SEA1 ARGUED IN COURT MONDAY: A top state lawyer derided arguments that Indiana’s new abortion ban violates the state constitution, saying Monday that opponents of the ban are trying to invent a state right to privacy (Davies, AP). A judge heard arguments for about an hour in a Bloomington courtroom on a request from abortion clinic operators to block the Indiana abortion ban that went into effect on Thursday. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon, who is the special judge in the case, didn’t make an immediate decision but said she would issue a ruling “expeditiously.” State Solicitor General Thomas Fisher told the judge that “too many leaps” were needed in legal arguments that abortion was protected under an Indiana constitutional right to privacy when that word isn’t mentioned in the document. He argued that a ban was in place when the constitution was drafted in 1851. The abortion clinics are pushing “a novel, unwritten, historically unsupported right to abortion,” said Fisher, a top deputy to Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita. Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, pointed to the state constitution’s declaration of rights including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in arguing that included a right to privacy and to make decisions on whether to have children. Falk asked the judge to restore the state’s previous abortion laws, which generally prohibited abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and tightly restricted it after the 13th week. “We’re not asking the court to write to rewrite the legislation,” Falk said. “We’re asking the court to recognize the Legislature’s gone too far.”

 

DEMS' REGISTRATION TEAR JUST CAUGHT THEM UP WITH GOP: Democrats have been on a voter registration tear since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. There’s just one problem for them — they are digging out from under major Republican gains in the previous 18 months (Politico). For most of the two years leading up to the midterm election, Republicans rather than Democrats were making voter registration gains in key states, a POLITICO analysis of state voter data shows — a signal of GOP momentum heading into a classic backlash election against Democratic control of Washington. This summer, the momentum changed. The decision by the Supreme Court in June that there was no national right to abortion inspired a surge of new voter registrations more likely to be female, young and Democratic. Data from states including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida shows evidence of a big leap in enthusiasm and political interest among potential voters supportive of abortion rights.

 

MORALES IGNORING QUESTIONS ON MILITARY RECORD: Republican candidate for Secretary of State Diego Morales isn’t responding to questions surrounding his military service with the Indiana National Guard, even as confusion mounts over his records (Downard, Capital Chronicle). Last week, IndyStar columnist James Briggs and Politico correspondent Adam Wren released Morales’ discharge forms which indicated that Morales didn’t fulfill his eight-year commitment. The Morales campaign didn’t directly respond to questions about his service, including why Morales didn’t finish his contract and whether the details were typical of military service. “As to the validity and what is typical and not typical of the forms you can contact the United States Army and the Indiana National Guard,” the campaign said Thursday night. A follow-up email was ignored. According to the two forms supplied by the Indiana Republican Party, Morales joined the Indiana National Guard in 2007 as a specialist before being discharged in 2013. Typically, someone would be promoted from a specialist to sergeant within three years but Morales was discharged at the same rank. Morales heavily leans on his image as a veteran – using a photo of himself in uniform on both Facebook and Twitter. He also proclaimed himself as “the only U.S. Army veteran” in a May tweet announcing his intention to run. Democrat Destiny Scott Wells is a Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard and Libertarian Jeff Maurer currently serves in the Indiana Air National Guard in Terre Haute.

 

MORALES, WELLS MILITARY RECORDS COMPARED: Mike Hicks, a retired infantryman who served in the Army Reserve, highlighted the differences between the military careers of Republican Diego Morales and Democrat Destiny Wells (Capital Chronicle). “In reviewing the military experience of these two candidates, one of them enlisted for eight years and failed to meet the service obligation and failed to get promoted during that time and was eventually let go. The other one went from private to Lt. Col. at nearly record pace and, even after getting her graduate degree in law, remained an intelligence officer, volunteered to go overseas and serve and was selected repeatedly by promotion boards for higher positions of responsibility. “There’s really no comparison between the two candidates in terms of character of service and responsibility and performance of those duties,” Hicks said.

