gates of hell” on coronavirus vaccine mandates, while Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) condemned Biden’s recent mandate as “authoritarian” and the work of “a power hungry government.” Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) declared in a tweet Sunday evening that “vaccine mandates are unAmerican!” Many of these elected officials have declined to elaborate on their views about vaccine requirements and whether they only object to Biden’s federal plan or also think other mandates put in place by school districts, the military and private employers should be rethought or banned.


TENANT EVICTIONS FILL UP COURT DOCKETS:  It’s been almost three weeks since the latest eviction moratorium ended in August and small claims courts are flooded with cases (Kostiuk, WTHR-TV). For example, in Pike Township, the docket for Tuesday shows 79 out of 109 cases are for evictions, which is about 72 percent of the hearings. That’s just in one day. “Since the end of the CDC eviction moratorium on August 26, we are suddenly starting to see that spike that people have been talking about, being worried about in terms of eviction filings,” said Andrew Bradley, a policy director at Prosperity Indiana, which tracks issues impacting community development. It’s estimated 93,000 Hoosier households are behind on rent and at risk of eviction, according to National Equity Atlas’ Rent Debt Dashboard. Eighty-three percent of them haven’t applied for assistance.


VALPO GOP TAKES HEAT FOR 9/11 FLOAT: The Valparaiso Republican Party won an honorable mention Saturday for a float in the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival parade commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the imagery used of two damaged and smoking (popcorn-covered) models of the World Trade Center towers that were destroyed during the deadly attacks went too far, according to critics both locally and now internationally (Kasarda, NWI Times). "Talk about a 9/11 memorial that misses by a mile ... in an incredibly disrespectful display, a parade in Porter County, Indiana featured models of the Twin Towers with smoke billowing from each," reads a story posted Monday by the online tabloid journalism site TMZ. The story, which features a photo and short video clip of the float in question making its way down Lincolnway in downtown Valparaiso, goes on to say Valparaiso Republicans took enough heat that it limited comments on its Facebook page. The story was also picked up by the London-based Daily Mail, which highlighted an area critic saying, "Beyond tasteless, even without the fog machine going." Porter County Republican Party Chairman Mike Simpson said Monday the float was not intended to be disrespectful or political. It was intended solely to remember the attacks from 20 years ago and all 2,977 people who lost the lives. "I think we hit it spot on," he said.


U.S. BUDGET DEFICIT RISES TO $2.71T: The U.S. budget deficit rose to $2.71 trillion through August, on track to be the second-largest in history due to trillions of dollars in COVID relief (AP). In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit for the first 11 months of this budget year is 9.9% less than the imbalance during the same period last year. For the entire budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a deficit of $3 trillion, which would be just below the record deficit of $3.13 trillion set last year. Last year’s deficit was more than double the previous record of $1.4 trillion set in 2009 during the Obama administration as the government was spending heavily to combat the deep recession after the 2008 financial crisis.


FENCING GOING UP AROUND CAPITOL FOR J6 RALLY: Fencing outside U.S. Capitol is expected to return ahead of the "Justice for J6" rally, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to ABC News. The fencing, erected after the Jan. 6 riot, was removed in July. "Justice for J6" is being billed by organizers as a protest for defendants who are being detained by the government in connection to the January insurrection at the Capitol. The fencing is just the latest security measure for a rally that has some in law enforcement on high alert.


NORTH CENTRAL COMMUNITY RALLIES AROUND LOGGAN FAMILY: The student athletes, staff and families of North Central High School lost their beloved coach Paul Loggan, a towering figure in Indianapolis for more than 30 years, to COVID-19. When his students learned about Loggan's diagnosis, they did what their coach had done so many times for them -- delivered pep talks. His wife, Kathy Loggan, told ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, "We had the nurses playing that for him over and over," hoping the words of encouragement could help keep him alive.  After 12 days in the hospital, Paul Loggan died at 57 on April 12, 2020. "I thought it would work. I really did," she said through tears. "There's nothing that he loves more than his student athletes. Besides his own kids." The Loggan family set up a foundation in his name to continue his legacy of supporting athletic programs that will provide money for student athletes to pay for sports, uniforms, equipment and more. "Good Morning America" surprised his wife and son live on Monday with a donation from the Indianapolis Colts for $10,000 to the Paul Loggan Foundation.


