SUPT. McCORMICK TO TOUR WITH SEN. MELTON: Supt. Jennifer McCormick will join State Sen. Eddie Melton on an education listening tour (Howey Politics Indiana). “I am excited that Dr. McCormick will be joining our Hoosier Community Conversations and sharing her expertise and passion about education across the state with me," said Melton. "It is an honor to share this platform with Dr. McCormick, who has been an advocate for Indiana’s students and families.” “Indiana needs more state-wide leaders who value the voices of practitioners and community stakeholders, as demonstrated by Sen. Eddie Melton,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick. “As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I am optimistic that a potential 2020 gubernatorial candidate has the foresight and the willingness to elevate educational issues and work collaboratively.  This next election will direct the future of our state for generations to come. Decisions regarding the education of our children must be at the very heart of that future.” It's prompted Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer to question her motives. Sessions will take place in East Chicago on July 8, Valparaiso on July 9, Indianapolis on July 11, Lafayette on July 12, Fort Wayne on July 15, Connersville on July 20 and Evansville on July 22. They will continue through August.  "Today's announcement seems to confirm the rumors of the last few weeks: that Jennifer McCormick is auditioning for a new job -- including as the lieutenant governor nominee on the Democrat ticket in 2020," Hupfer said. "After being on stage at our Republican Conventions in 2016 and 2018, running on GOP ideals in 2016 and accepting campaign aid from thousands of Republican Party supporters across the state, it begs the question whether Jennifer McCormick is still a Republican. I'm sure someone will ask her that soon."

DR. MAGIERA TO CHALLENGE REP. BANKS IN GOP PRIMARY: Dr. Chris Magiera announced Monday he will challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Banks in the Republican primary in 2020 (Howey Politics Indiana). "The theme of my candidacy will be that the Congress has created the present administrative state fiasco by unconstitutionally delegating power to the agencies," Magiera said in an email to HPI. "If it is not in Article I of the Constitution, specifically Section 8, then it is not a legitimate enumerated power of Congress. The Founders created the Constitution to protect our God-given natural rights and liberties, and, under the Progressive influence of the last 100 years, all three branches of our federal government have strayed from the Founders' path." Magiera added, "I am a 4th generation, fully assimilated, Polish American from South Bend, who currently lives in Warsaw, IN. I have been practicing medicine for 37 years, and am a gastroenterologist."

BUTTIGIEG SEEKS DOJ REVIEW OF POLICE SHOOTING: South Bend’s mayor has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking a review of the case involving the South Bend police shooting of Eric J. Logan. He also prayed with ministers Monday and later urged more public input over the policies that govern the police department (Parrott & Swiercz, South Bend Tribune). Monday’s events came two weeks after South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill fatally shot Logan in a downtown parking lot. Logan, allegedly caught breaking into cars, had approached O’Neill with a knife when confronted, the officer has told investigators. O’Neill did not turn on his body camera. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, standing in front of 17 community leaders at the Charles Martin Youth Center late Monday afternoon, announced the DOJ letter and other efforts being done to address city police policies. Prior to the news conference, the mayor had a closed-door meeting with the gathering of community members. This came hours after Buttigieg joined a prayer gathering of area ministers in the lobby of the County-City building Monday. At the Charles Martin center, Buttigieg called on the community to begin learning about the city Board of Public Safety’s various policies and offer comment on possible ways to improve them. The safety board oversees the policies that govern the police department. Buttigieg said rules on body cameras, use of force, police pursuits and others will be reviewed in the coming weeks. He said the public needs to be part of the review. Training and minority recruitment also are on the agenda, Buttigieg said, for he restated the city’s inability to have a diverse police force that closely represents the racial makeup of the community. “That means engaging this community above and beyond anything we have done to date to make sure we get qualified, diverse applicants, and that we tear down any unnecessary or unfair barriers to diverse applicants succeeding in becoming part of our department,” he said.

BIDEN LEAD SHRINKS IN CNN POLL; BUTTIGIEG AT JUST 4%: Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have made steep gains after the first Democratic presidential debate, a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. shows, with former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over the field shrinking to a narrow 5 points. The results indicate a significant tightening in the race for the Democratic nomination. The poll, conducted after the two-night debate, finds 22% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents backing Biden for the party's presidential nomination, 17% Harris, 15% Warren and 14% Sen. Bernie Sanders. No one else in the 23-person field tested hits 5%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg sank to 4%, down from 7% in April and 5% in May. The poll shows that 43% still believe Biden has the best chance of defeating President Trump.