 

INDIANA GAS TAX DECLINES: The streak of falling gas prices continues, approaching 100 days. That decrease is also impacting Indiana’s gasoline use tax (CBS4). The Indiana Department of Revenue recently published the gasoline use tax calculation for October. The calculation shows the rate starting October 1 will be 22 cents per gallon, down from 24 cents in September. The department calculates the gasoline use tax by taking the average retail price per gallon of gasoline in the prior month and multiplying it by the state retail tax of .07 cents. The state said the average retail cost was $3.1418. The gasoline tax use tax has increased steadily since it reached its lowest point on record in June 2020. While the tax is dropping in October, it remains higher than almost any point before 2022.

 

HOLCOMB JOINS MIDWESTERN HYDROGEN COMPACT: Gov. Eric J. Holcomb joined his fellow governors in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to collaborate on developing a robust hydrogen market, supply chain and workforce across the Midwest by signing the Midwest Hydrogen Coalition Memorandum of Understanding (M-H2 Coalition MOU) (Howey Politics Indiana). “Strong partnerships and collaborations with our neighbors will foster a robust hydrogen ecosystem that will spur future growth in Indiana,” said Gov. Holcomb. “The Regional Hydrogen Coalition represents an opportunity for Hoosiers to benefit from this growing industry here in the Midwest.” The M-H2 Coalition MOU will support advancing hydrogen production in the region, with little to no greenhouse gas emissions, while leveraging each participating states’ unique assets. Developing a strong Midwest hydrogen market ecosystem that reduces pollution, enhances energy security and improves public health outcomes will enable existing industries to remain globally competitive and encourage new industries to build and grow in the Midwest. The coalition will conduct its work by employing a coordinated multi-state, multi-sector approach to developing a robust and sustainable hydrogen economy across the Midwest, informed by industry, academic and community engagement.

 

CHENEY SAYS PENCE WAS ESSENTIALLY PRESIDENT ON JAN. 6: GOP Rep. Liz Cheney delivered a searing indictment of former President Donald Trump and members of the Republican Party on Monday in one of her first speeches since her primary defeat last month (Business Insider). Cheney this week gave the Walter Berns Constitution Day lecture at AEI, a center-right economic think tank in Washington DC, warning that America's freedom is in a perilous position and urging the country to hold Trump accountable for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. In her speech on Monday, Cheney suggested that Trump's second-in-command, Mike Pence, stepped into his superior's role. "If you watched our hearings closely, you understand that Vice President Mike Pence was essentially the president for most of that day," she said. "White House staff knew it, and so did every other Republican and Democratic leader in Washington."

 

ELECTORAL COUNT ACT PREVIEWED: GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California previewed in an op-ed their proposed legislation to make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election in the future by proposing changes to the Electoral Count Act (CNN). Both Cheney and Lofgren serve as members on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection, which in part is tasked with proposing legislative recommendations that could help prevent an attack on the US Capitol from happening again. The lawmakers also argue this legislation is critical, pointing to candidates currently running for offices at the state and federal level who could impact future elections and who believe former President Donald Trump’s election lies. Cheney and Lofgren said this raises concerns of “another effort to steal a presidential election, perhaps with another attempt to corrupt Congress’s proceeding to tally electoral votes.” “This week we will propose reforms to the Electoral Count Act to protect the rule of law and ensure that future efforts to attack the integrity of presidential elections can’t succeed,” Cheney and Lofgren write in the op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

 

UKRAINE WARNS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM: A Russian missile blasted a crater close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday, damaging nearby industrial equipment but not hitting its three reactors. Ukrainian authorities denounced the move as an act of “nuclear terrorism” (AP). The missile struck within 300 meters (328 yards) of the reactors at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province, leaving a hole 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) deep and 4 meters (13 feet) wide, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom. The reactors were operating normally and no employees were injured, it said. But the proximity of the strike renewed fears that Russia’s nearly 7-month-long war in Ukraine might produce a radiation disaster. This nuclear power station is Ukraine’s second-largest after the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has repeatedly come under fire.