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: An overwhelmingly majority of Indiana school superintendents are Republican. Because of actions by the General Assembly and Gov. Eric Holcomb, the pandemic mandate and health restrictions have been kicked to county officials and school boards, one Vigo County school trustee calling it an "impossible situation." These superintendents and school board members are now facing some times ferocious reaction to masking mandates. This is where parents concerned about keeping their schools open and healthy in these communities need to band together and convey the notion to these superintendents and trustees that "We have your back." I've been told that makes a huge difference in these local officials navigating unprecedented and often harrowing sequences. - Brian A. Howey




HOLCOMB CAMPAIGN RAISING FUNDS ON ANTI-VAX MANDATE MESSAGE: Gov. Eric Holcomb's campaign is seeking funds on the message that President Biden's pandemic mandates are a "bridge too far" (Howey Politics Indiana). In an email, it says, "Governor Holcomb believes strongly that the COVID-19 vaccine is the number one way to protect Hoosiers against the spread of Coronavirus and to keep our state moving forward. However, federal vaccine mandates on private businesses are a bridge too far and the latest vaccine mandates from President Biden are unacceptable. “I believe it is fundamentally a citizen’s right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine. While I wish everyone would get the vaccine, we are a country built on this exact type of freedom. Individual liberty and personal freedom are fundamental pillars of our country. Not only is it an infringement of personal liberty, but it is trampling all over the private sector in a way that is fundamentally unconstitutional. If you are willing to join the Governor and take a stand against vaccine mandates, help out the cause by donating today."


TRUMP CAMPAIGN RAISING FUNDS OFF ANTI-VAX MANDATE: The campaign of Donald Trump is also raising money on the vaccine mandate  (Howey Politics Indiana). In an email, the campaign says, "I told you Biden didn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about you or your freedoms. He just mandated the Covid vaccine for 80 MILLION Americans. The last time I checked, we live in a FREE Country. The Left is working overtime to CONTROL you. First, they wanted to mandate MASKS, and now they’re mandating VACCINES - can you believe it? I think the vaccine is brilliant and I’m very pleased with how quickly we turned it around, despite the Trump haters who said we’d never get it done. However, mandating vaccines is simply UN-AMERICAN."


ANOTHER ST. JOE DEM CHAIRMAN ABRUPTLY RESIGNS: St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Torma abruptly resigned over the weekend, less than four months after taking office. Party vice-chair Debbie Ladyga-Block, interim chair until Torma is replaced, made the announcement to party leaders in an email Monday morning. “This was not expected and was without notice,” Ladyga-Block wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by the South Bend Tribune. “The reasons cited were due to personal and professional conflicts.” Torma did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday. Party precinct chairs and vice-chairs elected Torma, who was unopposed, in a May 22 caucus following the resignation of attorney Stan Wruble, who moved to Arizona after leading the party since October 2019. Businessman and longtime party member Dave Nufer, who ran unsuccessfully for chair against Wruble in a bitterly fought caucus March 6, said Monday that he is interested in seeking the job, but he wasn’t ready to declare himself a candidate. Nufer said he hopes to make a decision in about a week, after he talks with party members who have supported past chairs. When he ran against Wruble, some party leaders worried about Nufer’s support from Owen “Butch” Morgan, the former chair who was imprisoned for his role in the 2011 petition forgery scandal.


BIDEN CAMPAIGNS FOR NEWSOM: California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ended his campaign to retain his job in a recall election with a final push from President Joe Biden, who warned that the outcome of the contest could shape the country’s direction on the pandemic, reproductive rights and the battle to slow climate change (AP). The Democrat who defeated Republican President Donald Trump less than a year ago said that the issues that defined the 2020 race had been resurrected in California, with potentially disastrous results if Newsom is removed in the election that ends Tuesday. Speaking to hundreds of cheering supporters during a twilight rally in the coastal city of Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, Biden referred to the leading Republican candidate Larry Elder as “the clone of Donald Trump.” “Can you imagine him being governor of this state?” Biden asked, as the crowd responded with shouts of “No, no!”


