THIRD AND FINAL GOVERNOR DEBATE TONIGHT: The third and final gubernatorial debate begins tonight at 7 p.m EDT (6 p.m. CDT) at the University of Southern Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). The debate will focus on health and social issues and will be moderated by Mizell Stewart III, vice president of news operations for Gannett and USA Today Network, president of the American Society of News Editors and former editor of the Evansville Courier & Press. The debate will be made available to television stations across the state for broadcasting. The Indiana Debate Commission's broadcast partner for the debate in Evansville is WFIE, the NBC affiliate. Howey Politics Indiana will be on the scene and reporting from Evansville tonight.


LAWSON, ISP PROBING ‘TECHNICALITY’: Earlier this month, just ahead of Indiana’s voter registration deadline, state police executed a search warrant at the office of an organization that had set out to register black voters in a state with the worst voter turnout in the country (Huffington Post). Officers conducted their search on the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s headquarters just a few weeks after Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson sent a letter to state election officials warning that “nefarious actors are operating” in the Hoosier state and asking them to inform authorities if they received any voter registration forms from the group. The letter from Lawson ? who, when she was a state legislator, co-sponsored Indiana’s controversial voter ID law ? amounted to “the voter suppression equivalent of an Amber alert,” said Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, a liberal nonprofit group that ran the Indiana Voter Registration Project. The publicity surrounding the actions taken by Lawson and Indiana’s state police have cast a shadow over the nonprofits, with many stories accusing them of voter fraud.  Varoga said the Oct. 4 police action prevented the group from registering 5,000 to 10,000 additional voters ahead of Indiana’s Oct. 11 voter registration deadline. He’s worried that clerks won’t count some of the 45,000 applications the group had already collected. So why did state officials take such a dramatic step in interrupting the IVRP’s work just days ahead of the voter registration deadline? From what we’ve gathered, it’s not because there’s any mass “voter fraud” scheme to steal an election. Instead, it seems the extraordinary investigation is likely to find no more than potential technical violations of obscure regulations for third-party voter registration groups.


LAWSON, ISP PROBES SEPARATE: Lawson’s office and the Indiana State Police insist that their investigations are separate. Valerie Warycha, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Lawson, said the office had no prior knowledge of the police action on Oct. 4 (Huffington Post). “At the onset of the state police investigation they told her they were going to conduct an investigation. They will not brief us on the details of their investigation until the end,” Warycha said. She also said that despite Lawson’s talk of “nefarious” actors, she never directly accused the group of voter fraud. “She never said fraud or accused anyone of fraud ? including the Indiana Voter Registration Project,” Warycha said. “I am not sure why they are so defensive. Have they done something wrong?” Indiana law requires that a person who receives a voter registration application they have “reason to believe” is false, fictitious or fraudulent submit the application “with a statement sworn or affirmed to under the penalties for perjury, setting forth the reasons why the person believes the application may be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent.” That requirement isn’t mentioned in the voter registration drive flyer published on the Indiana secretary of state’s website, but it is mentioned in a voter registration drive guide published by one Indiana county. A state police official said that part of the investigation is looking at whether IVRP canvassers submitted affidavits when they believed an application was fraudulent.  “You’ve got to comply with all aspects of the law ? not just the part of the law that you like,” Capt. David Bursten, a spokesman for the Indiana State Police, said when he pointed The Huffington Post to that statute. Asked if IVRP had failed to submit affidavits, Bursten said that’s one piece of the investigation. “We would have no reason for doing this investigation unless there were indications that there are potential violations of state law,” he said. “To my knowledge, we did not submit any affidavits,” says Buck, the Patriot Majority USA spokesman. “Canvassers did not know with certainty that the information on any forms was false or fraudulent.”


NO LOCAL VOTER FRAUD FOUND, DECATUR COUNTY CLERK SAYS: As the Indiana State Police investigation into possible voter fraud continues, the Decatur County Clerk said she doesn't believe the issue will impact local voters and is urging anyone planning to vote on Election Day to keep tabs on their registration (Brown, Greensburg Daily News). Adina Roberts, Decatur County Clerk, said she doesn't believe any voter fraud has been committed locally and is confident the issue will not be a problem as Election Day approaches. She said utilizing an online statewide voter registration system is the best way to make certain one's registration is accurate and up-to-date. Decatur County was one of 56 Indiana counties mentioned earlier this month when Indiana State Police began looking into possible instances of voter fraud discovered by the office of Secretary of State Connie Lawson.


DAVIESS COUNTY VOTES EARLY; NO FRAUD EVIDENT: The November 8 general election is two weeks away but for hundreds of Daviess County residents its already over except for the counting (Grant, Washington Times Herald). The Daviess County Clerk's office reports that 590 people have walked in and cast early ballots. "This year sure feels a lot busier, earlier," said Daviess County Clerk Janice Williams. "We have had a steady flow of voters since early voting began and we have even had some instances of small lines, even though those went pretty quickly." Daviess County was one of more than 50 Indiana counties where the Indiana State Police are reportedly investigating reports of irregularities in voters' registrations. Local election officials say that so far they have found no problems. "We had been checking the date of birth and addresses and we've had no problems come up that I am aware of," said Williams. "We received a letter about it early on, but not much detail. Nothing has turned up so far and if something does then we are set up for them to cast a provisional ballot."


CNN, NBC POLLS HAVE CLINTON UP 5%: Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 5 points as the presidential campaign heads into its final two weeks, with the Democratic nominee's support just shy of the 50% mark, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. Among likely voters, Clinton tops Trump 49% to 44%, with just 3% backing Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2% behind Green Party nominee Jill Stein (CNN). With all three presidential debates now in the rear view mirror, both candidates appear to have consolidated some support among their core supporters. Clinton has expanded her edge among younger voters and non-whites, while Trump has boosted his support among the whites without college degrees who make up the majority of his supporters. Clinton now stands at 53% among voters under age 45, compared with 47% in the previous CNN/ORC poll. In fact, the only age group where Clinton currently trails Trump is among those age 50-64, who back Trump by 4 points in this poll. An NBC/Survey Monkey Poll has Clinton leading Trump 46-41%


HARWOOD CITES GOP SOURCES SAYING INDIANA IS TIED: “Senior GOP Senate strategist: Trump now tied in Indiana. down 11 in PA and 14 in NH. Going down hard.” - CNBC and New York Times analyst John Harwood in a tweet on Sunday. Analysts Ben Ginsburg and Michael Steele said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today that Indiana is emerging as a bellwether state. HPI’s Brian Howey noted in his podcast last week that if Indiana tightens up, expect Gov. Mike Pence to start scheduling campaign appearances in his home state to avoid what would be an epic embarrassment.