 

QUEEN INTERRED AT WINDSOR CASTLE: The official mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.K.'s longest-reigning monarch, culminated Monday morning with her state funeral in London's ancient Westminster Abbey (CBS News). The guest list for the service included around 500 foreign dignitaries, including President Biden and about 100 other heads of state. The huge influx of VIPs put an unprecedented security operation, which was decades in the planning, to the test. Queen Elizabeth died on September 8 at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, her beloved country estate in Scotland. Her eldest son, now King Charles III, has led the royal family, the nation and the world in honoring her legacy and ushering in a new era that is likely to present growing challenges for both the kingdom and its Commonwealth. The funeral was preceded by days of carefully choreographed public events, including a majestic procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday. Countless admirers lined up for miles, waiting all day and night for a chance to file past the queen's coffin during her four days of lying in state. Following Monday's service, the queen's coffin was taken in a walking procession to Hyde Park. It was then transferred to a state hearse for the drive to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the queen's final resting place, where her late husband Prince Philip and her sister Princess Margaret are also interred.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Passing the Electoral Count Act will be an essential piece of business for this Congress. Not making this change is to invite a Jan. 6 redux in future elections. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

McDERMOTT RUNNING A TRUMP-LIKE CAMPAIGN: Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. wasn’t going to let a chain barrier stop him from getting to a sign post marking the Illinois-Indiana border during a tour he was giving of the city of roughly 77,000 along Lake Michigan (Lange, IndyStar). Before any of his passengers could utter a word, he threw his bright, blue-striped 2010Mustang Shelby GT500 into reverse and went off road near the property of a data center he had lured to the city at the site of a dirty coal plant along the coast. The car, one of two Mustangs he and his wife bought after he lost his 2020 1st Congressional District election, bounced and dipped through the uneven tall grass, every bump noticeable in the sports car. “That’s one of the things about being mayor,” said McDermott. “You can sort of do things other people can’t.” McDermott, 53, is unpredictable, a bit of a wildcard who seems to do quite frankly whatever he feels like doing. He does things maybe he shouldn’t as mayor. He cusses on his biweekly podcast. He makes off-color jokes. He smoked marijuana in a campaign ad. Don't tell McDermott he's the under dog. “I think I’m going to win," McDermott told IndyStar, listing off his support for legalized marijuana and abortion rights as two of the primary reasons. "How many people thought Donald Trump was going to win the president in 2016?”

 

McNAMARA FACES ABORTION ISSUE FROM 2 SIDES: A local lawmaker was at the forefront of the Indiana General Assembly's recent abortion debate, and she now faces re-election challenges from the ideological left and right (Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press). Rep. Wendy McNamara, a Republican who's represented District 76 the last 12 years, carried the House version of Senate Bill 1, the legislation that became law following a special session. It imposes a near-total ban on abortion, and as Gov. Eric Holcomb penned his signature, McNamara said the bill "makes Indiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation." Seeking a seventh term, McNamara's opposed by Democrat Katherine Rybak, who supports abortion rights, as well as self-described "independent conservative" Cheryl Batteiger-Smith, who feels the near-total ban wasn't enough. Rybak and Batteiger-Smith are seeking political office for the first time. The legislation that became law was aimed at protecting women and babies, McNamara said upon its passage. It prohibits abortion at any stage of gestation except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies or when the pregnant person’s life is at risk. Rybak and Batteiger-Smith, meanwhile, were not shy about airing their views on the subject. "I say shame on her (McNamara) for sponsoring that bill," said Rybak, a retired attorney who still does family mediation and other legal work. "I think abortion is a very complicated issue. Every person's situation is different, and I don't think a bunch of politicians in Indianapolis should be making that decision for all of the women in Indiana."God put it in my heart instantly that I needed to be a voice for the unborn, and I didn’t feel we had that representation in Southern Indiana," said Batteiger-Smith, who has worked in an Evansville insurance office for many years and was an Indiana Republican Convention delegate this year.

