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Sunday, August 14, 2022
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Thursday, November 14, 2019 11:58 AM

INDIANAPOLIS  — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has joined former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the top of the leaderboard in the third Monmouth University Poll of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses. Buttigieg’s gains since the summer have been across the board, with increasing support coming from nearly every demographic group.  Regardless, less than one-third of likely caucusgoers say that they are firmly set on their choice of candidate and most would not be too disappointed if they had to switch their support.  
  • Horse Race: Gauging 17 Indiana Senate races; GOP super majority likely to survive

    INDIANAPOLIS – With the new abortion restrictions in place following the Senate passage of SB1 and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signing, the key political question is whether this controversial legislation will change the political dynamic. Howey Politics Indiana analysis of Indiana Senate races reveals that out of the 17 contested races in November, potential pickups remain elusive for Democrats. HPI rates only SD31 (Sen. Kyle Walker v. Fishers Councilwoman Jocelyn Vare) as a tossup. We rate five races – SD 1, SD11, SD26, SD45 and SD47 – in our “Leans” category, with four of these currently held by Republicans. Eight Republicans – State Sens. Rick Niemeyer in SD6, Liz Brown in SD15, Travis Holdman in SD19, Ronnie J. Alting in SD22, Jon Ford in SD38, Eric Bassler in SD39, Chip Perfect in SD43, and Jim Tomes in SD49 – are unopposed. HPI will analyze Indiana House races in next week’s edition.

  • Indiana legislators pass most restrictive abortion ban, Gov. Holcomb signs bill


    INDIANAPOLIS - After hours of some of the most emotional testimony in modern history, the Indiana House passed SB1 62-38 Friday afternoon, putting the state on a path to pass some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court relegated Roe to the dustbin of history. The Indiana Senate by a 28-19 vote passed the new restrictions that advocates say will prevent 99% of abortions. 
    Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law late Friday night. “Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life. In my view, SEA 1 accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support,” Holcomb said in a statement. The law goes into effect Sept. 15. “These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic,” he continued. “Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the final contents of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.”

  • Funeral services set for Rep. Walorski
    Details regarding the visitation and funeral for late U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski have been announced. Walorski died in a two-vehicle crash in Elkhart County on Wednesday. Three others were killed in the crash, including two of Walorski’s staffers. According to Palmer Funeral Home, visitation will be held at Granger Community Church on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Her funeral will also be held at Granger Community Church on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m.
  • HPI Analysis: As Indiana prepares to restrict abortion, Kansas speaks

    INDIANAPOLIS – For nearly eight hours on Tuesday, the Indiana House Criminal Courts Committee heard polarizing testimony on SB1, with virtually no one supporting the bill. For activists like David Mervar who often wore pro-life T-shirts and MAGA hats, abortion was, plain and simple, “murder” and OB-GYNs are “baby killers.” There were a dozen or so physicians who testified in white coats. “I am asking you to let me do my job,” Dr. Caroline Rouse, a physician with Riley Children’s Health’s Maternal Fetal Medicine. “My job is to predict and prevent complications and death as best I can. Not to wait until catastrophe occurs and then act. In cases where pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications and death, discussing abortion is my medical and ethical responsibility.” “The current wording of impairment of life or physical health is not only too broad, but it also fails to give clear guidance for physicians to determine whether a pre-viability delivery would be allowed,” Dr. Christina Francis, an OB-GYN from Fort Wayne. “This has the danger of either allowing abortions for any reason or making physicians hesitate to intervene in a potentially life-threatening situation.” Then there was “Norma,” a grandmother who had been raped and kept her baby, who showed up at the podium with a poster of her extended family, prompting State Rep. Timothy Wesco to post a photo on Facebook, saying, “This is Norma. Tragically conceived. Triumphantly alive! And a proud grandmother!”
  • Walorski's death along with 2 staffers staggers Washington and Indiana

    WASHINGTON - For a delegation that easily logs more than a million highway miles every year, Wednesday's news of the death of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and staffers Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson was a staggering, drop-to-your-knees moment of shock and then overwhelming grief. Lee Hamilton once told me it could take him five-hours to cross the old sprawling 9th CD. Highway and air travel are a fact of life for members of Congress. A typical day in a district is a member schedule with five, seven, eight events, meeting with farmers, mayors, business folks, with hundreds of miles logged, with grueling days sometimes stretching to 12 to 14 hours, from dawn 'til dusk. It's a testament to staffers that the Walorski tragedy doesn't happen more often. In Jackie Walorski, we witnessed through her General Assembly and then congressional career a fabulous person with a huge, servant's heart. At a moment when brittle partisanship permeates Washington, Walorski’s death shook the capital and drew an outpouring of grief from leaders of both parties.
  • Horse Race: Is the 1st CD truly purple? Nope