PENCE URGES REPUBLICANS TO ‘COME HOME TO TRUMP’: Mike Pence is pushing a new message for the final two weeks of the campaign, and it’s aimed squarely at Republicans wavering on support for Donald Trump: “It’s time to come home” (Politico). Trump’s running mate said it again and again at a rally in Salisbury, North Carolina on Monday, showcasing a revamped stump speech with 15 days until the election. “It’s time to come home and elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States,” Pence said. “It’s time to come home and re-elect Republican majorities in the United States House and the United States Senate. … It’s time to come home and come together and do everything in our power to make sure that Hillary Clinton is never elected president of the United States of America.” “That’s the choice we have,” Pence declared.


THE 281 PEOPLE, THINGS TRUMP INSULTED ON TWITTER: The New York Times’ Upshot column has compiled a comprehensive list of insults Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has used on Twitter. You can read it by clicking here.


RYAN WHITE'S MOM THINKS TRUMP IS A BULLY: While bullying is not new, social media has exacerbated the problem, and now Jeanne White Ginder, Ryan White's mother, worries that today's toxic political climate has further eroded the values that parents and schools try to teach children (Glimer, IndyStar). She tiptoes into the presidential minefield and sums up her opinion of Republican candidate Donald Trump, whom she has met on several occasions. In fact, the businessman was at her home briefly when Ryan died. He was working with Jackson on a business deal and flew the singer on his corporate jet to Indiana for the funeral. "Donald was here maybe five minutes and then left," Ginder said. Despite some stories floating around that suggest otherwise, Ginder said Trump did not pay for Ryan's treatment or fly him to doctors. "I like a lot of things Donald wants to do, but I don't like how he conducts himself. Not respecting women, making fun of the handicapped - that really concerns me," Ginder said. "How can we expect our kids not to bully when a person who is running for president bullies?" With that, she stopped and said, "Am I going to get myself in trouble?" But then she continued: "Kids are going to grow up and think it's OK to say the things he does. It's wrong, it's bullying, and it's what we're trying so hard to stop. We need to teach our kids to be respectful to everybody."


REP. SMALTZ SAYS METH LAB BUSTS DOWN 36% IN 3RD QUARTER: Indiana State Police (ISP) statistics indicate statewide meth lab seizures have declined 36 percent during the third quarter of 2016, according to State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) (Howey Politics Indiana). From July through September, ISP reports 209 meth lab busts occurred in Indiana, representing a 36.3 percent drop from the 328 incidents during the same period in 2015. In addition, the number of children removed from meth lab environments decreased 55.3 percent between those two periods. Year-to-date, child removals from Indiana meth labs are down 43.7 percent compared to 2015. “These statistics signify the hard work of law enforcement and the effectiveness of recent reforms passed by the General Assembly to curb meth production,” Smaltz said. “As a lawmaker whose community has felt the devastating effects of meth, one of my top priorities is to eliminate meth labs and reduce the number of children affected by them to zero. Seeing these numbers continue to decline in Indiana confirms we are on our way to achieving that goal.” Over the past three years, Indiana has led the nation in meth lab incidents. During the 2016 session, Smaltz championed a new law to combat Indiana’s growing number of meth labs. Smaltz said the law makes purchasing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient used to manufacture meth, more difficult for meth cooks or those selling to them. Under the law, Hoosiers who have a patient relationship with a pharmacy can continue purchasing medicine that contains PSE without a prescription. If they do not have a patient relationship, a pharmacist would be able to sell them an extraction-resistant formulation of PSE or a package of 24-count 30mg regular PSE.


2 HISTORIC BASEBALL DROUGHTS CLASH TONIGHT: It might as well be a matchup from a movie: the two teams with the longest title droughts in baseball paired in the same World Series. No wonder, then, that Joe Maddon has watched “Field of Dreams” since his Chicago Cubs clinched the National League pennant (New York Times). “I cry easily,” said Maddon, the Cubs’ manager. “So the connection to the past is very important.” To loosely quote the script, the memories could be so thick at this World Series, the fans will have to swat them away from their faces. The Cubs have gone 108 years without a championship. The Cleveland Indians have gone 68. No other team in baseball has come close to so many consecutive unfulfilled seasons. “The baseball gods are really happy right now,” the Indians’ Mike Napoli said. “I wanted the Cubs to win, just because I knew how cool it would be to be a part of it. I think it’s going to be a special World Series. There’s two droughts, and there’s going to be a winner.” Until Saturday, the Cubs had not won a pennant since 1945, meaning they have never played a World Series game on television or at night — or, for that matter, with an African-American player on their roster. The Indians have been to the Series just three times since their last title: in 1954, 1995 and 1997. Kyle Schwarber, the former Indiana University hitter, is expected to be added to the World Series roster today  after playing just two minor-league games since a knee injury allegedly ended his season in April (Chicago Sun-Times).


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Here is what faces Hoosier voters today. They’ve watched their Governor, and the Republican presidential nominee, spend the last month talking about a “rigged” election system, citing corruption and widespread voter fraud. We now have two “voter fraud” investigations in our state, where the Republican Party maintains most of the levers of power, both at the state and county levels. There is a bipartisan quilt of earnest Republican and Democratic officials who act as stewards of a check and balance system that, while not perfect, has served us well for decades. We have no reason to doubt the integrity of either Secretary Lawson or Supt. Carter. The fact is, however, that in this environment, Hoosier voters need transparency and answers. At this point, there is neither. We don’t know how “thousands” of first names and birth dates have been changed, as Secretary Lawson informed us last week. We don’t know if the Patriot Majorities group has conducted widespread voter fraud, or, perhaps technical violations. To continue the integrity of this system, we need answers and we need them prior to Election Day. To conduct this particular election under these political and legal circumstances under current mist of doubt would be poor stewardship. - Brian A. Howey



BAYH LUNCHED WITH BANK LOBBYISTS DURING 2008 BAILOUT: Former Indiana senator and longtime Banking Committee member Evan Bayh held a series of private meetings with financial service industry executives and lobbyists throughout 2008 — just as Wall Street was collapsing and big banks were seeking a bailout from Washington, according to a newly obtained schedule for the ex-lawmaker now running to reclaim his seat (Politico). One of the engagements — which included lunches, dinners and golf outings — happened the day of the Wall Street bailout vote. On Oct. 1, 2008, when the Senate voted to approve the $700 billion rescue package, Bayh held a “Lunch with Supporters” that included lobbyists for the financial services industry, his schedule shows. Other meetings with industry lobbyists and officials took place in the weeks and months up to and following the bailout vote. During his tenure in the Senate, Bayh raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the financial services industry and Wall Street firms while supporting many of the legislative measures they pushed, including the bailout bill. The investment firm Goldman Sachs and its employees were Bayh’s top donors during his Senate career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group. CNO Financial Group and Morgan Stanley also ranked in the top five of Bayh’s career donors, according to CRP.


