U.S. DRONE STRIKE KILLS ZAWAHIRI IN KABUL: The White House said Monday that a U.S. missile launched from a drone in Afghanistan killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, a founding member of the jihadist movement and one of the key strategists behind an international campaign of terror that culminated in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. (Wall Street Journal). The U.S. strike targeted a safe house in a residential area in central Kabul on Sunday morning, in what was the first known counterterrorism operation in the country since U.S. forces withdrew last year. The Biden administration said the Taliban was aware that al Zawahiri was hiding in Kabul, the clearest display of the continuing alliance between al Qaeda and the group now ruling Afghanistan. Speaking from the White House balcony on Monday, President Biden announced the strike, describing al Zawahiri as a terror leader who for decades “was the mastermind behind the attacks against Americans.” Those attacks included the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors and wounded dozens of others and 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and injured more than 4,500. Al Zawahiri, 71, was an Egyptian national and longtime deputy of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. In the lead up to 9/11, Zawahiri was the most important of bin Laden’s advisers as they oversaw the operation in which hijackers crashed airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.


MAJOR EMPLOYERS SITTING OUT ABORTION DEBATE: The furor that enveloped Indiana in 2015 after passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was swift and effective. And that’s because the state’s major employers stepped in to demand action. Their silence during the ongoing abortion debate is deafening (Kelly, Capital Chronicle). While hundreds of smaller businesses have signed onto letters, attended press conferences and testified in the Senate — Indiana’s largest employers are taking a hands-off approach. Eli Lilly and Company declined comment for this column. As did the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Anthem, Cummins and Salesforce didn’t return calls or emails. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have a position on abortion. Only Zimmer Biomet in Warsaw had something to say, though in a letter sent to employees after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. President, CEO and Chairman Bryan Hanson said “Zimmer Biomet, as a company, will not advocate for or against abortion. I don’t believe this is a place or time for individuals in leadership, or leadership teams, to allow their personal beliefs to be imposed on others. This is clearly an extremely personal decision, and should remain that way.”


FDA ILL-PREPARED TO REIN IN ABORTION PILL BAZAAR: Enter “buy cytotec online cheap” into Google’s search engine and the first four results are sites that illegally offer to ship the abortion pills without a prescription (Politico). Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that gave states the right to ban the procedure, it’s still possible to get abortion medication, even in states where it’s restricted, through telemedicine or by traveling across state lines. But the patchwork of state rules is nonetheless fertile ground for scammers looking to make money off desperate abortion patients who don’t know how to navigate them. The bad actors pose a public health threat that’s likely to grow now that eight states have banned abortion and another four have restricted it to the first six weeks of pregnancy, public health experts told POLITICO. While patients might get real pills, rogue online pharmacies sometimes sell counterfeit or expired drugs, don’t fill orders, or steal credit card numbers. And the government is ill-positioned to stop them. The FDA, which regulates pharmacies, lacks the subpoena powers that would help reveal who’s behind websites so they can be taken offline. “Counterfeit criminals go to where there’s demand — and there’s demand and there’s access challenges,” said Libby Baney, a senior adviser to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, an advocacy group, of the market for abortion pills. “That creates criminal opportunity and a major patient safety risk.”


KANSAS REFERENDUM TO TEST ABORTION ISSUE: Out of all of Tuesday’s contests we’ll be covering, the biggest might very well be the statewide constitutional amendment on abortion in Kansas (Meet The Press Daily). It’s the first election on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. And NBC’s Dasha Burns and Abigail Brooks have fresh reporting on the contest, where Kansans will vote either: YES to change the state’s constitution to spell out that a right to an abortion isn’t guaranteed (after the state’s Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that it did); or NO to keep the state’s constitution as is. On what happens if YES wins on Tuesday? “I think we're going to see [abortion] restrictions very soon. Kansas has long had abortion at the center of its politics,” Emily Wales, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told Burns. “It paves the way for future conversations [on abortion bans/restrictions] to be able to happen,” said Danielle Underwood, spokesperson for the Value Them Both Coalition, which is leading the YES campaign. “I want to see a future where Kansans are involved in the discussion. Their unelected judges don't decide for the rest of us the right kinds of limits on abortion in our state… And the passing the amendment is the only way for once for us to once again to be involved in this discussion.”


INDIANA TO RECEIVE $177M IN CLIMATE FUNDS FOR ROADS: The federal government plans to give Indiana up to $177 million over the next five years to make its transportation infrastructure resilient to things like flooding and extreme heat (Thiele, Indiana Public Media). It’s part of a more than $7 billion effort nationwide to improve roads, bridges, ports, routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, and other transit. More than 5,000 miles of highway and more than 1,000 bridges in Indiana are in “poor” condition according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The agency said the funding from the federal infrastructure law can be used to either adapt existing or build new transportation infrastructure — including building out networks in underserved and underrepresented communities. It can also be used for green infrastructure — like rain gardens — to reduce flooding and protect aquatic life in waterways nearby.


DAUGHTERS OF CONVICTED INSURRECTIONIST CALLS FOR TRUMP JAILING: One of the daughters of a Capitol Hill rioter sentenced to more than seven years by a federal judge on Monday has said the sentencing was “unfair” and that it is Donald Trump who “deserves life in prison” (Yahoo News). Guy Reffitt, who brought a gun to the Capitol riot on 6 January last year and threatened Nancy Pelosi, was handed one of the longest sentences that any of the insurrectionists have received so far. “Trump deserves life in prison if my father is in prison for this long,” one of Mr Reffitt’s daughters, Peyton Reffitt, was quoted as saying outside the courthouse by CBS News. She reportedly also gave a statement inside the courtroom telling the court that her father wasn’t a “leader” during the Jan 6 riot as prosecutors have charged.