    INDIANAPOLIS – Three years ago, it was Indiana’s 5th CD that was supposedly turning purple. Now it’s the newly reapportioned 1st CD that is taking on a hue normally associated with fisticuffs and black eyes. Howey Politics Indiana doubted that the old 5th CD would become the new “Bloody 8th” and we were correct in that assessment, as Republican Victoria Spartz defeated Democrat Christina Hale 50 to 45.9% (Libertarian Ken Tucker polled 4%). In that same election cycle, Democrat Frank Mrvan defeated perennial Republican nominee Mark Leyva 56-40%. Now the purple fever is invading the redrawn 1st CD, which hasn’t elected a Republican since U.S. Rep. Harry E. Rowbottom lost his second reelection bid to Democrat John W. Boehne Jr. in 1930. Since then the 1st CD has been dominated by Democrats William T. Schulte (10 years), Ray Madden (34 years) Adam Benjamin Jr. (five years), Katie Hall (three years) and Pete Visclosky (36 years).
  • Indiana Senate advances unpopular SB1 abortion restrictions 26-20

    INDIANAPOLIS - Despite opposition from state and national Right to Life, the Indiana Senate passed a deeply unpopular SB1 that would further restrict abortion, but with exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. By a 26-20 vote mid-Saturday afternoon, the Senate sends this historic bill to the Indiana House. State Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, started Saturday's debate by saying, "All of us have strived to make this bill better throughout the process." She says she's confident the House will continue to make changes. Asked by Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, Glick said SB1 is "not a forced pregnancy bill." Asked by State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, if she's happy with the bill, Glick responded, "Not particularly." After more than two and a half hours of debate, Glick was the only senator who testified in favor of the bill. 

  • Atomic! SB1 hangs by thread; RTL Fichter remains opposed; 18 Republicans oppose exception; Crouch's controversial tie-breaker; U.S. House passes Young's Chips
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis
    and MARK SCHOEFF JR., in Washington

    1. RTL disses SB1: After an emotional and rancorous five-hour Senate session Thursday night, SB1 hangs by a thread after 18 Republicans voted against an amendment on excepting rape and incest, rejected by a 28-18 vote. It will be up for a vote on Saturday. This morning, Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter said his organization “remains opposed to SB1.” Fichter: “While we are encouraged by the addition of language giving the attorney general the power to prosecute when illegal abortions occur, SB1 contains a vague life of the mother exception that will be easily exploited to cover most abortions. An amendment to help fix this problem was voted down last night, with the help of many Republican senators who previously indicated to voters on candidate surveys that they supported no exceptions, or a life of the mother exception only. SB1 lacks any requirement that claims of rape be reported to police, denying women the help they need while allowing perpetrators to escape justice and seek other victims. In addition, SB1 redefines abortion so that the intentional killing of a fully alive unborn child with severe disabilities will no longer be considered an abortion under Indiana law. This changing of definition will open the floodgates for funding of these types of procedures, while creating a bypass of Indiana’s ban on discriminatory abortions based solely on disability, and a bypass of Indiana’s ban on trafficking of aborted fetal body parts, all because the killing of these children will no longer be called abortions under the law. To anyone who might claim this is an abortion ban, we would simply point to the section of SB1 referencing new rules for existing and future abortion clinics in Indiana. We did not wait 50 years for the full reversal of Roe vs. Wade for this. We stand opposed to SB1.
  • HPI Analysis: An abortion bill no one likes advances in the Senate

    INDIANAPOLIS – What we witnessed this week on SB1 was theater – some may say Kabuki in nature. Leadership placed State Sen. Sue Glick as the bill sponsor instead of ardent pro-life State Sen. Liz Brown. There are three camps emerging: The first is Senate establishment Republicans who unveiled SB1 and 2 last Wednesday, proposing an abortion ban once a fetus attaches to the uterus with the traditional trinity of carve-outs (rape, incest, and life of the mother). The second is the ardent pro-life movement, who are pushing for a total ban (Indiana Right to Life is calling SB1 “a weak and troubling bill”). They are upset that Sen. Brown was pushed out of sponsoring SB1, replaced by Sen. Glick, the former LaGrange County prosecutor who said Wednesday, “Being pro life is not about criminalizing women. It’s about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring happy, healthy babies into the world.” The third camp is Indiana Democrats, who are so weak (holding only 40 of the 150 seats) that they will have little impact, but could form an unholy alliance with pro-life radicals to thwart SB1. In the Senate Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, there was virtually no support for SB1. Yet it passed out of the Rules Committee on a 7-5 vote.
  • Sen. Young takes Chips risk, but Hoosier GOP don't follow