POLITICO ANALYSIS ON INSEN RACE: After all the head fakes, the millions of dollars in ad reservations made and canceled and the pleas for help from underdogs to D.C. bosses, the battle for the Senate has winnowed to six races. The Senate will be won, insiders say, in a half-dozen states that could go either way on Election Day: The traditional swing states of Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, and the newly competitive states of North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana, which historically lean Republican. Here’s the Indiana race analysis: Republican Todd Young's campaign is laser-focused on a glaring vulnerability that’s dogged Democrat Evan Bayh since he entered the race in July: The charge that he abandoned Indiana until he wanted to run for office again. In Indianapolis last week, Young spoke of a manufacturing business owner in Evansville and the problems he was having complying with Obamacare — and added a not-too-subtle dig at Bayh. “These are the kinds of things that you learn by actually spending time with the people you want to represent,” the GOP congressman told an assembled crew of small business owners. Democrat Evan Bayh's lead over Republican Todd Young, right, has dwindled to single digits after a barrage of attack ad. Democrat Evan Bayh's lead over Republican Todd Young, right, has dwindled to single digits after a barrage of attack ad. Thought by Democrats to be a lock when the former senator and governor enjoyed a double-digit advantage three months ago, Bayh has seen his lead dwindle to single digits after a barrage of attack ads. Democrats are betting that Indiana voters’ long history with the Bayh family will be enough. Despite public disillusionment with political insiders, “folks still know and trust the Bayh name," said Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.).


BAYH VITIS LUGAR RURAL HEALTH CENTER: Evan Bayh visited the Richard Lugar Center for Rural Health at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). The Democratic Senate nominee met with medical students, physicians, and hospital leaders during his visit to discuss ways to improve rural healthcare in southern Indiana and across the state. The group discussed practical solutions to improving rural health, including the importance of education and programs like the 21st Century Scholars, signed into law by Bayh as Governor, which has helped to produce a strong healthcare workforce in rural Indiana communities. “Today I was pleased to meet with medical students, physicians and leaders here at Union Hospital— the same hospital where I was born— to talk about practical solutions to the problems facing Hoosier families in rural communities across the state," said Bayh. “The Richard Lugar Center for Rural Health is doing great work, and if I'm honored to be elected on November 8, I will be a strong partner in their efforts to improve the lives of Hoosier families in rural communities."


HILL ENDORSED BY JOURNAL GAZETTE, NWI TIMES:  Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette and The Times of Northwest Indiana (NWI Times) have both endorsed Curtis Hill for Attorney General of Indiana. Hill is the Republican nominee and an experienced prosecuting attorney (Howey Politics Indiana). In its endorsement, the Journal Gazette compared the qualifications of the two candidates for Attorney General and concluded, “For this job, leadership skills may outweigh either judicial or prosecutorial experience. On that basis, we endorse Curtis Hill.” The NWI Times explained, “We believe Hill is best suited to continue the strong watchdog role established by his Republican predecessors. For that reason, Hill gets our endorsement.” The newspaper acknowledged both candidates’ extensive legal experience, but added that Hill “impressed us as having a deeper desire to root out public corruption...In fact, Hill wants to ‘ramp up’ the office’s efforts in this regard.” Hill graciously accepted the endorsements, saying, “I’m honored to receive the endorsements of these two well-regarded newspapers. As Indiana’s next Attorney General, I will always be fully committed to living up to the faith and trust they have placed in me and my capabilities.”


GOP JUMPS ON OBAMACARE DOUBLE-DIGIT INCREASES: Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday (Associated Press). That's sure to stoke another Obamacare controversy days before a presidential election. Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less. Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles. Republicans pounced on the numbers as a warning that insurance markets created by the 2010 health overhaul are teetering toward a "death spiral." Sign-up season starts Nov. 1, about a week before national elections in which the GOP remains committed to a full repeal. "It's over for Obamacare," Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said at a campaign rally Monday evening in Tampa, Florida.


HOOSIERS CAN FIND ACA PLANS FOR LESS THAN $75 A MONTH: Approximately 48 percent of Indiana Marketplace consumers will be able to find a plan with a premium of less than $75 per month, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released Monday (Bremer, Anderson Herald Bulletin). Also, 56 percent will be able to find plans with premiums below $100. The report also shows that Indiana consumers who come back to shop will have options, with an average of 44 plans to choose from. With the Nov. 1 start of Open Enrollment just days away, Indiana consumers can now visit to check out their options for 2017 coverage. "Thanks to financial assistance, most current Marketplace consumers in Indiana will be able to find plans with premiums between $50 and $100 per month," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. HHS said that 81 percent of current Indiana Marketplace consumers are eligible for tax credits that bring down the cost of coverage. In addition, an estimated 45,000 Hoosiers currently paying full price for health insurance in the off-Marketplace individual market could be eligible for tax credits if they purchase 2017 coverage through the Marketplace.


GREGG CAMPAIGN TO LAUNCH WEEK-LONG BUS TOUR SATURDAY: A media advisory from the John Gregg for Governor campaign announced a "Moving Indiana Forward" bus tour, which will take John Gregg and Christina Hale to more than 50 communities across the state over seven days (Howey Politics Indiana). The tour kicks-off in Gregg's hometown of Sandborn and will include rallies, visits to schools, local businesses, factory gates, shops and town squares. Superintendent Glenda Ritz, attorney general candidate Lorenzo Arredondo, Evan Bayh and Senator Joe Donnelly are expected to join for portions the tour, the release stated. Congressional, Statehouse and local candidates will also participate in the various events.


GREGG IN RICHMOND ON THURSDAY: Democratic candidate for governor John Gregg will speak at the Wayne County New Deal Dinner on Thursday evening in Richmond (Sheeley, Richmond Palladium-Item). His appearance was announced Monday by his campaign. Sen. Joe Donnnelly and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz already were scheduled to appear at the event. The evening begins with social time at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Richmond Holiday Inn.