NEWSOM LEADS IN POLLS: After a campaign that saw his poll numbers trace the rough arc of a bow tie — a thick margin at the beginning and a tight squeeze in the middle before another dramatic divergence — Gov. Gavin Newsome is on track to survive today’s recall election if polls hold (Politico Playbook).  The spread: ~16 points. On the final night of the campaign, FiveThirtyEight’s polling average saw 57.4% of voters opposed to the recall, and 41.5% supportive of removing Newsom. The final L.A. Times poll, released Friday, showed opposition to the recall with a 21-point lead. A polling error of that size in an election of this magnitude would be historic.


GOP SAY RECALL ELECTION IS RIGGED: The "Big Lie," a falsehood peddled by Donald Trump that the 2020 election was "stolen," is now being peddled by conservative figures amid other down-ballot elections, most notably, the California recall election (Axios). Now that the precedent has been set, some conservatives will likely use unfounded allegations of election fraud as a basis for undermining all potential election outcomes they don't agree with. To be clear, there’s been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the California recall election, or 2020 presidential election. Driving the news: Right-wing media and political figures have already begun alleging that the recall, which will take place on Tuesday, is "rigged."


TRUMP STATEMENT ON 'BIG LIE': Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America (Howey Politics Indiana): “The Big Lie” is the Presidential Election of 2020. When the Fake News Media uses that term, always remember that this was the Election that is destroying our Country, both inside and out!"


TRUMP'S PECULIAR 9/11 ANNIVERSARY: Donald Trump spent Saturday in a peculiar bubble, pursuing his own interests in a series of semi-public appearances, some of them money-making. Nothing would have prevented him from being the fourth president at the New York memorial or traveling to Shanksville, Pa. — deep in the heart of Trump Country — where President George W. Bush spoke about healing the nation’s internal divisions (Politico). Instead, Trump appeared via taped video at a conference of the Unification Church, better known as the “Moonies cult,” and made a visit to a fire and police station in New York, where he began his opening remarks by criticizing Joe Biden for “fleeing” Afghanistan, repeating the lie that the election was “rigged,” and suggesting very strongly that he will run for president in 2024. “I think you’re going to be very happy,” Trump told police officers that morning. “Let me put it that way, OK? I think you’re gonna be very happy.” By nightfall, he was at a South Florida casino delivering several hours of commentary on four boxing matches for Triller Fight Club in an “alternate telecast” available for $49.99 to pay-per-view ticket-holders.


PENCE CONFRONTED ABOUT CAPITOL INSURRECTION: At a Sunday event in Nebraska City, former Vice President Mike Pence appears to have told a woman impersonating a Capitol rioter "I love your heart," according to a hidden camera recording (Yahoo News). "We were there on January 6th, and we were just wondering why you didn't stop the election from being stolen?" asks Lauren Windsor, a Democratic operative who recently began going undercover to secretly record Republican politicians. "Uh, read the Constitution," replies Pence. "The only authority the Congress has is to open and count. The electoral college votes are certified by the states. We never want Washington, DC to run our elections." "States run the elections, and no state had submitted more than one set of electors," Pence continued. "So, our only job was to open and count. But read the Constitution and see." Windsor then pressed Pence over whether he believed the election was stolen. "We were there fighting for President Trump," Windsor said. "I think there were a lot of irregularities that are now being fixed at state levels," said Pence, likely referring to a slew of new voting laws that have been passed in Republican states. "But states - you never want Washington, DC to run elections," Pence continued. "I love your heart, thank you," Pence said as he walked away.