RICH GET RICHER; THE REST OF US ... NOT SO MUCH: Last month Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour sold his guitar collection for $21.5 million, including one piece - his famed “Black Strat” Fender Stratocaster - that went for nearly $4 million to the owner of the U.S. National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts (Reuters). New York-based art dealer Sotheby’s Holdings auctioned Claude Monet’s “Meules” for $110.7 million, the most ever for an Impressionist painting. Welcome to the longest U.S. economic expansion in history, one perhaps best characterized by the excesses of extreme wealth and an ever-widening chasm between the unfathomably rich and everyone else. Indeed, as the expansion entered its record-setting 121st month on Monday, signs of a new Gilded Age are all over. The number of billionaires in the United States has more than doubled in the last decade, from 267 in 2008 to 607 last year, according to UBS. “The rich have gotten richer and they’ve gotten richer faster,” said John Mathews, Head of Private Wealth Management and Ultra High Net Worth at UBS (UBSG.S) Global Wealth Management. “The drive or the desire for consumption has just gone upscale.” But there are also signs of struggle and stagnation at lower-income levels. The wealthiest fifth of Americans hold 88% of the country’s wealth, a share that has grown since before the crisis, Federal Reserve data through 2016 shows. Meanwhile, the number of people receiving federal food stamps tops 39 million, below the peak in 2013 but still up 40% from 2008 even though the country’s population has only grown about 8%.

TRUMP GETS MIXED REVIEWS ON ECONOMY INN AP POLL: Americans give President Donald Trump mixed reviews for his economic stewardship despite the growth achieved during this presidency (AP). The findings from a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research come as the economy appears to have set a record for the longest expansion in U.S. history. Nearly two-thirds describe the economy as "good," while 47% say they approve of how Trump is handling the issue. About 4 in 10 approve of how he is handling his job overall. The survey indicates that most Americans do not believe they're personally benefiting from his trade policies. Only 17% say they received a tax cut after the president's tax overhaul passed in 2017.

LEGAL MARIJUANA CREATES ISSUES IN INDIANA: From a possible increase in impaired driving to potential changes in workplace drug testing, legalization of marijuana in Illinois raises a number of concerns. Not all of them are confined to the state’s borders (Taylor, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). A bill signed last week by Gov. J.B. Pritzker allows recreational use of marijuana starting Jan. 1. Medical cannabis is already permitted. Residents will be free to possess up to 30 grams, about one ounce, of marijuana. Out-of-staters will be restricted to half of that amount. But public consumption and driving under the influence will still be against the law. Come Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois will become the 11th state to have legalized recreational marijuana use. State and local police in Indiana have already had experience with travelers from states where the substance is legal. “We’ve conducted traffic stops where people are coming from or going back to Colorado and they’re confused because they purchased it legally,” aid Sgt. Matt Ames, Putnamville District spokesman for the Indiana State Police. Ames recommends anyone hitting the road check the laws of states where they will be traveling to avoid a citation — or a trip to jail. Hoosiers might also want to think twice about going to Illinois to buy weed. “If you purchased it in Illinois and bring it back to Indiana, you will be arrested,” Ames said. “It’s a lot like having a handgun and carrying it from one state to another. I would ask people to educate themselves about which states allow marijuana and which states don’t.” Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse noted that possession of recreational amounts of marijuana would likely result only in a ticket.

TRUMP WANTS TANKS ON MALL FOR THE 4TH: National Park Service acting director Dan Smith faces plenty of looming priorities this summer, including an $11 billion backlog in maintenance needs as well as natural disasters such as the recent wildfire damage to Big Bend National Park (Washington Post). But in recent days, another issue has competed for Smith’s attention: How to satisfy President Trump’s request to station tanks or other armored military vehicles on the Mall for his planned Fourth of July address to the nation. The ongoing negotiations over whether to use massive military hardware, such as Abrams tanks or Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as a prop for Trump’s “Salute to America” is just one of many unfinished details when it comes to the celebration planned for Thursday, according to several people briefed on the plan, who spoke on the anonymity to speak frankly.