BELL WANTS SMALLER GOVT. ROLE: Rex Bell hasn't gotten much attention as a third-party candidate in the high-profile race for the governor's seat also sought by Republican Eric Holcomb and Democrat John Gregg (Hayden, CNHI). But it's not for lack of effort. The Libertarian Bell has appeared on stages with both candidates in a variety of forums, including the series of televised gubernatorial debates. In those venues, in interviews and on his campaign's website, Bell has laid out a free-market, minimalist-government philosophy that he believes would resonate with more Hoosiers if they only knew more about it. "Everybody has a little bit of Libertarian in them," Bell said in an interview earlier this year. "Most of us just want to live our lives without other people telling us what to do."


CARDWELL CALLS ON DEMOCRATS TO DENOUNCE ATTACKS ON ISP: Indiana Republican Chairman Jeff Cardwell made the following statement, according to a news release distributed by the state GOP yesterday afternoon (Howey Politics Indiana): "Last week the State Democrat Party accused Secretary of State Connie Lawson of partisanship and inflammatory election rhetoric. Today, I call on State Democrat Chairman John Zody to denounce the advertisements by Patriot Majority USA that shamelessly attack the integrity of the Indiana State Police. Otherwise, the Democrat Party is completely complicit in these unfounded and absurd attacks on the honor and virtue of our state troopers."


INDEMS CRITICAL OF YOUNG STANCE ON ABORTION: A news release from the Indiana Democratic Party stated that Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Todd Young as recently as May indicated "that under no circumstances, including rape, incest, and if the mother's life is endangered, should an abortion be legal" (Howey Politics Indiana). "Congressman Todd Young has outdone even Richard Mourdock with his harmful positions on women's health," said Brooke Bainum, press secretary for state Democrats. "Young's belief that the government should get between a woman and her doctor even when her own life is in danger demonstrates a stunning commitment to an agenda that is dangerous to Hoosier women and families."


YOUNG AD - 'BAYH LEFT US TO WORK FOR THEM': "Once a trusted senator, Evan Bayh changed and went to work for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton," according to a 60-second digital ad released yesterday by the Todd Young for Senate campaign. The ad claims Democrat Bayh pushed for higher social security taxes, cutting billions from Medicare, and casting the deciding vote on Obamacare. "Then, Evan Bayh traded politics for profit, the worst form of pay-to-play: Wall Street's private equity; big oil; a bailed-out bank; a real estate conglomerate; a Washington lobbying firm on the payroll of insurance giants, drug makers, and utility monopolies," the ad stated. "Bayh is even working for a Wall Street hedge fund that was fined for misleading and defrauding retirees. Fact is, Evan Bayh left us to work for them."


NATIONAL GOP OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SENATE RACE: At a time when many Republicans find little to be optimistic about, some hope that the Indiana Senate race will be a bright spot (Levinson, National Review). Republican representative Todd Young has made significant progress closing a more than 20-point deficit in the polls behind former senator and governor Evan Bayh in the race to replace retiring Republican senator Dan Coats. Bayh's eleventh hour entry into the race made him the instant front-runner, but the two most recent public surveys put him ahead by just six points. Though that's still quite a gap, Republicans here profess confidence that the race is trending their way. While the national environment threatens to drag down GOP Senate candidates elsewhere, this race has been relatively insulated from the turmoil at the top of the ticket, fueling Republican hopes that Young can pull off an unexpected victory.


BAYH SLAMS YOUNG FOR 'PUTTING CORPORATE INTERESTS' FIRST: During an interview on Sunday with WTHR-TV's Ken Rader, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Evan Bayh criticized his Republican opponent, Toddy Young, for the latter's "record of putting corporate interests before Hoosier voters," stated a news release from the Indiana Democratic Party (Howey Politics Indiana). The release noted that "Bayh criticized Congressman Todd Young for voting repeatedly to protect tax breaks for corporations like Carrier that ship jobs overseas. Congressman Young has even accepted campaign cash from Carrier after the company announced layoffs for 1,400 Hoosiers due to outsourcing."


150 MONTGOMERY COUNTY VOTERS ATTEND BAYH EVENT: More than 150 West Central Indiana voters gathered at the Stone Creek Lodge south of Crawfordsville Sunday evening to honor and support former Governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh in his campaign to retake the Senate seat he occupied from 1999 to 2010 (Crawfordsville Journal Review). Addressing the crowd, Bayh pledged to work as he always has to bring people together to find common ground for solving the problems Indiana and the nation face. He pledged to work to fix elements of the Affordable Health Care program while preserving access to health insurance for all Hoosiers. He would support changes to allow across-state competition among insurers, while assuring that individuals with pre-existing conditions have insurance coverage, and prohibiting insurers from dumping policy holders because they have experienced catastrophic health care expenses. Bayh said he will continue to "champion Social Security and Medicare, fulfilling the pledge that we've made to take care of our senior citizens."


YODER 'CONFIDENT': After raising $439,000 in the last quarter and an October Garin-Hart-Young poll showing her race to be a toss up, Democrat Shelli Yoder is confident with lass than 20 days left in her 9th CD campaign (Thomas Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). The Monroe County Council woman's race vs. Republican Trey Hollingsworth has attracted national attention from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the form of a recently released ad partially funded by the DCCC. The 9th CD, which had been considered safe Republican since 2010, has come into play due to claims that Hollingsworth moved to Indiana from Tennessee for the purpose of buying the Congressional seat and was therefore labeled a carpetbagger by his Republican primary opponents. Hollingsworth's campaign has been heavily financed by a Super Pac created by his father and saw nearly $2 million dollars spent in the primary alone.


HOLLINGSWORTH CLINGS TO TRUMP COATTAILS: Mitt Romney won the Ninth District by 17 points in 2012, but the race to replace Representative Todd Young (R-IN), who is now running for Senate, is a surprisingly close one between Trey Hollingsworth and his Democratic opponent, Shelli Yoder, who is making her second bid for the seat after losing in 2012 (Levinson, National Review). Yoder's campaign released an internal poll last week with the two candidates tied at 43 percent. Republicans do not dispute that the race is a close one. The Democratic group House Majority PAC made a weeklong ad buy in the district, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, on Monday, responded in kind with an ad attacking Yoder. "I think [Trump's] got enough coattails to get a close race for Trey over the line," says Justin Groenert, director of public policy and government relations for the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Hollingsworth clearly sees a benefit to staying with Trump. "I strongly support my Republican nominee for president," he says. "I don't endorse every word that he's ever said, I don't endorse every tweet that he's ever made, but I firmly believe that he is a better choice than Hillary Clinton." While door-knocking, he stops at houses with Trump-Pence signs, even if they're not on the list of homes of targeted voters.