    WASHINGTON  – Todd Young is one of the few Republican senators who intends to stay in the chamber yet continues to engage in tough, risky bipartisan efforts. The latest example was Senate approval of his signature bill to bolster semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research to better compete with China. Young, who is running for reelection, is sticking his neck out farther than most Senate – and House -- Republicans who aren’t retiring this year. But he’s doing so alone among his Republican Hoosier colleagues. The Senate passed the $280 billion Chips and Science Act, 64-33. That count included 17 Republicans in favor thanks in large part to Young’s heavy lobbying of his GOP colleagues to back a bill he co-authored last year with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
  • Horse Race: Poll has Wells leading Morales; Sabato moves CD1 to 'tossup'
    Howey Politics Indiana

    A new poll by Indy Politics’ polling partner ARW Strategies has the Secretary of State’s race statistically tied. The poll of 800 likely shows Democrat Destiny Wells leading Republican Diego Morales, 31-28%.  Libertarian Jeff Mauer is at seven percent and 34% at this point are undecided. “This race looks like it could be very close entering the fall. Diego Morales is getting just 59% of his base right now, while 33% of Republicans are undecided. Under normal circumstances, Morales can expect most, if not all, Republicans to ultimately come home but if I’m advising him, I’m not taking chances and he needs to make sure he unites the party behind him,” said ARW pollster Anrew Weissert.
  • Atomic! Not much support for SB1; Buyer indicted; Trump v. Pence II; Pass the Chips; R.I.P. Paul Sorvino
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. No one likes SB1

    About 30 Hoosiers testified before the Indiana Senate Rules & Legislative Committee over four hours on Monday on SB1, the abortion restriction bill. No one professed much support for SB1 that currently  restrictions that include rape, incest and life of the mother. It was widely attacked from both pro-life and pro-choice advocates. Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor questioned many of those testifying. Republicans were mostly silent. State Sen. Liz Brown, who had been expected to sponsor the bill until that shifted for State Sen. Sue Glick, said late last week, “Leadership decided to advance a bill … that includes broad exceptions with minimal enforcement mechanisms. I have shared with leadership that my constituents and I are disappointed.” “Indiana’s SB 1 is a complete disaster of a bill,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “It would fail, in a spectacular way, to protect any human lives and instead would leave women vulnerable to an industry that preys upon women.” Said James Bopp Jr., "A careful legal examination of SB 1 reveals that, in nearly every provision, SB 1 uses defective language, lack of necessary safeguards, and lack of any effective enforcement mechanism that it results in abortion on demand." Perhaps the most poignant testimony came from 17-year-old Marissa Jensen who came out of the Indiana foster care system. Saying she was there to be a voice of the “pre-born,” Jensen opposes the bill and says she's "disgusted" she has to be here.
  • HPI Analysis: Fraught frosh diplomacy

    ANGOLA, Ind. – Former Hoosier members of Congress have had a long history of international diplomacy, whether it was Sen. Albert Beveridge opening up ties to Russia, Sen. Richard Lugar dealing with the post-Soviet Kremlin, Dan Coats as envoy to Berlin beginning within hours of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Tim Roemer’s two-year stint as ambassador to India, Frank McCloskey’s human shield during the Bosnia genocide, or Joe Donnelly’s current station at the Vatican. But we haven’t seen anything like freshman U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, who is currently engaged in an international pissing match with the chief of staff to the president of war-torn Ukraine. It is coming at an extremely sensitive time.

  • Atomic! 3 abortion camps emerge; RTL, PPIN respond; Senate GOP splits with Gov on tax rebate; Huston reacts
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Traverse City, Mich.