HOME RUNS UP 19% IN MLB: A month after setting a record for most home runs in a month, big league batters did it again and are on pace to shatter the season mark. The Elias Sports Bureau said Monday that batters hit 1,142 home runs in June, seven more than in May (AP). Five of the top six home run months have been in the last three years. August 2017 is third at 1,119, followed by June 2017 (1,101), May 2000 (1,069) and May 2017 (1,060). A total of 3,421 home runs were hit in 1,255 games through Sunday, an average of 2.73 per game. That is up 19% from the 2.28 average through June last year, when 2,822 home runs were hit in 1,236 games. Batters are on pace to hit 6,624 home runs — well above the record 6,105 set in 2017 and up from 5,585 last year. Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich leads the major leagues with 29 home runs, followed by New York Mets rookie Peter Alonso (28) and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (27).

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Mayor Buttigieg has asked the Department of Justice to review the June 16 police shooting. Should he end up on the Democratic presidential ticket, this could create an interesting dynamic where the Trump administration could make determinations on this local tragedy. - Brian A. Howey


HOLCOMB RAISES ANOTHER $1M: Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb continues swelling his campaign bank account ahead of the expected formal launch of his re-election bid (AP). Holcomb's campaign says it collected $1 million at a fundraising event this past week and received a $1 million transfer from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch's campaign account. That comes as Holcomb's campaign ended 2018 with about $4 million in the bank, with new state campaign reports due in mid-July. The former state Republican chairman has scheduled a July 13 announcement event at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown.

LEVIN TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR AS LIBERTARIAN: Bill Levin, the leader of Indianapolis’ First Church of Cannabis, will try to become the state’s next governor (WRTV). Levin said Monday he will seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for governor. The party will hold its convention next spring for the 2020 election. The First Church of Cannabis recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. The members still can’t legally use marijuana in their church. Levin says he plans on making legalization the main part of his platform. In 2016, Rex Bell ran for governor in Indiana as the Libertarian nominee. He earned 24,693 votes – 1.34% of the total votes.

MUELLER TO LEAVE CITY JOB IN SOUTH BEND: James Mueller, the Democratic nominee to succeed Pete Buttigieg as mayor, won’t resume his job heading community investment in the city administration because campaigning while holding the position could violate the city’s ethics policy (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). After winning the Democratic primary election May 7, Mueller said he’d return to his job leading Department of Community Investment in mid-June. But Monday he said he’s not taking for granted a win over Republican candidate Sean Haas in the Nov. 5 general election, meaning he plans to work hard to raise campaign money. “If you look at the city’s ethics policy, it’s meant to prevent corruption or even the appearance of corruption,” Mueller said. “My campaign committee is a separate entity from myself. But the closer you get to interacting with individual businesses or other individuals on the outside, the specter of potential conflicts comes into play and we want to avoid that if at all possible.”

GOSHEN MAYOR STUTZMAN TO RUN UNOPPOSED: Democratic Mayor Jeremy Stutsman will run unopposed in November following a less than fruitful Republican caucus on Friday (Elkhart Truth). “We sort of expected it,” county Republican chairman Dan Holtz said after no consensus developed to find a challenger.

Presidential 2020

HARRIS SURGES IN LATEST POLL: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) surged past Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to rank third in the Democratic field after the first primary debate last week, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll. The survey, which was conducted between June 29 and 30 among 247 registered voters, found that 11 percent of possible Democratic primary voters chose Harris as first choice for president, compared to 9 percent of those who favored Warren. This marks a 6-point bump for Harris from when an identical poll was conducted two weeks ago. The previous poll, taken between June 14 and June 15, showed Warren and Harris, along with former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke (D) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), locked in a statistical tie for third place. Buttigieg had 4% in the poll.

BUTTIGIEG COURTS AN ARRAY OF DONORS WITH HIS 'BADASS' OPERATION:  When Pete Buttigieg’s top fund-raisers gathered in Miami Beach to watch the first Democratic debate last week, those in attendance included corporate executives, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding planner and a 19-year-old who had started a viral Facebook page supporting the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s presidential campaign (New York Times). It was a diverse group of supporters, but not a surprising one for Mr. Buttigieg. Through the first two fund-raising quarters, no other Democratic presidential candidate has married traditional high-dollar fund-raising with online small donations as successfully as Mr. Buttigieg, whose campaign announced on Monday that he had collected $24.8 million from more than 294,000 donors for the three-month period ending Sunday. While former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has tapped into the party’s major donors, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have staked their candidacies on grass-roots support, Mr. Buttigieg has risen to the top tier by doing both, after beginning his campaign virtually unknown outside of Indiana. His second-quarter total is likely to surpass every one of his rivals except perhaps for Mr. Biden, according to officials briefed on the candidates’ fund-raising efforts. “They’ve got a badass operation,” Rufus Gifford, the finance director for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said of Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign.