NRCC AD SAYS YODER WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR ISIS: The National Republican Congressional Committee released a new ad attacking Democrat Shelli Yoder on support for defense cuts in Indiana's 9th District, an area that's seen little outside spending until now, with the NRCC and House Majority PAC on the airwaves at this point (Meyer, Politico). "ISIS barbarians want to destroy us and Shelli Yoder would make it easier for them," a narrator says in the NRCC ad. "Shelli Yoder's defense cuts are irresponsible and wrong."


ALL CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST BROOKSBANK: All charges have been dropped against Indiana congressional candidate Russell Brooksbank, who was accused of assaulting a police officer in September (Winer, Louisville Courier-Journal). Misdemeanor charges of improper signaling and interfering with an officer have been dropped against Brooksbank, a Libertarian running for Indiana's 9th Congressional District seat, court records show. That came after a judge cleared Brooksbank of charges of assaulting a police officer, which is a felony, earlier this month. The judge found no probable cause to believe that Brooksbank intended to injure the officer during a traffic stop, court records showed.


EARLY VOTING UP 26% IN MARION COUNTY: Many people have turned out early to the Marion County Clerk's Office in downtown Indianapolis (WTHR-TV). As soon as the doors opened at 8 a.m. Monday, a rush of early voters ran through the process of early voting. According to the Marion County Election Board, more than 1,200 people came into the Clerk's Office Monday to cast their ballots. The office said early voting is up by 26 percent, compared to this same time in 2012, and up 30 percent from this same time in 2008. The Marion County clerk said they're seeing voters by the busload on the weekend, with various groups bringing people by who may have trouble getting to the polls.

Presidential 2016


CBS TRACKER TIE IN NC: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are virtually tied in the key battleground state of North Carolina -- Hillary Clinton has an edge of just one percentage point, according to a Monmouth University survey released Monday (CBS News). Released only 15 days before Election Day on Nov. 8, the poll found 47 percent of likely voters support Clinton and 46 percent back Trump. Four percent said they plan to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson.


FLORIDA SPIRALS AWAY FROM TRUMP: From polling to early voting trends to TV ad spending to ground game, Donald Trump’s Florida fortunes are beginning to look so bleak that some Republicans are steeling themselves for what could be the equivalent of a “landslide” loss in the nation’s biggest battleground state. Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in 10 of the 11 public polls conducted in October — according to POLITICO’s Battleground States polling average, Clinton has a 3.4 point lead. Even private surveys conducted by Republican-leaning groups show Trump’s in trouble in Florida, where a loss would end his White House hopes.


PENCE HEADS TO UTAH: With less than two weeks until the election, Mike Pence will be campaigning Wednesday in Utah, a state that last voted for a Democrat for president in 1964 (Politico). The Salt Lake City rally was announced Monday evening. The move, so late in the campaign, underscores the danger of a landslide now facing Donald Trump. Recent Utah polls show Trump in a dead heat in the state not just with Hillary Clinton but with independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin.


TRUMP, CONWAY CONTRADICT EACH OTHER: It’s almost as if Donald Trump’s campaign manager isn’t even talking to her candidate these days. Almost (Washington Post). On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway took to NBC’s “Meet the Press” and gamely and forthrightly acknowledged reality. “We are behind,” she said, adding that they were down one to four points in key states. (Which is actually a little rosy.) On Monday morning, Trump appeared to agree with her, telling a local news reporter that he was “somewhat behind in the polls.” Conway was apparently happy with this comment. She tweeted the following at about 3:30 p.m. The problem? Her own candidate completely disagrees with her assessment that he’s actually behind, and he had already said so multiple times on Monday. In a fiery and angry speech Monday afternoon in which he ripped into the media, the pollsters and all manner of alleged rigging of the election against him, Trump confidently declared, “We’re winning” multiple times. Remarkably, he said this just minutes before Conway’s tweet. He added later: “Folks, we’re winning. We’re winning. We’re winning.”


TRUMP GRAPPLES WITH REALITY: Fifteen days out from Election Day, a tone of resignation has crept into Donald Trump’s talk about his presidential ambitions, even as he still barks loudly about winning in November (Politico). The Republican presidential nominee expressed both sentiments Monday morning, acknowledging during a radio interview that he’s losing, while also boasting “we are winning” to his millions of supporters on Twitter, an incorrect claim that he accused the media of concealing. “I guess I’m somewhat behind in the polls but not by much,” Trump told Bo Thompson of WBT’s “Charlotte’s Morning News” on Monday. “I mean, in your state, I’m 1 point, 2 points and even in three polls. One point, 2 points and even.”


TRUMP SAYS TOO MUCH MADE OVER ACCEPTING VOTER DECISION: President Barack Obama said it’s not a joke, Hillary Clinton said it’s a threat to democracy, and first lady Michelle Obama said you don’t keep American democracy in suspense. But Donald Trump on Monday said it's being overblown (Politico). Indeed, the Republican presidential nominee on Monday morning said too much is being made about his refusal to say during the final presidential debate that he would accept the outcome of the election. “Yes, I think too much is being made,” Trump told Bo Thompson on WBT-AM’s “Charlotte’s Morning News.” “But, you know, everybody had me winning the third debate and the second debate handily, easily. And when I made that statement, I made it knowingly, because what’s happening is absolutely ridiculous.”


TOOMEY WON’T ANSWER TRUMP QUESTIONS:  Sen. Pat Toomey again refused to say whether he would vote for Donald Trump, making him the only vulnerable Republican senator to keep his constituents in the dark on where he stands on the issue (NBC News). "I don't think my constituents care that much how one person is going to vote," Toomey said in response to the third ask by the moderator at Monday night's Pennsylvania Senate debate. "They're gonna make their own decision, all across the commonwealth, about who they're going to support and who they're not going to support," Toomey added. "I think they care much more about whether I've got policies that are gonna help grow this economy, whether I've got policies that are gonna help keep us safe, and that's the contrast on which they'll make their decision."