 

CARRASCO ON MITCHELL MURDER:  On Friday, September 16, 32-year-old Krystal Walton was dropping her young children off at daycare on the west side of Indianapolis, when she was tragically shot and killed. Her accused murderer, Orlando Mitchell, has been arrested. Mitchell was Walton’s ex-boyfriend, the father of one of her children, and had a history of domestic abuse, including two alleged instances involving Walton (Howey Politics Indiana). Cyndi Carrasco, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor, released the following statement on the tragedy, along with a series of questions she posed to Prosecutor Ryan Mears: “I am heartbroken over the loss of Krystal Walton, and pray for her family and friends, particularly her two young children. What happened to Krystal should not have happened. She did everything right to protect herself and her family, and unfortunately, the system failed her. Domestic violence cases are real, and they happen far too often. Getting these cases right is absolutely crucial, and this tragedy is an example of what happens when failures occur."

 

GOV. NEWSOM WILL RUN IF BIDEN DOESN'T: California Governor Gavin Newsom is “undeniably, unequivocally” planning to run for president in 2024 if President Biden chooses not to seek a second term, two individuals with knowledge of Newsom’s plans told TheWrap. “After this midterm election is over, he absolutely is going to announce that he is running for the presidency once Biden announces that he is not running,” a leading California fundraiser with close ties to the Newsom family told TheWrap. “No ifs, ands or buts. He will run if Biden does not.”

 

Polls

 

WISCONSIN: Democrat Mandela Barnes is ahead of Sen. Ron Johnson 48% to 47%, per Spectrum News/Siena College, while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is up by 5 over Republican Tim Michels, 49% to 44%.

 

TEXAS: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has extended his lead over Democrat Beto O'Rourke and is up 47% to 38%, per The Dallas Morning News/University of Texas at Tyler.

 

GEORGIA: The latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll paints a bleak picture for Georgia Democrats in November, with every statewide candidate aside from U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock facing a sizable deficit less than two months before the election. Republican Herschel Walker had a 45.8% to 44.2% lead over Warnock which is within the margin of error. Gov. Kemp leads Democrat Stacey Abrams 50.2% to 42.2%.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB STATEMENT ON OFFICER BURTON'S DEATH - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb issues a statement regarding the death of Richmond police officer Seara Burton (Howey Politics Indiana): “Our hearts are heavy as we grieve alongside Officer Seara Burton’s family, colleagues, loved ones and the Richmond community she so nobly served. Officer Burton dedicated four years and her life to the Richmond Police Department and lived the oath she took to serve and protect to the fullest  Janet and I send our condolences to Officer Burton’s family and loved ones as they search for peace and strength from a power greater than all we can muster.”

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Gov. Holcomb Public Schedule for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20: Gov. Holcomb will join Horizon League and the Indiana State Fair Commission to announce extension of Horizon League Basketball Championships in Indiana, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 1202 E. 38th St.

Indianapolis.

 

GOVERNOR: CROUCH STATEMENT ON OFFICER BURTON - The following is a statement from Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch after hearing the news of Richmond, Indiana, police officer Seara Burton passing away on Sunday (Howey Politics Indiana). Officer Burton was shot in the line of duty on Aug. 10, 2022. “Seara has been in my thoughts and prayers since the shooting more than a month ago. Hearing the news this morning of her passing, my heart goes out to her family, friends and fellow Richmond police officers who she served alongside. Seara dedicated her life to keeping others safe, and I want to extend my condolences to all who are mourning this loss."

 

LABOR: STATE JOBLESS RATE 2.8% - Indiana’s unemployment rate increased slightly in August to 2.8 percent. That’s according to new state-level employment data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (WVPE). The state’s unemployment rate is still near record lows for the last decade. It’s also below the national rate of 3.7 percent. Not everyone who is unemployed lost a job, said Rachel Blakeman, director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue Fort Wayne. Some may be returning to the job market after time away. This includes people who retired at the start of the pandemic who have changed their minds and starting looking again. Or, parents who didn’t have enough childcare to work until now.“Sometimes we see people go from not engaged with the labor market to employed so they skip over the unemployed category,” Blakeman said.