MORNING CONSULT FINDS VAX MANDATE SUPPORT: POLITICO/Morning Consult tracking poll of 1,997 registered voters, we asked a series of questions about vaccine mandates. Three-quarters of respondents said they received at least one shot, while one-quarter said they hadn’t had any vaccination yet, which tracks with the CDC’s latest numbers for all adults. The main takeaways: There’s a clear ideological divide when the mandate question is asked generically: Forty-one percent say that government mandates to receive a Covid-19 vaccine “violate the rights of Americans,” while 46% say such mandates “protect the rights of Americans.” Despite that close divide, President Joe Biden’s specific mandate policies get higher marks: Requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations or weekly testing: 58% support, 36% oppose; Requiring federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated for Covid-19, without an option to opt out through regular testing: 57% support, 36% oppose;  Requiring most U.S. health care workers to get vaccinated for Covid-19, without an option to opt out through regular testing: 60% support, 34% oppose; The 25 percenters are dug in …


CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS DON'T MEAN MUCH: Hollywood stars have gone all-out to help prevent the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and President Joe Biden is traveling to the West Coast before Tuesday’s vote, but do such endorsements make a difference? Not according to most voters. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters say it is important to their vote when celebrities or politicians from outside their state campaign on behalf of a local candidate. That includes 13% who say such outside endorsements are Very Important to their vote. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of voters say celebrities or outside politicians campaigning for a local candidate is not important to their vote, including 39% who say it’s Not At All Important.




SPARTZ CONCERNED ABOUT TERRORISM: When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago, it was because terrorists had training camps there. Now that the U.S. military is gone, some lawmakers are concerned terrorists could again use that country as a base. “It’s cost us a lot of money. We left billions worth of equipment now. We have the Taliban having more Blackhawk helicopters than any country except us,” said Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), talking to IndyPolitics. Spartz said she is concerned with the cost of the withdrawal as a whole, not just in the equipment left behind that terrorists could use against us or our allies in the region, but in security. “We don’t really have a good base to do good counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East,” she said, noting that the quick withdrawal may not only rob the U.S. of its ability to have that strategic presence, but that the vacuum created means that terrorists could seize upon it to regain their former foothold.


SPARTZ LISTENING SESSIONS SCHEDULED: 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 Greentown and Marion on Saturday, September 25 (Howey Politics Indiana). “I've held these listening sessions monthly to hear from constituents on the ground, which is incredibly valuable. I look forward to being in Greentown and Marion on September 25th,” said Rep. Spartz. The times and locations for the September 25 listening sessions are as follows: 9:30 to 11 a.m.  Greentown Public Library (Community Room), Greentown; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Marion City Courthouse (Court Chambers 1st Floor) 301 S. Branson Street, Marion.


HOUSE DEMS RELEASE TAX HIKE DETAILS: House Democrats spelled out their proposed tax increases on Monday, pushing higher rates on corporations, investors and high-income business owners as they try to piece together enough votes for legislation to expand the social safety net and combat climate change (Wall Street Journal). The plan would increase the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%, impose a 3-percentage-point surtax on people making over $5 million and raise capital-gains taxes—but without the changes to taxation at death sought by the Biden administration. The tax increase details were the last major missing piece in the Democratic agenda, and their release will accelerate lawmakers’ negotiations over which new spending to give priority to and which tax increases they find acceptable.


The SENATE is in. Secretary of State Blinken will testify on Afghanistan before the Foreign Affairs Committee at 10 a.m. SEC Chair Gensler will testify before the Banking Committee at 10 a.m.


The HOUSE is out. The Ways and Means, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Homeland Security committees will hold markups on the reconciliation bill at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon, respectively.





GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB'S LAWFIRM COULD MAKE UP TO $195K - An Indianapolis law firm representing Gov. Eric Holcomb in a dispute with the legislature could make up to $195,000, according to a contract made public Monday (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). According to the state Auditor's Office, more than $95,000 has been paid so far. Lewis Wagner LLP was hired by the Holcomb administration to challenge House Enrolled Act 1123. The statute passed in March allows the Indiana General Assembly to call its own special session. It was in response to the governor's continued executive orders during the pandemic. By legislating themselves that power, lawmakers could come back and block a governor's moves during a declared public emergency. Holcomb sued after the law was passed – arguing it is unconstitutional because the Indiana Constitution gives him the power to call a special session, not the legislature. The contract says Lewis Wagner has experience in declaratory judgment actions, injunctions and litigation – especially involving governmental entities. "Its hourly fees are reasonable, with top partners at $382.50, other partners at $292.50, and associate attorneys at $202.50," the contract said. "And it provided a 10% government discount off its normal hourly rates."