DEMS STOKE UP EARLY NEVADA VOTE: Katy Perry’s glamor, Tom Steyer’s money, Univision’s megaphone and organized labor’s muscle, along with a late assist from Barack Obama, each helped lubricate Harry Reid’s well-oiled political machine over the past 48 hours (Washington Post). The media tends to focus on the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton relative to President Obama, which is real, but a few thousand more ballots were cast in Nevada on Saturday -- during the first day of early voting -- than during the kickoff day four years ago, when there was a similar flurry of activity to propel Democrats to the polls. And that was before Air Force One touched down yesterday afternoon. It is a testament to the power of the organization that Reid, the retiring Senate Minority Leader, has built over three decades, which he is now using to get Clinton and his hand-picked successor, Catherine Cortez Masto, across the finish line. As much as 60 percent of the vote will be cast before Nov. 8 in the Silver State.


TRUMP SAYS WOMAN ‘GRABBED BEFORE’: Donald Trump on Monday verbally attacked a woman who accused him of kissing and hugging her without consent, saying sarcastically, "I'm sure she has never been grabbed before" (Politico). “I don’t grab them, you know as they say on the arm,” Trump said Monday on New Hampshire Today with Jack Heath on WGIR, as first reported by CNN. “One said, 'he grabbed me on the arm' and she is a porn star, this one who came out recently. He grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm — oh I’m sure she has never been grabbed before.” On Saturday, Jessica Drake, an adult film director and actress, accused Trump of unwanted contact during a charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2006.


REPUBLICANS THREATEN TO SUE TV STATIONS OVER TRUMP LINK ADS: Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump (Huffington Post). Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans ? Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother ? contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation.  All five Republicans have, at some point, said they don’t support Trump. And all five have a bit of a case: The DCCC ads do use some creativity to tie them to Trump.


TRUMP LAUNCHES NIGHTLY BROADCAST VIA FACEBOOK LIVE: Donald Trump launched a nightly Facebook Live program on Monday, amidst speculation that the Republican presidential nominee is plotting some sort of media channel should he lose the election Nov. 8 (Cirilli, Bloomberg News). Trump's campaign blasted out an e-mail to supporters shortly before 6:30 p.m. ET, alerting them about "Trump Tower Live," which the e-mail described as "nightly campaign coverage from Trump Tower." The program featured Trump campaign advisers Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims, as well as prominent conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, and Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer. There's been mounting speculation that Trump is considering launching his own media channel after the election should he lose to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The Financial Times reported last week that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner contacted LionTree's Aryeh Bourkoff some time in the past few months to discuss launching "Trump TV."


BOTH SIDES CLAIM EARLY VOTE ADVANTAGE: Hillary Clinton’s campaign is touting some “eye-popping” advantages in early voting, in an apparent effort to energize Democratic voters, but preliminary figures suggest the race remains tighter than her aides acknowledge (Fox News). The preliminary numbers appear to show Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, with an edge in several of the roughly 10 battleground states that will decide the 2016 White House race. “We're seeing eye-popping vote-by-mail application numbers,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on “Fox News Sunday.” In Arizona and North Carolina, for example, more registered Democrats than Republicans have indeed cast early ballots. But such numbers are open to interpretation, including how many Democrats in those two states voted for Clinton.  Meanwhile, early data shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with potential advantages of his own in battleground states Florida, Ohio and elsewhere.




BROOKS, MESSER HOST SCHOOL SAFETY ROUNDTABLE TODAY: U.S Reps. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) and Luke Messer (R-IN) will host a roundtable discussion this afternoon with school administrators and superintendents, law enforcement officers, Indiana Department of Homeland Security personnel and school security providers to talk about how to improve safety and security for Hoosier students (Howey Politics Indiana). The venue is Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers. A news release from the congresswoman's office stated Brooks and Messer are members of the bipartisan Congressional School Safety Caucus and hope to use this discussion as a way to raise awareness and improve understanding of the challenges faced by schools, law enforcement and communities when it comes to school safety.


General Assembly


LONG SAYS ASSEMBLY WILL FOCUS ON BUDGET, NOT RFRA: The president pro tempore of the Indiana Senate faces a passionate newcomer to politics in the race for the 16th Senate District (Caylor, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel). Republican David Long was first elected to the state Senate in 1996; before that, he had been a Fort Wayne City Council member for two terms. His challenger, Democrat Juli Dominguez, has been a teacher for more than 20 years. If he wins re-election this year, Long said, he expects the Legislature to dwell on budget issues rather than taking another run at revising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said that arriving at a statewide anti-discrimination standard would be better for the state, but for now, legislators prefer to let local communities pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances to protect the rights of LGBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer/questioning) Hoosiers. "That's where the comfort level seems to be," Long said. "We're fast approaching the point where half our people live (in jurisdictions with those protections)," he said.


BANKS ASKS IF INDIANA GUARD MUST REPAY BONUSES, TOO: State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) sent a letter to Gov. Mike Pence and Maj. Gen. Courtney Carr, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard, concerning a recent Los Angeles Times article about California National Guard members having to repay enlistment bonuses to the federal government (Howey Politics Indiana). "This article highlighted a concerning problem impacting members of the California National Guard," Banks said in a news release. "I sent this letter asking if this situation is occurring in Indiana. I'm hopeful it's not, but it's important to take the necessary steps to protect our servicemen and women from this issue." Banks added that as a veteran himself, it's troubling to read about how these servicemembers were enticed by reenlistment bonuses, but are now asked to repay them. The Los Angeles Times article titled, "Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war," was published Oct. 22, 2016.



GOVERNOR: WÜRTH TO CREATE UP TO 60 JOBS IN GREENWOOD - Würth Service Supply Inc., a distributor of assembly and fastening materials for manufacturers, announced plans today to expand its headquarters in Greenwood, creating up to 60 new jobs by 2020, according to a news release from the governor's office (Howey Politics Indiana). The company, which is part of Würth Industry North America (WINA) and owned by Germany-based Würth Group, will invest $11.5 million to construct and equip a 230,000-square-foot facility in Greenwood's Southpoint Business Park near I-65. The new facility will add 82,000 square feet of space to the company's headquarters, which is currently housed on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Würth Service Supply up to $400,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. The city of Greenwood has approved additional incentives.


