CIVIC HEALTH INDEX FOCUSES ON LOW VOTER REGISTRATION: The biennial Indiana Civic Health Index was unveiled Monday and it revealed Indiana ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in voter turnout (Howey Politics Indiana). "Indiana’s national rankings on voter registration and voting turnout, two major indicators of civic health, show there is significant room for improvement," the Indiana Bar Foundation said in a news release. "A trend of placing in the bottom 10 of all states on voting, and bottom third on voter registration, is persistent since 2010. Data from the 2018 midterm elections show that while there was improvement, the state remained low on these indicators." The report was delivered by former Chief Justice Randall Shepard, former congressman Lee Hamilton and former attorney general Greg Zoeller. “In a democracy, it is not enough just to let politicians set the rules of engagement," Hamilton said in a conference call. "As citizens, we need to know how to cultivate our own skills: to stay informed, volunteer, speak out, ask questions, make discriminating judgments about politicians and policies, and improve our neighborhoods and communities,” Hamilton said in the report." Voter participation rose 14% during the 2018 U.S. Senate race, but that moved the state from 47th in 2014 to 43rd. "In turning the process to parties and candidates, we’ve landed in the bottom 10," said Bill Moreau, who has launched The Indiana Citizen website. Hamilton said, “In a democracy, it is not enough just to let politicians set the rules of engagement. As citizens, we need to know how to cultivate our own skills: to stay informed, volunteer, speak out, ask questions, make discriminating judgments about politicians and policies, and improve our neighborhoods and communities.”

MAYOR MEER'S CASE SENT TO PORTER COUNTY: After the last two judges in La Porte County recused themselves from hearing the criminal case against Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer on Friday, the case has been moved to Porter County (Mayes, Michigan City News-Dispatch). And the mayor's attorney also filed a motion claiming the probable cause documents filed in the case do not warrant the mayor's arrest. Late Friday, three days after the mayor was unseated by voters in the municipal election, a joint order was issued by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos, and Superior Court 3 Judge Jeffrey Thorne declining appointment as judge. Court records show the judges ordered the clerk to select a special judge from a list of judicial officers from other counties. The case file has now been sent to Porter County Superior Court 6 Judge Jeffrey Thode in Portage for acceptance, according to court records. Even before Thode decides whether he will accept the case, defense attorney Scott King of Merrillville filed a Memorandum of Law in Opposition to State's Request for Probable Cause Determination. "It is a written argument to the court that the state's probable cause affidavit fails to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that my client committed a crime and therefore no warrant for arrest should issue," King said in an email Monday.

BUTTIGIEG RISES IN NH QUINNIPIAC POLL: With less than 100 days to go, former Vice President Joe Biden has an edge in New Hampshire's Democratic primary for president, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Biden receives support from 20 percent of New Hampshire likely Democratic primary voters, with Senator Elizabeth Warren getting 16 percent, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg getting 15 percent, and Sen. Bernie Sanders at 14 percent. Independent voters, known as "undeclared voters" in New Hampshire, who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary are divided in their top choice. Biden receives 16 percent support among these voters, while Sanders and Buttigieg get 14 percent each, and Warren and Gabbard receive 10 percent each. Among registered Democrats who are likely to vote in the primary, Biden has 25 percent, Warren has 24 percent, Buttigieg receives 16 percent, and Sanders gets 14 percent. "New Hampshire has mountains. Iowa has plains. They couldn't be more different except for the results of the last two Quinnipiac University polls, which both show 4 candidates in the top tier. Although Biden has a slight lead in the Granite State, it's far from rock solid, and both states are clearly still up for grabs," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

REPUBLICANS TO DEFEND TRUMP'S 'STATE OF MIND': Confronted with a mountain of damaging facts heading into tomorrow's opening of the public phase of impeachment, House Republicans plan to argue that "the President's state of mind" was exculpatory, according to a strategy memo obtained by Axios. "To appropriately understand the events in question — and most importantly, assess the President's state of mind during his interaction with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky — context is necessary," says the 18-page staff memo, circulated to committee members last night. "The evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense," the memo concludes. By focusing their defense on intangibles like impeachability and President Trump's mindset, House Republicans don't depend on undercutting a narrative that has been bolstered by witness after witness. Republican senators, who would vote on whether to remove President Trump if the House impeached him, are also thinking this way. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) told the WashPost 10 days ago: "To me, it all turns on intent, motive. ... Did the president have a culpable state of mind?" Look for Democrats to begin using the phrase "cheating our democracy."