BUTTIGIEG TO ADDRESS YOUNG DEMS IN INDY: South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will headline the 2019 Young Democrats of America (YDA) convention in Indianapolis (Fox59). This year’s national convention will run from Wednesday, July 17 to Saturday, July 20 at Union Station and is expecting over 1,000 attendees, according to YDA spokespeople. Buttigieg will speak at the Thursday, July 18 evening general session, set to begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the convention are available at “Mayor Pete has long been a supporter of the Indiana Young Democrats, and our organization is honored to welcome him to the 2019 Young Democrats of America National Convention, for the first time in Indianapolis,” said Indiana Young Democrats National Committeewoman and South Bend native Arielle Brandy.

BUTTIGIEG JOINS BLACK CHURCH LEADERS: A group of South Bend ministers gathered Monday in the lobby of the County-City Building to pray for peace and more investment in minority areas of the city (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). Mayor Pete Buttigieg came down from his 14th floor office and sat in the audience, often closing his eyes as if in prayer, and returned upstairs about an hour later as the event was ending. Against the backdrop of a banner that read, “Love, Peace, Truth,” leaders of the city’s predominantly black churches took turns leading prayers at the podium. The event came two weeks after South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill fatally shot Eric J. Logan in a downtown parking lot. Logan, allegedly caught breaking into cars, had approached O’Neill with a knife when confronted, the officer has told investigators. O'Neill did not turn on his body camera. Speakers also mentioned the June 23 shooting at Kelly’s Pub that killed 27-year-old Brandon Williams of Niles and injured 10 others. “We’re all sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick,” event organizer Rev. Sylvester Williams Jr. told about 30 people in the audience. “Our city is nationally being viewed as a racist town. Our city is sick.”

FORMER SOUTH BEND OFFICIAL WANTS BUTTIGIEG TO RESIGN: Activists and former city officials in the city of South Bend have called on Mayor Pete Buttigieg to resign his position as Mayor, following outrage in response to the shooting of a black man by a white police officer (WIBC). "Pete is a fraud," former president of South Bend's Board of Public Safety Pat Cottrell told the Washington Free Beacon in an exclusive interview Monday. Cottrell claims Mayor Buttigieg has a poor record on racial issues and administrative control. "To start with trying to heal, the mayor just needs to resign," Mario Sims, a pastor and activist, said. Sims called Buttigieg "tone-deaf" on racial issues. "I understand political ambition, I understand that," Sims said. "But you're playing games with the lives of the people here, and innocent police officers." The Washington Examiner reported that Sims wants Mayor Buttigieg withdraw from politics entirely until he has spent "some time evaluating this."

BUTTIGIEG TO CAMPAIGN IN MICHIGAN: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will campaign in Michigan to raise funds before participating in the second Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 (South Bend Tribune). Buttigieg made one of few mentions of the Midwest during the first Democratic National Convention debate last week, but he has yet to visit Michigan during his campaign. A July 21 fundraiser in Saugatuck will be the first time he’s campaigned personally in the state. Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, a Traverse City native, appeared at a fundraiser in Ingham County earlier this summer. Buttigieg, 37, is scheduled to visit just over a week before the second DNC debate is held at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. He is among 20 Democrats who will qualify, sharing the stage during two nights on July 30 and 31.

BUTTIGIEG TO BE IN IOWA FOR THE 4TH: Mayor Pete Buttigieg will return to Iowa for a two day trip from Wednesday, July 3 through Thursday, July 4. The visit will include a town hall in Sioux City, the 4th of July parade in Storm Lake, and a BBQ in Carroll (Howey Politics Indiana). This is his fourth visit to the state since announcing his candidacy for president, and his sixth visit this year. Mayor Pete will be back in Iowa on July 14 for the Progress Iowa Corn Feed.

RECORD ADVERTISING COMING FOR SWING STATES: Advertising Analytics, a political ad-tracking firm, expects the total cost of TV and digital ads for the next election to hit over $6 billion — a 57 percent increase over the total in last year's hotly contested and expensive midterm elections, driven by a huge jump in digital video advertising (Politico). Over one-quarter of the $6 billion total, $1.6 billion, will be spent on digital video platforms, primarily Facebook and Google, while broadcast and cable TV stations will take in a whopping $4.4 billion — more than twice as much as Democrats and Republicans spent on TV in the last presidential elections.