ECONOMY: SITE PURCHASED FOR PORT ON OHIO RIVER - The Ports of Indiana is moving forward with a plan to build a fourth port, but it won't be on Lake Michigan as Gary and East Chicago officials once hoped (Pete, NWI Times). Commercial Development Company Inc. has announced it bought a 725-acre former coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River, and is working with the Indianapolis-based Ports of Indiana to build a fourth port there. The retired Tanners Creek power plant in Lawrenceburg had belonged to Indiana Michigan Power and was decommissioned last year. It is in the Cincinnati area, about 90 miles from the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville across from Louisville, Kentucky. The developer plans to do environmental remediation and tear down all the buildings, which would take an estimated 3 to 5 years. "We have identified the retired Lawrenceburg plant as a potential site for future port development," Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper said. "It's too early to say what could be constructed here, but we're excited to have the exclusive right to further investigate this site."


JUSTICE: PUBLIC DEFENDER SYSTEM FLAWED, STUDY SAYS - The state's public defender system is not only woefully underfunded, legal experts say, the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial is routinely violated in Indiana (Hussein, IndyStar). Lack of oversight of the public defense system, inconsistent funding and subpar representation contribute to the problems, the experts said. "We need to make significant reforms to our system," said Norman Lefstein, dean emeritus at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. "However, it's been an uphill battle for decades." Lefstein's comments come in response to a study released Monday by the Sixth Amendment Center, a public defense advocacy firm in Boston. The 212-page study argues that some of the state's biggest problems stem from how the defense system is funded.


EDUCATION: INITIATIVE TO HELP STUDENTS GET SCHOLARSHIPS - A new initiative plans to enroll 500 new high school students in a state-sponsored college scholarship program for low-income students (Balonon-Rosen, Indiana Public Media). The partnership announced Monday between Indiana Black Expo, Indiana University and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education will identify, enroll and help students complete requirements for the 21st Century Scholarship program. The program provides low-income students up to four years of undergraduate tuition at participating public colleges or universities. "Indiana's 21st Century Scholarship program has helped more than 30,000 low-income and first-generation Hoosier students gain the life-changing benefits of a college degree," said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers, in a statement. "Indiana needs more partnerships like this one in every corner of the state." The organizations will select students who qualify for the 21st Century Scholars program from Indianapolis Public Schools, Warren Township, Wayne Township and Archdiocese of Indianapolis Catholic schools.



WHITE HOUSE: OBAMA LAUGHS AT TRUMP - He's castigated Donald Trump as a dangerous demagogue whose claims of a rigged election are eroding US democracy. But President Barack Obama said Monday his most common reaction to the GOP nominee is just to laugh (CNN). During a taping of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" television program, the late-night host asked the President if his response to the Republican during the presidential debates was to let out a chuckle. "Most of the time," Obama responded to cheers. Later, detailing the responsibilities of his job, Obama declared: "I don't tweet at 3 a.m. about people who insult me."


PENTAGON: NATIONAL GUARDSMAN ORDERED TO REPAY FEDS - The Pentagon is reviewing how to resolve the cases of thousands of Army National Guard members who collectively received at least $30 million, only to be told later that the money wasn’t really theirs and must be repaid (Washington Post). About 10,000 members of the California Army National Guard could be affected, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The military offered similar bonuses to Guard members in other parts of the country but hasn’t disclosed how many. Davis said Monday that senior Pentagon leaders are “looking very closely at this matter.” Officials deemed the bonuses in California improper and have established a process for service members to argue that they should not repay the money.


MARIJUANA: NOV. 8 COULD BE TIPPING POINT - To the red-and-blue map of American politics, it may be time to add green. The movement to legalize marijuana, the country’s most popular illicit drug, will take a giant leap on Election Day if California and four other states vote to allow recreational cannabis, as polls suggest they may (New York Times). The map of where pot is legal could include the entire West Coast of the United States and a string of states reaching from the Pacific Ocean to Colorado, raising a stronger challenge to the federal government’s ban on the drug. In addition to California, Massachusetts and Maine both have legalization initiatives on the ballot next month that seem likely to pass. Arizona and Nevada are also voting on recreational marijuana, with polls showing Nevada voters evenly split. The passage of recreational marijuana laws in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington over the last four years partly unlocked the door toward eventual federal legalization. But a yes vote in California, which has an economy the size of a large industrial country’s, could blow the door open, experts say. “If we’re successful, it’s the beginning of the end of the war on marijuana,” said Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California and a former mayor of San Francisco. “If California moves, it will put more pressure on Mexico and Latin America writ large to reignite a debate on legalization there.” The market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is projected to grow to $22 billion in four years from $7 billion this year if California says yes, according to projections by the ArcView Group, a company that links investors with cannabis companies.


OBAMACARE: RATES TO SKYROCKET: Obamacare premiums are set to skyrocket an average of 22% for the benchmark silver plan in 2017, according to a government report released Monday (CNN). The price hike is the latest blow to Obamacare. Insurers are raising prices and downsizing their presence on the exchanges as they try to stem losses from sicker-than-anticipated customers. Enrollment for 2017 will be closely watched since insurers want to see younger and healthier consumers enroll. The benchmark silver plan -- upon which federal subsidies are based -- will cost an average of $296 a month next year. That figure is based on prices for a 27-year-old enrollee in the 39 states that use the federal exchange, plus the four states and Washington D.C. that have their own exchanges.


DEA: AGENCY STOPPED PURSUING OPIOID CASES - A decade ago, the Drug ¬≠Enforcement Administration launched an aggressive campaign to curb a rising opioid epidemic that was claiming thousands of American lives each year. The DEA began to target wholesale companies that distributed hundreds of millions of highly addictive pills to the corrupt pharmacies and pill mills that illegally sold the drugs for street use (Washington Post). Leading the campaign was the agency’s Office of Diversion Control, whose investigators around the country began filing civil cases against the distributors, issuing orders to immediately suspend the flow of drugs and generating large fines. But the industry fought back. Former DEA and Justice Department officials hired by drug companies began pressing for a softer approach. In early 2012, the deputy attorney general summoned the DEA’s diversion chief to an unusual meeting over a case against two major drug companies. “That meeting was to chastise me for going after industry, and that’s all that meeting was about,” recalled Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the diversion office for a decade before he was removed from his position and retired in 2015. Rannazzisi vowed after that meeting to continue the campaign. But soon officials at DEA headquarters began delaying and blocking enforcement actions, and the number of cases plummeted, according to on-the-record interviews with five former agency supervisors and internal records obtained by The Washington Post.From 2000 to 2014, 165,000 people died of overdoses of prescription painkillers nationwide. The crisis has also fostered follow-on epidemics of heroin, which caused nearly 55,000 overdose deaths in the same period, and fentanyl, which has killed thousands more. The number of U.S. opioid prescriptions has risen from 112 million in 1992 to 249 million in 2015.