HALEY URGES BIDEN PROBE: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said President Trump was not engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine but warned it is better for American authorities to investigate American citizens overseas than officials from other nations (Fox News). Referring to allegations Trump asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his adult son Hunter, Haley told "Hannity" on Monday it is not good practice to ask other governments to take on such probes. "I, in practice, don't think it's good for us to ever ask foreign governments to investigate Americans, but I think it goes to the fact that Americans should be investigating Americans," she said. "And, Americans should be asking the questions of Joe Biden and asking the questions of his son, and finding out exactly what was going on with that situation and get down to the bottom of it."

TRUMP DELAYS EU AUTO TARIFFS: U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week he is delaying a decision on whether to slap tariffs on cars and auto parts imported from the European Union, likely for another six months, EU officials said (Reuters). “We have a solid indication from the administration that there will not be tariffs on us this week,” one EU official said on Monday. The Trump administration has a Thursday deadline to decide whether to impose threatened “Section 232” national security tariffs of as much as 25% on imported vehicles and parts under a Cold War-era trade law.

IU FOOTBALL CRACKS TOP 25 FOR FIRST TIME IN QUARTER CENTURY: Coach Tom Allen walked into Indiana’s team meeting Monday and congratulated his players for ending one streak. He quickly urged them to start a new one (AP). One day after No. 24 Indiana cracked the Top 25 for the first time in more than a quarter-century, the Hoosiers spent some time talking about what needs to be done so they can stick around a while. “This is something we live for,” senior receiver Donovan Hale said. “This is why we came to Indiana, to try to change the program. We’ve got players that are super hungry and want to create change.” Clearly, the Hoosiers (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) have gone a long way toward doing that with this season’s resume. They’ve won seven games for the first time since 2007. They’ve won four straight conference games for the first time since 1993. They won at Nebraska for the first time since 1958. And now they’ve shed the dubious distinction of going the longest time between rankings among Power Five conference schools.

QUESTIONS MOUNT FOR COLTS, VINATIERI: Adam Vinatieri has been automatic for most of the previous 23 seasons. But this season hasn't been typical. While the NFL's career scoring leader and oldest active player has missed five field goals, his highest single-season total since 2012, the more alarming statistic is Vinatieri going 14 of 20 on extra points. The six misses are double his previous single-season career high while the 70% conversion rate for this season and 25% conversion rate over the past three games are the lowest among the league's 32 teams (AP). So now, the Colts are dealing with a new round of questions about their kicker. “We have been committed to him,” Reich said after Sunday's 16-12 loss to Miami. “But like everybody, I'd say this generally speaking about our roster, we're going to always evaluate, everybody gets measured and everyone is held accountable. From top to bottom, that's always the case, so nothing meant to be read into that, that's just the reality of this business.” Reich went on to say he's not discussed Vinatieri's status with general manager Chris Ballard. That shouldn't be a surprise considering Reich has continually stated his confidence in Vinatieri never has waned.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Nikki Haley appears to be making an overt play for the 2020 ticket. She can do one thing that Vice President Mike Pence cannot, which is to bring in the female vote. If President Trump believes his evangelical base is solid, Pence could be vulnerable. This is why Karen Pence is now a campaign trail volunteer. - Brian A. Howey


BUTTIGIEG GIVES VETERANS DAY SPEECH: Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered a address to voters and veterans in Rochester, N.H., after unveiling his plan to serve veterans and military communities and provide them with the support they have earned (Howey Politics Indiana). "Earlier this year, in my other capacity, my capacity as mayor, I found myself on a stage at a high school in South Bend — John Adams High School — where we held an event for all of the young people about to graduate who had made that solemn decision to serve," Buttigieg said. "Some were enlisting directly, some were preparing to go into the academies or take up ROTC, some were getting ready to sign up for the Guard. All of them were joining an unbroken line of patriots whose service and sacrifice is what we honor and recognize today. They were old enough to commit to enlist or pursue a commission, but to me they looked like kids. And there’s a voice in my back of my head that whole time I was watching them, saying, “Do not let them down. Do not let anybody play games with the lives of these young people.”