 

DNR: HISTORIC AWARDS GIVEN - Recipients of the Indiana Historic Preservation Award, which recognizes outstanding efforts in the field of historic preservation, have been announced by the DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (Howey Politics Indiana). As the State Historic Preservation Office, the DHPA oversees the federally funded Historic Preservation Fund grant program, the federal Reinvestment Historic Tax Credit program, and the state’s Historic Homeowner Tax Credit program. The agency also functions as Indiana’s central repository for historic structures and archaeological site records. Here are the recipients: Cheryl Ann Munson is an archaeologist and Research Scientist Emerita in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has completed important archaeological research and field investigations at Indiana sites for decades and has worked to improve archaeological outreach. The Powers Church and Cemetery Association will be recognized for its rehabilitation of the bell tower and steeple of Powers Church. The church is named after four Powers brothers who settled in Steuben County in the late 1830s. The Garfield Park Neighbors Beautification & Walkability Committee in Indianapolis will be recognized for its efforts to nominate the Garfield Drive Historic District in Indianapolis for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

DNR: PUBLIC LANDS DAY ON SATURDAY - You can celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 by getting outside and enjoying your favorite outdoor activity at one of the many DNR destinations throughout Indiana (on.IN.gov/recfinder) (Howey Politics Indiana). National Public Lands Day, which is Sept. 24, is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort involving public lands. Many DNR properties are hosting volunteer events, but every act of kindness counts. Whether you pick up trash on a walk on your own or volunteer at an event, you will be leaving the place better than you found it. On Sunday, Sept. 25, Indiana State Parks, State Forests, and State Recreation Areas will offer free admission where entrance fees are normally charged. And remember, there is never a fee to visit a DNR Fish & Wildlife area. This is a great time to explore a DNR property that you haven’t visited before.

 

PURDUE: EXTENSION EMBACES 988 - Over the summer, a new hotline was launched to support those facing mental-health related distress (Pfeiffer, Hoosier Ag Today). Abby Heidenreich is a member of the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team, and she says 988, “is a hotline that is staffed by volunteers and call center workers who are there to talk with people who are in mental health crisis. So, this is not an emergency line. This is a hotline for people to call when they are in emotional, mental distress and they need someone to talk through these things.” 988 is a simple, short number for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance abuse crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. “What a lot of people don’t realize is how quickly stress, mental health, just being overwhelmed and having those negative thoughts, how quickly those can spiral into a physical issue or cause you to become physically injured.” Heidenreich adds that the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team has been working to provide materials to the call center that will help them better respond to rural community members, specifically the farm community.

 

IU: BEER SALES COMING TO ASSEMBLY HALL - Beer sales are coming to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall this season. Sources confirmed to IndyStar on Monday IU Athletics plans to introduce beer sales to the general public at men’s and women’s basketball games this coming season for the first time. Previously, alcohol was only served in select locations in the arena, primarily areas accessed only by small groups of donors or university officials. IndyStar confirmed sales will begin with Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 7.

 

IUSE: INTERIM CHANCELLOR TALKS STUDENTS - Being more student friendly was the focus of Indiana University Southeast’s State of the Campus address on Friday by Interim Chancellor Kelly Ryan (Hackman, News & Tribune). “We find ourselves on the other side of a difficult two years. We have some challenges, but we’re making tremendous headway in constructing a new IU Southeast,” Ryan said. “One that is better and different from the one prior to the pandemic. An IU Southeast that is even more student friendly, flexible, and engaging.” Ryan outlined for the audience some of the ways IUS is changing. •The campus has 3,672 graduate and undergraduate students and offers more than 180 degrees and certificates in the undergraduate and graduate programs. • Students who graduate from IUS have $10,000 less debt than the average student in Kentucky and Indiana. • To make the campus more student friendly, IUS has a new financial aid model that empowers student enrollment by supporting students. The model is for students who need more wraparound funding and students who are gifted.