GOVERNOR: STATE REVENUE UP - The Hoosier spending spree continues. Data released Friday by the State Budget Agency shows Indiana in August collected $103 million — or 8.1% — more tax revenue than officials anticipated in April when they crafted the two-year state revenue forecast (Carden, NWI Times). Records show the majority of the extra revenue came from the 7% sales tax paid by Hoosiers when they purchased products last month at Indiana-based stores and online retailers. Altogether, Hoosiers paid $805.5 million in sales taxes in August. That was $50.1 million, or 6.6%, above the monthly revenue target. Individual income tax payments also bested expectations in August after coming in merely at the predicted amount in July.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB ORDERS FLAGS LOWERED; FUNERAL AT 11 A.M. TODAY - Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags to be flown at half-staff to honor the life of Cpl. Humberto "Bert" A. Sanchez of Logansport. Sanchez died while serving his country (Howey Politics Indiana). The 22-year-old was killed in the terrorist attack on August 26, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff. Sanchez, 22, will be laid to rest Tuesday at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Logansport. The burial will follow a ceremony at Life Gate Church that begins at 11 a.m.


ISDH: MONDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health announced Monday that 2,349 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 910,013 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. To date, 14,391 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19. Another 457 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. A total of 4,052,405 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 4,025,971 on Friday. A total of 12,866,248 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.


INDOT: TO CELEBRATE HOOSIER HELPER MILESTONE - On Wednesday, September 15 at 10 a.m., the Indiana Department of Transportation will commemorate a milestone anniversary and share updates on Hoosier Helpers, a Good Samaritan program offered by INDOT to assist stranded motorists on Indiana interstates. Hoosier Helpers aid in keeping Indiana interstates safe by providing traffic control and medical assistance at crash sites, and offering roadside assistance (Howey Politics Indiana).


IEDC: UAE OFFICIALS TO MAKE INDIANA STOP - A delegation from the United Arab Emirates will this week visit the United States and one top official will make a stop in Indiana. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi is set to meet with representatives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. on Thursday (WISH-TV). The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates says the delegation will arrive in Washington D.C. and take part in a series of meetings with senior U.S. government officials and business sector representatives from several states. The meetings will be focused on “further developing bilateral relations and strengthening the strong economic partnership between the UAE and USA.”


ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA SEEKS BUMPSTOCK BAN STRIKE DOWN - Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a 2018 federal regulation barring the possession of a firearm accessory that was used to perpetrate the deadliest mass shooting in American history (Carden, NWI Times). Stephen Paddock, 64, killed 60 people and injured 867 on Oct. 1, 2017, when he fired more than 1,000 bullets in about 10 minutes from his 32nd-floor Las Vegas hotel room into the crowd attending the outdoor Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Paddock, who subsequently killed himself, was able to fire so many shots by outfitting some of his 14 AR-15 rifles with bump stocks, a device that uses the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to, in effect, enable the weapon to fire continuously, similar to an automatic rifle or machine gun — which generally are prohibited by U.S. law. Following the massacre, the administration of Republican former President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, 2018, issued a federal regulation banning bump stocks and requiring any person in possession of a bump stock to destroy it, or otherwise render it inoperable, by March 26, 2019. "Hoosiers have learned over many years to beware the tendencies of entrenched federal powers to incrementally infringe on our constitutional liberties," said Rokita.


NOTRE DAME: JUSTICE THOMAS TO SPEAK, TEACH - A Supreme Court justice is coming to Notre Dame. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas will speak at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Thursday afternoon. It's free, but you'll need a ticket (WSBT-TV). Masks are also required. Thomas is currently the longest serving Justice, now in his 30th year. As part of his visit, Thomas will co-teach a 1-credit undergraduate course with the director of the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.


IUSB: ENROLLMENT DIPS — Enrollment is down across all Indiana University regional campuses, according to university enrollment data, and IU South Bend has enrolled just shy of 4,450 students this fall — about 500 fewer than last fall (South Bend Tribune). IU South Bend enrolled 5,092 students in fall 2019 — the last semester uninterrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The next year, its overall enrollment dropped to 4,942 at a rate similar to a steady decline the South Bend campus has seen over the last six or so years. Enrollment saw a more significant drop this year, however, with fall totals dropping from 4,942 students in 2020 to 4,449 this year.




WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SAYS WILDFIRES SIGN OF CLIMATE CHANGE - President Joe Biden on Monday pointed to wildfires burning through the West to argue for his $3.5 trillion spending plan, calling year-round fires and other extreme weather a climate change reality the nation can no longer ignore (AP). Biden spoke during a briefing in Boise, Idaho, while visiting the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates the government’s response to wildfires. Millions of acres of land in several Western states have burned already this year, he noted. “The reality is we have a global warming problem, a serious global warming problem, and it’s consequential and what’s going to happen is, things are not going to go back,” Biden said.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN HEALTH TEAM CLASHSES WITH CDC OVER BOOSTERS - Top Biden Covid-19 officials are increasingly clashing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the administration pushes to begin distributing booster shots widely by Sept. 20 (Politico). In meetings and conversations over the past month, senior officials from the White House Covid-19 task force and the Food and Drug Administration have repeatedly accused CDC of withholding critical data needed to develop the booster shot plan — delaying work on the next step of President Joe Biden’s vaccination campaign and making it more difficult to set clear expectations for the public. One particularly frustrating episode occurred last month, two officials said, when the agency appeared to publicly reject the administration’s plan to offer boosters to all adults. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky had joined other top Biden health officials in signing a high-profile statement on Aug. 18 endorsing the approach. But less than two weeks later, when it came time for CDC to make the case for boosters to an influential advisory panel, senior agency officials argued that priority should be given to nursing-home residents and frontline health workers before expanding access to other groups based on their vulnerability.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN NOMINATES BEDOYA FOR FTC - President Joe Biden nominated privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya on Monday for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission, an agency facing accusations of lax scrutiny of major tech platforms’ anti-competitive behavior and data practices (Politico).


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule today, 1:10 p.m.: The president will leave Long Beach, Calif., for Denver, arriving at 3:10 p.m. 4:50 p.m.: Biden will visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., delivering remarks about infrastructure, climate, jobs, environmental justice and his agenda at 5:30 p.m.  7:10 p.m.: Biden will depart Colorado, arriving back at the White House at 10:20 p.m. VP Harris schedule: The VP will speak at a fundraiser for TERRY MCAULIFFE’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign at a private home in Great Falls at 7:10 p.m. Principal deputy press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE will gaggle on Air Force One on the way to Denver.


STATE: BLINKEN DEFENDS MESSY AFGHAN WITHDRAWAL - Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday vigorously defended the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and his agency’s handling of the chaotic and deadly evacuation mission from the war-torn country, arguing that the president “inherited” a disaster-in-the-making from Donald Trump (Politico). In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken said the U.S. is committed to evacuating the 100 or so Americans who still want to leave the country. But he declined to say whether the U.S. would be able to evacuate the thousands of Afghan allies who applied for visas and who are at risk of retribution from the Taliban. “We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan,” said Blinken, who is no stranger to congressional oversight, having previously served on then-Sen. Joe Biden’s staff when the Delawarean chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


LABOR: INFLATION EASES IN AUGUST - Inflation likely cooled slightly in August, though remaining strong, as a surge in Covid-19 infections slowed economic growth and pandemic-related shortages of labor and supplies continued to drive up prices, economists say (Wall Street Journal). Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the Labor Department to report the consumer-price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in August from July, slower than the 0.5% monthly increase in July, and down markedly from June’s 0.9% pace.


DC: MAN ARRESTED NEAR DNC WITH WEAPONS - A man driving a pickup truck with white supremacist symbols painted on it, and with a bayonet and machete inside, was arrested near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Virginia Monday morning, police say (AP). U.S. Capitol Police identified the man as 44-year-old Donald Craighead of Oceanside, California. “This is good police work plain and simple,” said USPC Chief Tom Manger. “We applaud the officers’ keen observation and the teamwork that resulted in this arrest.”