TRUMP SIGNS WALORSKI IRS MODERNIZATION BILL: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded President Trump the signing of the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act into law. The legislation to overhaul the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) includes Walorski’s bill to modernize the IRS’s antiquated information technology (IT) systems and better serve taxpayers (Howey Politics Indiana). “This is great news for the American people: President Trump just signed the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act into law,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It overhauls the IRS so taxpayers always come first, and it includes my legislation to bring the IRS’s antiquated IT systems into the 21st century. These commonsense reforms will build on the tax cuts that have led to bigger paychecks, more opportunity, and a simpler tax code for hardworking Americans.”

WALORSKI MAKES USMCA PITCH WITH OP-ED: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski wrote this op-ed (Howey Politics Indiana): Second District Hoosiers are builders and growers. We make RVs, boats, trailers, engine parts, and cutting-edge medical devices. We grow corn and soybeans and raise hogs, ducks and dairy cows. Our manufacturers and farmers keep America on the move, put food on our tables and sell goods all over the world. Trade is vital to Indiana’s economy, especially when it comes to our two largest export markets, Canada and Mexico. That’s why Hoosiers need a strong, modern trade agreement with our North American trading partners. Last year, the United States, Mexico, and Canada came together to improve and update the North American Free Trade Agreement for the 21st century. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will drive job creation, increase exports, and keep America’s economic momentum going."

DEMS UPSET BY BORDER PATROL FACEBOOK POSTS: Congressional Democrats on Monday condemned postings made in a secret Facebook group for U.S. Border Patrol agents that targeted migrants and some prominent lawmakers with attacks that the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called “vulgar, disgusting and vile” (Washington Post). The posts sparked special outrage among a delegation of more than a dozen House members who had just started a tour of federal immigration facilities in Southwest Texas when ProPublica broke the story. Some of the Facebook posts discussed throwing burritos at the visiting lawmakers, while others joked in profane language about the deaths of migrants and included a vulgar illustration of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) being forced to engage in a sexual act by President Trump, according to images of the posts obtained by ProPublica.


GOVERNOR: JENNER TO BE SENIOR EDUCATION ADVISOR - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced Dr. Katie Jenner will serve as his senior education advisor as Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski departs to become the Director of Public Education and Chief Executive Officer of Muncie Community Schools (Howey Politics Indiana). Gov. Holcomb has also recommended State Board of Education Chief of Staff Brian Murphy as the executive director of the board to replace Dr. Kwiatkowski. The board will review the governor’s recommendation during its July 10 business meeting. “As a dedicated educator, Katie has an incredible passion for Hoosier students, teachers and families that will be instrumental in her statewide guidance as well as the remarkable breadth and depth her career in education has thus far covered,” Gov. Holcomb said. “While we will miss Lee Ann’s daily presence in the Governor’s office, I am pleased that she will continue her service to students and the state in her new role with Muncie schools, a perfect fit for both at exactly the right time.” Dr. Jenner started in K-12 public education in 2005 as a Career and Technical Education teacher in Kentucky. From 2009 to 2018, she worked for Madison Consolidated Schools in Indiana as an assistant principal and then assistant superintendent. Since then, she has served as Vice President of K-12 Initiatives and Statewide Partnerships for Ivy Tech Community College, leading statewide college strategies toward partnerships between K-12, Career Centers, and Ivy Tech. Dr. Jenner also serves on the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission.

GOVERNOR: IU GIVES HOLCOMB BICENTENNIAL MEDAL - Indiana University has launched a yearlong celebration of the IU Bicentennial. As part of the festivities, the university has awarded Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb with its inaugural Bicentennial Medal (Inside Indiana Business). IU President Michael McRobbie presented Holcomb with the medal. The metal honors IU's associates who have distinguished personal, professional, artistic and philanthropic accomplishments, or those who have served or supported the university with distinction. It also recognizes those who strive to be models for future students, faculty and alumni. "Governor Holcomb is a lifelong Hoosier who has dedicated his professional life to improving our state and the quality of life of our citizens, and who has been a strong advocate for IU's and Indiana's shared mission to marshal university education, scholarly activity and research innovation toward meeting the challenges facing our communities and our society. He has been a great partner and supporter of IU here in Indiana, nationally and around the world, and we are honored to be able to recognize his efforts and distinguished service to our state with IU's first Bicentennial Medal," McRobbie said in a news release.