 

Congress

 

BANKS PUSHES BACK ON STOPGAP SPENDING: Rising GOP pushback against a short-term stopgap funding bill into December that would pave the way for a lame-duck omnibus package is at minimum a political headache for party leaders, and at worst points to market-rattling brinkmanship around fiscal deadlines next year (Roll Call). A small group of Senate Republicans and larger number of conservatives in the House backed by former President Donald Trump are opposing the general plan to run a continuing resolution to mid-December. The House Freedom Caucus and broader Republican Study Committee have already issued missives opposing a short-term spending bill or omnibus deal. As RSC Chairman Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, put it in a memo last week: “Voters will have fired Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, but she will still decide all government funding for” fiscal 2023.

 

GREG NORMAN TO APPEAR BEFORE RSC: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told POLITICO that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman will speak with the House GOP group during their weekly lunch on Wednesday. “We’re excited to have him. He’s a legend. I think a lot of us are just curious. There’s the PGA vs. LIV Golf. The competitive nature of it. There’s been a lot of publicity about it,” Banks said. He added that the RSC was a “forum for members to learn and have a dialogue, sometimes a spirited dialogue," and so having a conversation with Norman was "a conversation we're looking forward to having."

 

YOUNG AUTHORS PELL PROMISE ACT: Recently, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced bipartisan legislation to help make sure that students who work hard to get into college can enroll regardless of their financial circumstances (Howey Politics Indiana). Under current law, students only find out how much financial aid they will receive right before attending college. The Early Pell Promise Act would provide more financial certainty for families by pre-qualifying certain students for full Pell Grant support starting as early as the eighth grade. It also would ensure that families and students who pre-qualify for aid receive additional information about the cost of college attendance and student financial aid. “Many Hoosier families would benefit from knowing how much financial aid they can count on receiving long before their child’s first day of college. The Early Pell Promise Act works to ensure young Hoosiers are set up for success in our higher education system through pre-qualification for Pell grants as early as the eighth grade. This will help more students to afford higher education and plan for a prosperous future,” said Senator Young.

 

THE SENATE will meet at 10 a.m. to take up Florence Pan’s judicial nomination, with a vote at 11:30 a.m. After a recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for weekly conference meetings, the chamber will hold a cloture vote on ratifying the amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which addresses hydrofluorocarbons. FTC Chair Lina Khan and DOJ’s Jonathan Kanter will testify before a Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust enforcement at 3 p.m.

 

THE HOUSE will meet at 10 a.m. The Rules Committee will take up the Presidential Election Reform Act at 2 p.m.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN'S PANDEMIC ASSERTION CRITICIZED - President Biden’s assertion that the pandemic is over is rankling both Republicans and some public health leaders who say it is premature to announce victory over Covid-19 and that the declaration could undermine the administration’s efforts to secure more funding from Congress (Wall Street Journal). Mr. Biden said during an interview that aired Sunday on “60 Minutes” that “the pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s—but the pandemic is over.”  The White House in September asked Congress for $22.4 billion for Covid-19 and the administration is pushing to include the money in a continuing resolution that must pass by Sept. 30 to keep the government running. Federal officials have said the funding is critical to help develop and purchase more durable vaccines that prevent transmission and breakthrough infections. Republicans have so far opposed any new appropriations, saying unspent Covid-19 relief funds should be tapped first.

 

WHITE HOUSE: FAUCI SAYS COVID WON'T BE ELIMINATED - It is unlikely the U.S. will eradicate the coronavirus and a “suspicious” new variant, BA 2.75.2, is on the horizon, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said Monday during a fireside chat with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Politico). “We are not where we need to be if we are going to quote ‘live with the virus’ because we know we are not going to eradicate it,” Fauci said. “The next question we ask: ‘Are we going to be able to eliminate it from our country or from most of the world?’ and the answer is unlikely, because it is highly transmissible and the immunity that’s induced by vaccine or infection is also transient.”