WISCONSIN: EX-FRANKLIN COLLEGE PRESIDENT REFUSES PLEA BARGAIN - Former Franklin College President Thomas Minar refused a plea deal and is continuing his legal battle (Statehouse File). Minar appeared on Zoom for a status update Monday morning for the first time since June. “Matters are not resolved yet,” Minar’s attorney Brett Reetz said. Reetz said he and Minar’s two other lawyers are still doing their forensic investigation and are unsure when that will end.“I’m not going to schedule anything else at this time,” said Judge David L. Weber.


KENTUCKY: PANDEMIC SWAMPS STATE HOSPITALS - A Covid-19 surge in Kentucky has led to so many patients at St. Claire Regional Medical Center that the workers are unsure how they'll handle the growing numbers when a medical team sent by the federal government leaves Friday (CNN). The Morehead hospital, about 65 miles east of Lexington, is one of the hardest-hit due to the influx of Covid-19 patients. It's the largest health care facility serving 11 counties in rural northeastern Kentucky and -- as of last week -- was at 130% above capacity, according to St. Claire Health Care CEO Donald Lloyd. "The only reason we are holding this lifeboat together is I have a federal disaster medical assistance team here, 14 people who have just been heroes to us. And, unfortunately, their deployment is over on Friday," Dr. William Melah, the chief medical officer for St. Claire Health Care, told CNN's Kate Bolduan on Monday. "I'm going to lose 14 health care professionals, and I literally have no idea what we're going to do on Friday."




INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCIL PASSES $470M IN PANDEMIC RECOVERY - The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday unanimously approved about $467 million in spending for pandemic recovery initiatives, rental assistance, a range of new public buildings and several greenway projects, most of it funded with federal coronavirus relief dollars (Muniz, IBJ). The approvals were welcome news to Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration, which has faced criticism for a rise of violence in the city. “I want to thank the City-County Council for the unanimous passage of the first several key components of a comprehensive fiscal package aimed at making our community safer, our neighborhoods stronger, and our workforce more prepared for good-paying jobs in the modern economy,” Hogsett said in a written statement. “I look forward to continued collaboration with council leadership as we move toward next month’s vote on the 2022 proposed budget, and the implementation of our transformative vision in the months beyond.”


INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCIL PASSES TRAILS SPENDING - The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday evening unanimously approved $25 million in funding for nine greenway and trails projects around the city (IBJ). The money will go toward design and construction projects at Pleasant Run Trail and Pogue’s Run Trail, and design projects at Monon Trail, Nickel Plate Trail, Eagle Creek Trail, Grassy Creek Trail, Interurban Trail, 21st Street Trail and West 30th Street. “As we came out of the pandemic, trails and greenways was one of those quality-of-life things that folks said they really want, and it should be on all sides of town, not just one,” Department of Public Works Director Dan Parker told a council committee in August. He added that the distribution of the new projects was an effort to make “strategic investments in areas without trails.” The $25 million total includes $4 million padding for additional land acquisition and construction.


INDIANAPOLIS: OFFICIALS WANT CITY-COUNTY BUILDING INPUT — Indianapolis officials are asking the public for ideas on possible future uses for the City-County Building (WRTV). The City-County Building has housed Marion County's government offices and courts for the past 59 years, but about 50% of the building's workforce will move to the new Community Justice Center in early 2022. The Community Justice Center at Southeastern Avenue and East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive will include a new jail and Marion County Courthouse. The Office of the Controller released a Request for Information on Monday that is "intended to expand the understanding of market demands, design potential, land use opportunity and community support" for the City-County Building, according to a news release.


LAPORTE: SCHOOLS OPT FOR MASKS — The LaPorte Community School Corp. board of trustees unanimously approved a face covering mandate for all students and staff inside school buildings starting Wednesday (Hilton, NWI Times). Superintendent Mark Francesconi was careful to explain that the mandate is not strictly a mask mandate. It could include face shields and neck gaiters that some people wear instead of masks. "The new guidance will allow us to keep healthy Slicers in school," the presentation from Francesconi said.


