By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Indy Senators author crime package

With Indianapolis setting new homicide records annually in recent years, a group of Republican senators introduced an anti-crime package to be considered by the Indiana General Assembly in 2022. Senate Bill 6, authored by State Sen. R Michael Young, would reduce the number of violent offenders released on bail by requiring courts to review arrest warrants before release, holding open bail hearings and requiring the arrestee to pay the full minimum bail amount in cash. "We have seen far too many violent offenders released back in to our communities with little or no supervision, and it has resulted in the injury and death of numerous citizens and law enforcement officers," Young said. "By increasing oversight and transparency in how our bail system operates, I believe we can reduce the number of these acts of violence."

Senate Bill 7, authored by State Sen. Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), would establish a Marion County crime reduction board that would allow for interoperability between law enforcement agencies. Senate Bill 8, authored by State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), aims to regulate charitable bail organizations by requiring they register with the Department of Insurance. Senate Bill 9, authored by State Sen. Kyle Walker (R-Lawrence), would implement stricter standards for electronic monitoring by increasing oversight of those being monitored and increasing penalties for tampering with monitors. Senate Bill 10, authored by State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield), would establish a pilot program to distribute funds to high-crime areas to cover overtime and additional services for law enforcement officers. 

Mayor Joe Hogsett noted the City-County Council have dedicated $3.3 million in crime-reduction dollars from the American Rescue Plan. "We're going to be examining those proposals," Hogsett told WRTV. "I think they were offered yesterday in good faith. We will respond to them in good faith and hopefully, we'll be able to come together in ways to make our neighbors as safe as we can possibly make them."

2. Indiana ICUs full before 'viral blizzard'

CNHI's  Whitney Downard: As Indiana’s hospitals beg for assistance from the Indiana National Guard to address surging COVID-19 caseloads, the argument about whether employers, including hospitals, can mandate COVID-19 vaccines continues to develop in the Statehouse. “By Christmas Eve, if this trend continues, we will have more COVID-19 patients in ICU beds or in hospital beds in the state of Indiana than at any point in this pandemic,” said Dr. Gabriel Bosslet, a pulmonary and critical care doctor and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Scott Stienecker is an epidemiologist with the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. He told Indiana Public Media  that several hospital systems in northeast Indiana are at 115% capacity. "At this point, there is nobody to divert to, we are the institution of last resort," he said. "We’re far, far past being over full." This is being driven by the Delta variant; omicron hasn't shown up in Indiana yet. Dr. Michael Osterholm described omicron as igniting a "viral blizzard" across the U.S. in the coming weeks.

3. Military vax rate 97%

CNN: The U.S. military has vaccinated more than 97% for its active-duty force against Covid-19 as the Army, which had the latest vaccination deadline amongst the services, released its latest numbers.

4. Biden signs bill honoring Cpl. Sanchez

President Biden signed H.R. 5142, which will posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. military servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, including Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez of Logansport. “Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez and 12 of his brothers and sisters in arms paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor that Congress can bestow – and yet, even this great honor falls short of their exceedingly selfless sacrifice in service to our country," said U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski.

5. Carruthers passes on SD47 race

Floyd County Commissioner Shawn Carruthers won't challenge State Sens. Erin Houchin and Kevin Boehnlein in the new SD47. He told the News & Tribune, “As a practical matter, the new district is significantly different than when I announced my plans to run and to represent Clark and Floyd counties. While I am confident my conservative values align with the residents of Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties, I have not had an opportunity to establish a relationship with them to represent them.”

Have a great weekend, folks, and thanks for reading. It's The Atomic!