 

WHITE HOUSE: STRATEGIC AMBIGUITY TOWARD TAIWAN OUT - President Joe Biden has further stoked U.S.-China tensions by unambiguously pledging a U.S. military response if China tries to invade Taiwan. The U.S. military would defend Taiwan “if in fact there was an unprecedented attack” on the self-governing island, Biden said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” Biden didn’t define what an “unprecedented” attack on Taiwan would look like, but his comments marked the fourth time since August 2021 that he has stated that the U.S. would militarily defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion attempt. And in every case, aides have walked back comments that appear to reverse the longtime policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding U.S. willingness to defend Taiwan.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - 1:45 p.m.: The president will deliver remarks on the DISCLOSE Act from the Roosevelt Room. 4 p.m.: Biden will leave the White House, arriving in New York at 5:25 p.m. 7:30 p.m.: Biden will take part in a Democratic National Committee reception. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at noon with national security adviser Jake Sullivan. VP Harris: 9:15 a.m.: The VP will leave D.C. for Orangeburg, S.C. Noon: Harris and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will meet with student leaders at Claflin University to discuss youth issues. 1:55 p.m.: Harris will speak at South Carolina State University’s fall convocation. 3:40 p.m.: Harris will depart South Carolina to return to Washington.

 

AUTOS: FORD STRUGGLING TO FIND PARTS - Ford Motor Co. on Monday warned third-quarter earnings would be affected by about $1 billion in higher-than-anticipated supplier costs and parts shortages that have led to unfinished vehicles it couldn’t sell during the period (Wall Street Journal). The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker reaffirmed its year-end guidance for 2022, projecting adjusted operating results for the third quarter would fall between $1.4 billion and $1.7 billion.

 

TEXAS: SHERIFF TO PROBE DeSANTIS MIGRANT FLIGHTS - A Texas sheriff will investigate the flights arranged by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to transport dozens of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, allegedly after making false promises of work and other services (Washington Post). The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had opened an investigation into last week’s incident, in which migrants were “lured from the Migrant Resource Center” in their county — which covers greater San Antonio — and flown to Florida and later on to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were “left to fend for themselves.” “Additionally, we are working with private attorneys who are representing the victims, as well as advocacy organizations regarding this incident,” Sheriff Javier Salazar (D) said in a statement. “We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise.”

 

Local

 

GARY: PRICE STEERING CITY TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY - The City of Gary has lots of which to be proud these days, but its upcoming foray into sustainable energy could be what propels it back onto the world stage, Mayor Jerome Prince said at Thursday’s State of the City address (Quinn, Post-Tribune). Like the steel mills a century ago, Fulcrum BioEnergy, which is taking over the old Lehigh Cement property in Buffington Harbor, is just one of three big developments coming to the city, Prince said during the 21st annual State of the City address at U.S. Steel Yard. The plant, which will convert household garbage into jet fuel, plans to invest $600 million into Gary and will put the city “into the forefront of new, clean industry,” he said. Combine it with the Gary Commerce Center, a $50 million, 728,000 square-foot warehouse facility at the Sandy Jo site; the $10 million investment of Djuric Trucking at the old Edison School; and the South Shore Double Track NWI expansion, development in Gary hasn’t looked so good in a long time, he said. “(Fulcrum Centerpoint) has the potential to bring millions of jobs across the county,” and it starts in Gary, Prince said. “Climate change gives us the opportunity for an equitable future.”

 

FORT WAYNE: REPAIRS TO CITIZENS SQUARE COMING - Repairs to the Citizens Square parking lot are scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 3. Parking lot access will be limited to the front lane of the parking lot with the entrance to be off Clinton Street and the exit to be the east exit onto Berry Street. The parking spaces in the front lane will be reserved for members of the public needing to be at Citizens Square (Howey Politics Indiana). Weather permitting, the work will be completed within one week and the parking lot would be back to normal operations on Monday, Oct. 10.