FORT WAYNE: MASKS REQUIRED AT KOMET GAMES — Fans of the Fort Wayne Komets will have to mask up this upcoming season (WANE-TV). The team announced Monday that masks must be worn at Komets home games this season “due to the current COVID-19 variant outbreak.” Fans must also practice social distancing in Coliseum outer hallways and concession stand areas. Masks can be removed when eating or drinking, the team added. There are no capacity restrictions at the Memorial Coliseum at this time.


PLAINFIELD: PD INSTALLS PLATE READERS — The Plainfield Police Department has a new crime fighting tool. They're testing stationary license plate readers (WRTV). More than a dozen have already been installed along major roads in the town. The cameras can read license plates and descriptions of cars. They also help police with a wide variety of cases, including Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts, and stolen cars.


SPENCER COUNTY: 2 TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS ARRESTED FOR THEFT - Two Spencer County, Indiana officials have been arrested on charges of theft and misconduct after police say they misused thousands of public dollars (Webb, Evansville Courier & Press). Sarah L. Frederick, 55, the former Luce Township trustee, and 50-year-old Angela F. Ward, the former township clerk, are accused of overcompensating themselves through mileage claims and using township money to pay for their personal cellphones. According to probable cause affidavits, the women collectively misused more than $12,600 between 2016 and 2018. They each face multiple counts of theft as Level 6 felonies, as well as felony charges of official misconduct. Ward has also been charged with obstruction of justice. Indiana State Police arrested the women Friday. The Indiana State Board of Accounts discovered the alleged discrepancies during a forensic audit of Luce Township funds. The ISP was brought into the investigation in January 2020, police said in a news release.


VIGO COUNTY: SCHOOLS ADOPT MASKS IN 'IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION' - The Vigo County School Board voted 7-0 to move grades 7-12 to universal masking indoors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The decision takes effect immediately. As a result, students in grades 7-12 must mask during class. Up until now, those students could choose to remove their masks during forward-facing instruction. Grades Pre-K through 6 in Vigo County have had universal masking inside schools since the start of the academic year. Just prior to the vote, board member Amy Lore said, "I believe all school boards across Indiana are in an impossible situation. Certainly we are."


NOBLE COUNTY: VAX CLINICS AT FD STATIONS - The Noble County Health Department said today it will be offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Ligonier and Kendallville fire departments from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Sept. 23 in Ligonier and alternating between the two each week (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Appointments can be made by calling the scheduling line at 260-636-2978, the health department said. It said vaccines will also be available by walk-in.


ELKHART COUNTY: COUNCIL REJECTS $3M HEALTH GRANT - A $3 million grant for health literacy was rejected by county officials following an outpouring of vitriol from anti-vaxxers and other science skeptics (Fouts, Elkhart Truth). The Elkhart County Council voted unanimously Saturday against a $995,698 appropriation of grant money for the hiring of six community health workers who would have focused on Black, Hispanic and Amish populations. It would have been the first installment of a three-year, $3 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the Elkhart County Health Department received.


WAYNE COUNTY: SWITCHES TO PAPER BALLOT SYSTEM -  The 2022 election will be different for Wayne County voters. No longer will they spin a knob and press buttons to make their choices and cast their ballots. Instead, they'll receive paper ballots and grab a pen — blue or black ink, please — to make choices by filling in squares (Richmond Palladium-Item). Then, the ballot will be scanned for tabulation. Clerk Debra Berry and Ross Roberson from election services company Harp Enterprises in Lexington, Kentucky, demonstrated the county's new voting equipment and procedures during Wednesday's commissioners meeting. "Our equipment was expiring and it was not recertifiable, so it was very important that we get election equipment," Berry said.


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS PROPOSE BIG PAY RAISES -  The St. Joseph County council and commissioners have proposed giving themselves pay raises next year of 73% and 51%, respectively, according to 2022 budget documents they have filed with the county auditor (South Bend Tribune). The nine council members’ annual salaries would increase from $14,586 to $25,000, and $27,500 for the president, since he or she has more duties, while the three commissioners’ salaries would rise from about $41,000 to $60,000 — $66,000 for the president. Council President Rafael Morton said he did not yet know which way he leans on the proposals, both of which the council must vote on when it passes the budget by the end of next month as required by Indiana law.