BUTTIGIEG VOWS TO NAME TOP FEMALE MILITARY ADS: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says if elected he’d like to name a woman to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs for the first time as 2020 hopefuls take aim at President Donald Trump’s record on stemming military suicide and helping female vets (AP). On Veterans Day, several candidates rolled out proposals to meet the needs of America’s 20 million former service members. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, said female veterans and service members have been neglected, including on concerns about sexual harassment and women’s health. Women are the military’s fastest-growing subgroup. “I think leadership plays a huge role so absolutely I’d seek to name a woman to lead VA,” Buttigieg, a former Navy intelligence officer, said in an interview with The Associated Press. His comments went a step beyond his 21-page wide-ranging plan released on Monday. “The president has let veterans down,” Buttigieg said.

KLOBUCHAR BRISTLES AT BUTTIGIEG'S RISE: The 2020 Democratic presidential primary drew a record six female candidates to the field. But with just less than three months until voting starts, only one has risen to the top tier. Is it sexism or just politics? That's the debate that erupted Monday as one of those candidates, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, publicly complained about gender bias in the race, saying voters and the media were giving rival Pete Buttigieg, a small-town mayor, more support and attention because he's a man (AP). A woman with a similar resume, Klobuchar argued, wouldn't be taken seriously enough to make the debate stage. The comment seemed to touch a nerve in an election where gender politics is never far from the surface. Many in the party believe Hillary Clinton was a victim of sexism and voters who hold women to a different standard when she lost to Donald Trump in 2016. They're still hungry to elect the first female president and vigilantly working to combat signs of bias. Still, Klobuchar's comment was striking as it seemed aimed at a candidate also attempting to make history, by becoming the first openly gay president. The three-term senator from Minnesota said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that she believes Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is qualified but that she's the better candidate. "I'm the one from the Midwest that has actually won in a statewide race over and over again," Klobuchar, 59, said, adding that she can bring in voters like those in Kentucky and Virginia who supported Democrats in last week's election. "Those are the kind of voters I have won. And that's not true of Mayor Pete. That's just a fact."

PATRICK EYES ENTRY INTO RACE: Former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has told Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democratic officials that he is considering making a last-minute entry into the 2020 presidential race, according to three Democrats familiar with the conversations, the latest evidence of how unsettled the party's primary is less than three months before the Iowa caucuses (New York Times). Mr. Patrick, a respected two-term governor and one of the highest-profile black leaders in the party, has told some of the Democratic officials that he doesn't think any of the candidates have established political momentum and that he thinks there is an opening for somebody who can unite both liberal and moderate voters, according to Democrats who have spoken to him.

HALEY THREADS THE NEEDLE: Nikki Haley knows how to thread the needle. And she understands a thing or two about selling books (Kurtz, Fox News). The former U.N. ambassador, who obviously wants a political future, is depicting herself as a Trump loyalist—with a few exceptions. Haley knows that if she distances herself too much from the president, she’s toast with today’s Republican Party. At the same time, she wants to maintain her viability with those who have grown skeptical of the president. In granting exclusives to the Washington Post and CBS “Sunday Morning,” she put out the clickiest of the clickbait: how in her view John Kelly and Rex Tillerson tried to recruit her into a cabal to undermine Trump. Yes, it’s palace intrigue, but it’s pretty intriguing. In “With All Due Respect,” Haley writes: “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing,” Haley wrote of the views the two men held. What’s more, she writes, Tillerson said people would die unless Trump was reined in.


101 HOUSE REPUBLICANS RETIRE OR DEFEATED DURING TRUMP ERA: When President Trump took office in January 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House (Axios). Since then, 101 have either been defeated/retired/otherwise left office or are retiring in 2020.


STATEHOUSE: HILL WINS JUDGMENT AGAINST CARMEL COMPANY - The Indiana Attorney General’s office has won a lawsuit against a Carmel home-improvement company first exposed by Call 6 Investigates in 2015 (WRTV). Green Frog Restoration took $389,187.82 in payments from Hoosiers over ten months, but never finished the work or provided a refund, according to the state. Last week, a Hamilton County court awarded a judgment against James Twaddle, who operated the business from May 2014 to March 2015. The Indiana Attorney General’s office filed the lawsuit in 2015 against Green Frog Restoration, Twaddle, and Wanda VanWinkle after Call 6 Investigates questioned whether the contractor took customers’ money and failed to do the work promised.