STATEHOUSE: HILL WARNS OF CRAIGS LIST AUTO SALES - If you shop for cars online, you need to use caution when browsing on Craigslist (WRTV). The Indiana Attorney General’s office issued a warning Monday about car dealers posing as private sellers on Craigslist. Dealers are prohibited by Craigslist from advertising under “by owner,” and dealers who post misleading ads by posing as private sellers could be in violation of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, according to the Indiana Attorney General’s office. The warning comes after Call 6 Investigates exposed private Craigslist sellers often failed to disclose a car’s hidden problems to potential buyers, including open recalls, prior crashes, as well as branded titles such as “rebuilt” and “not actual mileage.”

DCS: STIGDON RESPONDS TO LAWSUIT - The Indiana Department of Child Services fired back Monday after nine foster children filed a class-action suit last week alleging agency conditions that violate their civil rights (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Two of the children are from Allen County, and several of the plaintiffs have been in 10 or more foster homes through the years. DCS Director Terry Stigdon spoke in a video posted online that is more than 7 minutes long. “It is easy to cherry-pick our most challenging cases to support a narrative suggesting this is every child's experience, when in reality the average number of homes a foster child lives in while in DCS care is two,” she said. “And we will continue to work toward permanency for every child.” Stigdon also said the timing of the filing is puzzling considering the significant strides the agency has made in the last year. “Put frankly, DCS is simply not the agency it used to be. And continuing to rely on an outdated inflammatory account is misleading and harmful to children and their families,” she said. The lawsuit alleges that Indiana's Department of Child Services is failing in its duty to protect the 22,000 children with open child welfare cases, including the 14,300 of these children who are in out-of-home care. “Indiana removes children from their homes and places them into foster care at a staggering rate -- more than double the national rate. While children are in DCS custody, Indiana fails to keep them safe, often placing them in inappropriate, unstable, or overly restrictive placements; fails to provide necessary support services and medical and mental health care; and fails to provide meaningful case management,” the court filing said.

EDUCATION: IU KICKS OFF BICENTENNIAL - Indiana University is kicking off its bicentennial celebrations Monday (Brosher, Indiana Public Media). The university doesn’t officially turn 200 until next year, but has celebrations planned throughout the 2020 fiscal year. "IU officially turns 200 on January 20, 2020," says Bicentennial Project manager Jeremy Hackerd. "That is the anniversary of when Governor Jonathan Jennings signed the bill that created the State Seminary of Indiana, which is the predecessor of Indiana University." Bicentennial banners are up at IU’s campuses across the state, and the university delivered special boxes to departments full of items to help start the celebrations.

AGRICULTURE: BROWN URGES DISASTER CERTIFICATION PROCESS - You can use many words to describe this growing season. Disaster may very well be one of them. Steve Brown, State Executive Director for Indiana’s Farm Service Agency, gave Hoosier Ag Today an update on their process for gathering info to ask USDA for a disaster designation (Hoosier Ag Today). “Right now, I have instructed our counties to hold county emergency board meetings just to see if we would have qualifying losses in each individual county. The way that works is the county has to have a 30 percent reduction loss on any one crop in that county or they have to have one individual unable to entertain commercial financing.” Having that disaster designation could help if any future legislation is created that could provide emergency loans to farmers. Brown says several Indiana counties have already met those requirements.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SOFTENS IN TALKS WITH XI - President Trump entered his meeting with President Xi Jinping over the weekend promising to take a tough approach on trade negotiations and pressure his Chinese counterpart into a sweeping deal (Washington Post). "But the meeting did not produce an agreement — and Trump's stance seemed to only soften as he announced he was relaxing limits on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and delaying new tariffs on Chinese goods in hopes of restarting trade talks with Beijing. 'We discussed a lot of things, and we're right back on track,' Trump said. 'We'll see what happens.' "Trump's meetings with Xi and other leaders at the Group of 20 economic summit suggest that despite his promise to use negotiating savvy and personal relationships to extract concessions from rivals or uncooperative allies, he often leaves one-on-one sessions with fellow world leaders without firm agreements in hand.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP MAY 'INTERCEDE' ON URBAN HOMELESS - President Trump said Monday that he wanted to address the crisis of people on the streets, telling Fox News in an interview that his administration “may intercede” to clean up cities such as Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles (Washington Post). The president made the remarks in an interview he taped in Japan with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, after Carlson asked him about cities in Japan, which Carlson said are clean and free from graffiti and “junkies.” American cities, by comparison, have a problem with “filth,” Carlson noted. “It’s a phenomena that started two years ago,” Trump said, drawing a connection between the beginning of this and the early days of his time in the White House. “It’s disgraceful.” The numbers of homeless people in the United States has stayed relatively level in the three years between 2016 and 2018, ticking up from 550,000 to 553,000 last year. But these numbers represent a significant drop over the past decade. An average of 630,000 people experienced homelessness per year between 2007 and 2012, according to federal data.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP LASHES OUT AT CUOMO - President Trump on Monday lashed out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), accusing him of using the state attorney general as a “bludgeoning tool” against him (The Hill). “It is very hard and expensive to live in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes. They sue on everything, always in search of a crime,” Trump tweeted.