 

SOUTH BEND: SCHOOL HQ TRANSFERRED - The South Bend Community School Corporation board approved the transfer of its current downtown headquarters building to the city of South Bend Monday. It’s the next step for a deal that was temporarily derailed by the Indiana Attorney General’s office (WVPE). The district has been planning to sell its downtown headquarters to the city since January and move offices into the Brown Community Learning Center on the northwest side. It’s part of an effort to cut costs and “right size” the district, which has seen years of declining enrollment and underutilized space at almost all schools. In March, the South Bend Common Council approved a $7.8 million dollar appropriation request to buy the building and renovate it into a new city hall.

 

SOUTH BEND/ELKHART: READI GRANTS AWARDED - The South Bend-Elkhart Regional Development Authority has awarded its share of the 2021 state Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, or READI, grants (WVPE). The South Bend area was one of seven regions to receive the maximum $50 million in grant money last December. And on Monday, the regional development authority announced how it’s distributing $40 million of that money locally. Big winners include nearly $12 million for the Beacon Health and Lifestyle District, a proposed redevelopment project that would turn parking lots south of Memorial Hospital in South Bend into apartments, a hotel, fitness center and office and retail space. The Mishawaka Fieldhouse sports complex got $5 million, South Bend’s Morris Theater expansion got $1.5 million and the Potawatomi Zoo got a little over a million for a black bear habitat. In Elkhart County, Downtown Elkhart’s River District got $6.5 million and the proposed Ariel Cycleworks apartments in Goshen will get $4.2 million. The Tolson Center is getting $2.6 million, and the Wellfield Botanic Gardens visitor center is getting $1.2 million.

 

ELKHART COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS APPROVE $120M SOLAR FARM - After blocking it last year, the Elkhart County Commissioners approved a zoning change and economic development agreement for a proposed $120 million solar farm Monday (WVPE). The solar farm would cover 873 acres of agricultural land south of Millersburg and generate up to 150 megawatts of power — enough for almost 16,000 homes. Kansas City-based energy firm Savion has secured 30-year leases with the two property owners, and accounting firm Baker Tilly estimates it could bring in almost $22 million in property taxes over its lifespan. The Elkhart County Commissioners unanimously voted down the proposal last year due to concerns from nearby residents. But earlier this year, the commissioners approved a new zoning ordinance governing potential large solar projects. And Savion brought its proposal back Monday in line with that ordinance.

 

CARROLL COUNTY: $1.6M FOR BROADBAND EXPANSION — Carroll County is one step closer to widespread broadband internet access (WLFI-TV). The Carroll County Commissioners moved to give the Economic Development Corporation up to $1.6 million for the project. The initiative has been in the works at the EDC for about five years. The current deal on the table with Miami Cass REMC would connect about 2,600 homes and up to 140 miles of roadway.

 

DELAWARE COUNTY: PARTY CHAIRS DELAY VOTE CENTERS - Democrats and Republicans tend to not agree on much these day, but the leaders of both parties in Delaware County are together in seeking more time to study a plan to institute vote centers for the county (Penticuff, Muncie Star Press). Ed Carroll, GOP county chairman, and Ana Quirk Hunter, Democratic county chairman, told the Delaware County Election Board Thursday that they have discussed the plan but will need more time to evaluate and make sure the switch from precinct-by-precinct polling places to more centralized vote centers would work best for local elections. Fifty-nine of Indiana's 92 counties have already adopted use of vote centers. The centers would allow any voter registered in Delaware County to vote at any one of 25 vote centers set up across the county, according top the draft plan. A voter's polling place would no longer be tied to a specific precinct where the voter lives. Technology now allows the proper ballot, based on a voter's residency, to be produced for the voter at any one of the county's proposed voting centers.