INDOT: $140M INVESTED ON INTERSTATES - Since last winter, the Indiana Department of Transportation has invested nearly $140 million statewide to address roadway damage from previous winters (WRTV). “We’ve spent $90 million dollars in Marion County just this summer, and it’s the most construction we’ve ever done in Marion County,” Mallory Duncan, communications director for the INDOT East Central District, said. “Every major interstate has been touched in some way this summer.” The improvements included asphalt resurfacing projects, concrete pavement restoration, and bridge joint replacements. INDOT has also completed maintenance on 23 bridges that will provide a smoother driving surface for motorists. “It will help so you won’t see as many potholes this winter,” Duncan said. “All of the pain we’ve felt all summer long will really be worth it this winter when you have a smoother commute.” Construction began in April and will continue through the end of November.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TO ADDRESS NY ECONOMIC CLUB - President Trump is giving a speech at the Economic Club of New York today, and here's what to expect, from Morning Money's Ben White: "The most interesting section will be on China. Investors around the world will be looking for signals about whether a 'Phase One' deal where tariffs on both sides are reduced and the further levies on consumer goods imported from China expected to go into effect in December disappear, at least for now. MM is told by a source familiar with Trump's remarks that there will [be] a "constructive statement on China."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will leave Trump Tower at 11:40 a.m. for the New York Hilton Midtown. At noon, the president will speak at the Economic Club of New York. At 1:15 p.m., he'll leave for the InterContinental New York Barclay for a roundtable and fundraiser. At 3:20 P.M., he'll leave for Washington. He'll land at the White House at 5:25 p.m.

WHITE HOUSE: CARTER HOSPITALIZED - Former President Jimmy Carter was admitted to a hospital this evening for a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain, caused by bleeding due to his recent falls, his spokeswoman said (Chicago Tribune).

SCOTUS: DACA BEFORE THE COURT TODAY - The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a group of cases this morning that could decide the fate of the Obama-era program, which was put in place in 2012 over the objection of Republicans, who have called it an illegal use of executive power (Politico Playbook). Supporters of the policy -- formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- say it merely codified the president's existing power to set enforcement priorities. Either way, the fate of some 700,000 young people hangs in the balance, depending on how the court rules. We'll get some clues today.


KOKOMO: MOORE NAMES TRANSITION TEAM - Kokomo Mayor-elect Tyler Moore on Monday named the four members of his transition team, less than a week after he won the race to become mayor and under two months before he takes control of City Hall (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). Moore’s transition team will consist of a group of prominent local Republicans: Howard County Republican Party Chairwoman Jamie Bolser; Indiana Rep. Mike Karickhoff; former Howard County attorney Larry Murrell; and Ron Metz, a managing partner of Bucheri McCarty & Metz LLP, who also served as the Moore campaign’s treasurer. Moore said in a media release that the transition team “began work” on Friday. “They will assist me with forming our new administration and making a smooth transition into the new year,” remarked Moore.

BLOOMINGTON: 5 ARRESTED AT FARMERS MARKET - Five members of a group known as the “Purple Shirt Brigade” were arrested and cited for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct Saturday at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market (Indiana Public Media). The group was formed to protest the presence of vendor Sarah Dye, co-owner of Schooner Creek Farm.  Dye’s name has allegedly been linked to Nolan Brewer, who plead guilty to vandalizing a synagogue in Carmel last year. Dye told an alt-right website that she’s an “Identitarian,” which experts say is a movement that says “change of a country through diversity is bad.” The City of Bloomington issued a statement earlier this year saying it would not remove Dye from the market because it would be a violation of her constitutional rights.

INDIANAPOLIS: 2 MORE DISTICTS CLOSE FOR TEACHER PROTESTS - More Indiana school districts are closing schools so teachers can attend a rally at the Indiana Statehouse (WTHR-TV). Schools in Washington Township and Lawrence Township will be closed November 19 for the "Red for Ed Action Day." The districts join Indianapolis Public Schools and several others in canceling classes for the rally. "We are a school district that values people above all else. We support the collective voice of our teachers," said MSD of Lawrence Township Superintendent Dr. Shawn A. Smith. "Having flexibility in our calendar will allow the district to make up this day." Lawrence Township students will now have an eLearning Day on February 14, 2020 and the staff will report to work. Washington Township students will have a make-up day on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.