    1. Trio of abortion camps emerge: In this broiler of a summer between next Monday and Aug. 14 will come one of the most contentious policy sequences in Indiana history, which will be how to restrict access to abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's scuttling of Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs decision. To put this into historical context, think of the huge teacher rally in November 2019, or 1996 when 20,000 union activists thunderously opposed prevailing wage legislation, to the point that the marble Statehouse floors literally shook. Indiana Right to Life and the ACLU are calling their activists to dueling Statehouse rallies at 11:30 a.m. Monday. There are three camps emerging: The first is Senate establishment Republicans who unveiled SB1 and 2 on Wednesday proposing an abortion ban once a fetus attaches to a uterus with the traditional trinity of carve outs (rape, incest, and life of the mother). The second is the more radical pro-life movement, who are pushing for a total ban (Indiana Right to Life is calling SB1 "a weak and troubling bill"). They are upset that State Sen. Liz Brown was pushed out of sponsoring SB1, replaced by State Sen. Sue Glick, the former LaGrange County prosecutor who said Wednesday, "Being pro life is not about criminalizing women. It's about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring happy, healthy babies into the world." The third camp is Indiana Democrats, who are so weak (holding only 40 of the 150 seats) that they will have little impact, but could form an unholy alliance with pro-life radicals to thwart SB1.
  • Senate Republicans unveil abortion restrictions; does not criminalize women or doctors


    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Indiana Senate Republicans unveiled abortion restriction legislation Wednesday afternoon. According to State Sen. Sue Glick, abortions would be illegal once a fetus implants on to a woman's uterus. "There is an exception in the bill for life of the mother; also for rape and incest," Glick said. "The bill doesn't affect access to morning after pill or any  method of birth control; doesn't affect treatment of miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies." Glick, a former LaGrange County prosecutor, added, "Being pro life is not about criminalizing women. It's about preserving the dignity of life and helping mothers bring happy, healthy babies into the world." Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray said, "This is limiting abortions to the instance of life of the mother, rape and incest. The way we characterized the language in this bill that point begins when the fetus implants in the uterus. What that means is ... the morning after pill, Plan B and those sorts of things, ectopic pregnancies don't come into play because the fetus has not implanted in the uterus. So those things are all on the table and will be available to women." 

  • HPI Analysis: Patriarchal Indiana eyes abortion restrictions; Sen. Glick may sponsor bill

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Next week, 150 Hoosier legislators, including 111 men, will convene in special session to determine the most restrictive abortion laws in state history that stand to change the lives of thousands of women. Last week, Attorney General Todd Rokita and Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp Jr. dominated the post-Roe era semantics leading up to the July 25 special session. Rokita fired off wild allegations against a female OB-gyn who performed a legal abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had been raped, vowing he would “not relent” until finding “the truth.” IU Health said that Dr. Caitlin Bernard had followed all Indiana laws. “It’s always shocking to me that people are surprised to hear about these stories,” Dr. Bernard said in an interview with The New York Times. “The fact that anyone would question such a story is a testament to how out of touch lawmakers and politicians are with reality.” Informed and reliable sources tell HPI that State Sen. Sue Glick, a former LaGrange County prosecutor, will likely be the Senate bill sponsor instead of Sen. Liz Brown. This could be signaling a more moderate path with the “trinity” of exceptions (rape, incest, life of the mother)  more likely to be included, whereas Bopp’s model only has a carve-out for the life of the mother.
  • Horse Race: Conservative report scuttles Trump's 'big lie'

    ANGOLA, Ind. – Conservative jurists, including a widely recognized top Republican election expert and a former federal judge are attempting to scuttle Donald Trump’s big lie. They issued a 72-page report last week categorically rebutting more than 60 claims of 2020 presidential election fraud. The report, “Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election,”  reviewed the 60 court cases Trump and his supporters filed and lost in six key battleground states. “There is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election on the magnitude necessary to shift the result in any state, let alone the nation as a whole. In fact, there was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct,” the report says.
  • Ohio rape of 10-year-old, Indiana abortion explodes just before General Assembly special session; Rokita launches probe


    MIDDLEBURY, Ind. - Indiana's looming abortion restriction battle exploded into a real-life showdown over a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had been raped and successfully sought a surgery in Indianapolis that ended her embryo's life. It comes less than two weeks before the General Assembly convenes to pass new abortion restrictions in the week of the Supreme Court rendered Roe v. Wade moot. Attorney General Todd Rokita announced he would investigate Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who performed the procedure. “Aside from the horror caused here by illegal immigration, we are investigating this situation and are waiting for the relevant documents to prove if the abortion and/or the abuse were reported, as Dr. Caitlin Bernard had requirements to do both under Indiana law," Rokita said. "The failure to do so constitutes a crime in Indiana, and her behavior could also affect her licensure. Additionally, if a HIPAA violation did occur, that may affect next steps as well. I will not relent in the pursuit of the truth.” Dr. Bernard filed the required abortion disclosure, known as a "terminated pregnancy" form, on July 2, two days after she performed the girl's abortion, according to a copy of the form IndyStar received Thursday from the state health department. State law requires the forms to be filed within three days for patients under age 16.