CITIES: EVANSVILLE OKS SEWER RATE HIKES - Evansville Water and Sewer customers will see a larger utility bill in the new year (Evans, Evansville Courier & Press). City Council on Monday unanimously approved sewer rate hikes the city will implement every year for the next four years - with monthly rates beginning at about $61 for the average customer in 2017 and rising to about $85 for the same customer in 2020. Despite the hikes, public opposition was scarce at Monday's meeting. Evansville resident Elijah Keller called the rate increases an "undue burden" on rate-payers. The new rates will also impact out-of-city customers, who already pay 35 percent more than in-city customers. The city entered into a a $729 million, 24-year agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year. The city has to make significant upgrades to its sewer system, and control the amount of untreated sewer water gets pumped into the Ohio River, or face fines and other punishment.


CITIES: RAISES APPROVED IN SOUTH BEND BUDGET - The Common Council voted in favor of raises for the city clerk and various department heads Monday, as well as the 2017 city budget, despite some objections (Blasko, South Bend Tribune). Excluding police, fire and Teamsters, the council approved 73 raises above the normal 2 percent, ranging from 3 percent to more than 30 percent. Notably, members approved a 14 percent raise for the clerk, a 17 percent raise for the controller, a 22 percent raise for the lead city attorney and a 23 percent raise for the parks director. City clerk Kareemah Fowler's request for a $10,000 raise, from $59,466 to $69,500, passed by a vote of 6-3, with members Oliver Davis, D-District 6, Dave Varner, D-District 5, and John Voorde, D-at large, opposed. Mayor Pete Buttigieg's request for the other raises passed by a vote of 6-3, with Regina Williams-Preston, D-District 2, Varner and Davis opposed.


CITIES: JEFFERSONVILLE SEEKS EXTENSION OF SEWER MANDATE - Despite having one of the highest sewer rates in the state, Jeffersonville is requesting an extension to fund an EPA mandate on controlling sewer overflows because of financial shortfalls (Beilman, News & Tribune). The city's sewer department is waiting to hear back from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on a letter it sent asking for a 10-year extension to comply with the mandate. Jeffersonville, like many other U.S. cities, must reduce its number of untreated sewer overflows into streams and rivers. The mandate states Jeffersonville can't have more than one overflow into the Ohio River and three into Can Run Creek each year. The city is also hoping to negotiate that limit to a lower standard. Over the last eight years, Jeffersonville experienced on average 72 overflows each year. In 2015, about 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage dumped into local waterways each overflow.


CITIES: FORMER GARY EMPLOYEE INDICTED - A federal grand jury indicted a Merrillville woman Monday over allegations she stole more than 1,000 iPads and other computer equipment while employed in the City of Gary's Information Technology Department (Masters, Post-Tribune). Monique Bowling-Boyd, 44, is charged with one count of theft from local government receiving federal funds stemming from the alleged theft of the computer equipment. She is also charged one count of aggravated identity theft and four counts of mail fraud over an alleged scheme to cash pension checks of a deceased person. Federal authorities arrested Bowling-Boyd on Monday, according to court documents. In 2016, a State Board of Accounts special audit uncovered the alleged scheme to purchase computers, tablets, printers and wireless cellphones with city accounts payable vouchers. The equipment was later uncovered during a police traffic stop in Chicago.


CITIES: $3.4M IN BUDGET CUTS PROPOSED IN FORT WAYNE - In preparation for what is likely to be a marathon meeting today, several Fort Wayne City Council members have submitted about $3.4 million in cuts to the city's 2017 budget (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The cuts, totaling $3,427,290, were submitted to City Clerk Lana Keesling on Friday afternoon, the majority of which were submitted by Council President Russ Jehl, R-2nd, and Councilman John Crawford, R-at large. Most of Crawford's cuts are deductions in salary line items for various departments, including Animal Care & Control, Community Development, the Fire Department, Parks, Public Works and Streets. The salary cuts range from $20,000 to $80,000. The city's total property tax-supported budget is about $158 million. Jehl's cuts largely mirror a presentation he gave at the council's Oct. 18 meeting. During that meeting, Jehl said he would like to restructure county economic development income tax funds and make cuts to certain departmental budgets in order to move toward a pay-as-you-go system for improvements to city parks. Jehl said if approved, his cuts would help keep the city's Parks and Recreation Department from having to pay debt service on a 12-year $10 million bond.


CITIES: SOUTH BEND TO PURCHASE BUILDING FOR HOMELESS - The city plans to spend as much as $125,000 to shelter the homeless, including the 30 to 40 people living under the railroad viaduct on south Main Street, near Four Winds Field (Blasko, South Bend Tribune). Pamela Meyer, with the Department of Community Investment, presented the plan to the Common Council on Monday. According to Meyer, the city will pay as much as $125,000 for the old Kraz Construction Building across the alley from Hope Ministries. The city will transfer the building to Hope, which will use it for Project Warm, a weather amnesty program that provides overnight shelter to homeless individuals living on the street during the winter. Project Warm will contribute $45,000 to the project for staffing and general maintenance, Meyer said. Hope Ministries will contribute as much as $30,000 for long-term maintenance and rehab.


COUNTIES: ALLEN PROPOSES DRUG DETOX FOR INMATES - Allen County officials have proposed a new approach to help inmates detox from drug addiction (Duffy, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). For years, opioid abusers have been arrested, gone through a painful detox in the Allen County Jail and been released on probation, only to wind up back in jail for another detox bout. Some offenders are channeled by the prosecutor's office into the Allen County Drug Court overseen by Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull. The rest wind up in Criminal Court overseen by Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis. The decision about which court the offenders end up in is up to the prosecutor's office. This perpetual cycle of capture, detox, release and re-arrest has led some health professionals, probate officers, criminal judges and law enforcement officials to propose a new approach that reduces recidivism, saves taxpayer money and helps the addicted get back on their feet. Called Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, it usually starts 10 to 14 days from the first day of detox. Fort Wayne proponents such as Davis and Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County health commissioner, want to see MAT start in the jail, which would require an assessment and most likely an injection of the drug Vivitrol before the addict leaves jail. Vivitrol, usually given monthly, reduces the desperate craving for drugs.