WHITE HOUSE: IRAN SURPASSES TREATY THRESHOLD - Iran said Monday that it has exceeded a stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers because Europe has failed to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions, a move that could add to friction between Tehran and Washington (Washington Post). The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, confirmed that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium on Monday exceeded the 300-kilogram (660-pound) limit allowed under the deal, spokesman Fredrik Dahl said. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the move was “reversible” but warned that Iran can continue to reduce its commitment to the agreement if Europe does not take necessary action to uphold the other side of the deal, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - The president has nothing on his public schedule.


CITIES: MUNCIE SCHOOLS NAMES KWIATKOWSKI NEW SUPT - A veteran Hoosier educator who has been a top aide to the governor and to the superintendent of public instruction was named Monday night to be the new leader of Muncie Community Schools (Muncie Star Press). The school board hired Lee Ann Kwiatkowski — the executive director of the State Board of Education and senior education adviser to Gov. Eric Holcomb — as CEO and director of public education at MCS. The new job title, formerly called school superintendent, reflects anticipation that she will have a significant community presence. School board President Jim Williams earlier called Kwiatkowski "the transformational leader Muncie Community Schools needs and deserves."

CITIES: BLOOMINGTON ELECTION WILL BE SMALLER - With a smaller ballot than normal, Monroe County officials say they are preparing for a much cheaper municipal election in November (Eady, Indiana Public Media). Monroe County Elections Supervisor Karen Wheeler says the municipal ballot will have fewer candidates than previous years with only a select number of republicans and independents set to run. Incumbent City Clerk Nicole Bolden and Mayor John Hamilton are uncontested in their races. Wheeler says this small ballot makes the election easier to facilitate and cheaper. “It’ll make the price of the election go down because instead of having 21 polling sites, I will have nine polling sites,” she says.

CITIES: HAMMOND TO REOPEN STATE LINE STREETS - The city of Hammond plans to reopen a frequently traveled state line crossing it closed earlier this year, after a survey of residents indicated strong support for keeping the road open, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. announced Monday (NWI Times). Boy Scout Road, also known as 136th Street, has been closed just east of the Indiana-Illinois border since May 24. It will be completely reopened to traffic on Wednesday, according to the mayor’s office.

CITIES: GARY ADVISOR FACES SEC CHARGES -  A financial adviser assisting Gary in a controversial, multimillion-dollar bond issue allegedly failed to protect the interests of another client — the city of Harvey's library district — on a separate, $6 million bond issue, court records show (Cross, NWI Times). The Securities Exchange Commission charged the Mississippi-based municipal adviser Comer Capital Group, LLC, and Brandon Comer, of Gary, for leading astray their client, the Harvey Library District, in 2014, when pursuing bonds for building expansions.

COUNTIES: VIGO TO VOTE ON CASINO REFERENDUM - Vigo County voters will decide in November whether to allow a casino to open in Terre Haute (Hren, Indiana Public Media). Governor Eric Holcomb signed a landmark gaming bill this past legislative session that allows Indiana’s first new casinos in a decade. But voters in Vigo County have to approve a casino before it can open. Vigo County Chief Deputy Clerk Leanna Moore says the referendum will be on the ballot during this fall’s municipal election rather than during next year’s primary. “We’ve had so many jobs taken away, and it will be great to have something here locally again that will employ a lot of people and put money back in some folks pockets,” Moore says.