  • Atomic: Cipollone on 'courageous' Pence; White House 'unhinged'; 'Will be wild'; Holcomb on abortion; Young urges House USICA vote
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Fremont, Ind.
    and MARK SCHOEFF JR. in Washington D.C.

    1. Cipollone on ‘courageous’ Pence: From the Indiana perspective, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s testimony before the U.S. House Jan. 6 Committee included this about former vice president Mike Pence:  "I think the vice president did the right thing. I think he did the courageous thing. I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence. I think he did a great service for this country and I suggested to somebody that he should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions. My view was that the vice president didn't have the legal authority to do anything other than what he did." What else did we learn Tuesday? That an “unhinged” Dec. 18 Oval Office meeting between President Trump and “Team Crazy” had the president being advised to have the Pentagon seize voting machines in the states. After that Dec. 18 meeting concluded, President Trump tweeted, summoning his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 and saying it “will be wild.” And it was!
  • Atomic! Looking for legislative tea leaves; Survey of Hoosiers seeking abortion; Spartz feuds with Zelensky CofS; Woeful Biden still beating Trump
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Angola, Ind.

    1. Legislators mostly mum on coming restrictions: With the General Assembly's post-Dobbs special session less than two weeks away, we are looking for tea leaves over whether the super majority Republicans will follow the path of National Right to Life special counsel Jim Bopp Jr., whose "model" legislation calls for abortion prohibition with the exception of the life of the mother. Capital Chronicle's Whitney Downard reported reaching out to "dozens" of Republican legislators with only State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, commenting on supporting the Bopp position, saying, “We have to see what the language says but I think we would have to help women in that situation. I’d love to see Indiana be the easiest state to adopt a child.” State Rep. Jake Teshka, R-South Bend, tweeted, “I have owned my views on this issue publicly for a very long time. I am in favor of ending abortion with the exception of life saving care for the mother. I will not, however, pigeon hole myself or my colleagues before we even show up to the statehouse or have a bill to look at.” State Sens. Mike Gaskill and Linda Rogers said they won't comment without first reading a bill. State Rep. John Jacob, considered on the far right of the political spectrum, tweeted, "We must abolish abortion completely! All preborn babies must be afforded equal rights and equal protections just as you and I are guaranteed. Year after year the Indiana legislators have regulated the abortion that has allowed thousands and thousands and thousands of innocent Hoosier babies to die at the hands of the abortionist." Rep. Jacob, who was defeated in the May primary, is offering a petition to supporters. 
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  • Brooks excoriates Rokita over child rape case
    "We are confident of Americans’ ability to work through the issue of abortion now that the Supreme Court has returned it to the democratic process. But it’s crucial for law enforcement to stay above the partisan fray. A case in Indiana leaves us deeply concerned on that score. Initially, some doubted news reports that a 10-year- old Ohio rape victim had traveled to Indiana for a legal abortion. There were also unsubstantiated claims that the physician who performed the abortion had failed to report the abuse of a child and the abortion performed on a girl under 16, as Indiana law requires. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita rushed precipitously into this fray. He told Fox News he was investigating the physician and 'was looking at her licensure.' This, after admitting he hadn’t examined evidence that she complied with reporting requirements. Even worse was his inflammatory rhetoric: 'We have this abortion activist acting as a doctor,' he said. Despite the arrest and confession of a defendant in the rape, and news accounts documenting the physician’s timely reporting, Mr. Rokita continues to say publicly that he is investigating her. The justice system’s legitimacy requires that law enforcement be fair, deliberative and ethical. Government investigations should remain confidential unless and until a defendant is charged, with respect for the presumption of innocence and government’s burden of proof. A baseless investigation, if disclosed publicly, causes the target reputational damage, humiliation and loss. We are appalled that, by his own admission, Mr. Rokita announced his investigation before gathering the most basic facts."- Former Indiana congressman and district attorney Susan Brooks and John Tinder, writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
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