HOOSIER HOTELS BOUNCING BACK: A new study from the American Hotel & Lodging Association says hotel room revenue and state and local tax revenues are projected to exceed 2019 levels by the end of the year (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). For the first half of the year, Indiana had already returned to pre-pandemic levels, with tax revenue growing by nearly 12% and hotel room revenue increasing by 15%, the study says. Patrick Tamm, CEO of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, said the numbers are ahead of schedule, as many forecasts called for revenues to not return to normal until 2024. Tamm said there are always “haves and have nots” in the hospitality industry.


ARRESTED EVANSVILLE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER RELEASES STATEMENT: Evansville School Board member Amy Word, who owns Lamasco Bar and Grill, issued a press release following her arrest (WFIE-TV). According to a police press release, Zachary Clark was pulled over around 4:30 a.m. Officials say the vehicle belonged to Amy Word, who was in the passenger seat. Detectives say during the stop they noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Clark was in possession of marijuana and cocaine for which he was arrested. Word was arrested and charged with maintaining a common nuisance. In her statement posted on Facebook, Word said, "This is the only statement we will make at this time, as my attorney intends to have this matter heard in a court of law and not the media or public opinion. In an effort to provide clarity to the situation, we have outlined the following key facts about the events: The search of Lamasco Bar and Grill did NOT yield drugs, money or firearms; None of the drugs, money, or firearms reportedly recovered in the investigation were found in Lamasco Bar; Other than ONE Lamasco employee, who was arrested for possession, NONE of the 22 people involved with the broader investigation were or ever have been employees of Lamasco Bar and Grill; Aside from me and the driver of my vehicle, none of the other 20 arrests by the JTF over the weekend involved Lamasco employees. According to the officer that pulled me over, he noticed that the plate on my jeep was expired. To reiterate, after several hours of an exhaustive search of the vehicle, no evidence of illegal drugs were found, except for those found on Mr. Clark’s person.  Contrary to police reports, I never stated that drugs existed in a Lamasco safe, nor anywhere else at Lamasco"


INDIANA WILDFIRE THREAT LOWER THAN WEST: Wildfire out west has become an annual disaster, destroying forests and homes. More than a million and a half acres have burned this year across 13 western states, the highest year-to-date on record (Sandweiss, Indiana Public Media). How likely is it Indiana could soon face similar risk? Darren Bridges, state fire coordinator at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said chances of a major fire remain low.   “As far as are (wildfires) more aggressive or bigger, no, I don’t really think so. We’re seeing pretty much numbers that we’ve seen for years,” Bridges said. For one thing, Indiana forests are considerably different from western woodlands such as Yosemite National Park. High-altitude western forests are historically less prone to fire but burn more fiercely. In contrast, eastern forests have adapted to regular low-intensity wildfires. Aside from the condition of forests, Bridges said natural fire starts are far more common out west. “Out west they have a lot of lightning strikes and natural fire starts, where in Indiana we have a handful of lightning starts. Most of ours are definitely human-caused,” Bridges said.


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In a world burning up with war and climate changes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan seems reckless. - Brian A. Howey




TRUMP ENDORSES 'ERIC' IN MISSOURI: From Donald Trump (Howey Politics Indiana): Missouri Senate Endorsement "There is a BIG Election in the Great State of Missouri, and we must send a MAGA Champion and True Warrior to the U.S. Senate, someone who will fight for Border Security, Election Integrity, our Military and Great Veterans, together with having a powerful toughness on Crime and the Border. We need a person who will not back down to the Radical Left Lunatics who are destroying our Country. I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 Elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Eric Greitens is running against Eric Schmitt. Former President Donald Trump called Republican Senate candidate Eric Schmitt Monday evening, after posting on social media that he would soon endorse in Missouri’s GOP primary, and told him to look out for an announcement. “You’ll be happy,” Trump told Schmitt (Politico).


GOTSCH CERTIFIED FOR 3RD CD BALLOT: Independent Congressional Candidate Nathan Gotsch announced today that the Indiana Secretary of State’s office has officially certified that he will be appearing on the general election ballot for the state’s 3rd Congressional District this fall (Howey Politics Indiana). He also announced his plans to hold public campaign events in all 13 counties that make up Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District during the month of August. “The best part of campaigning is getting the chance to talk with voters,” said Gotsch, “and I’m excited to travel to every corner of the District in the next few weeks, telling them about who I am and why I’m running, and learning more about the issues most important and relevant to them.”


INDEMS LAUD ARP FUNDS FOR HAMILTON COUNTY:  The Indiana Democratic Party celebrated the brighter future the American Rescue Plan is STILL creating for Indiana’s economy. This time, the Rescue Plan is creating new water and sewer lines in northern Hamilton County (Howey Politics Indiana). The investment will create economic opportunity in the Bakers Corner community, and as Republican County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt even said, this “great opportunity” will help the environment and set the area up for other essential utility services - like broadband. Simply put: Indiana Democrats like André Carson and Frank Mrvan delivered these investments to Hoosiers when it mattered most.


HOOSIER WOMEN FORWARD ANNOUNCE 5TH CLASS: Hoosier Women Forward is proud to announce its fifth class of outstanding Democratic women for its leadership training program that’s aimed at elevating and empowering women in public, private, and community service roles across the state (Howey Politics Indiana). Eighty-nine alumnae have completed the Hoosier Women Forward program since its 2018 launch. Eighteen alumnae have run for office and 11 have won a general election or contested primary. In the 2022 Indiana primary elections, 9 HWF alumnae secured Democratic nominations for public office at varying levels of government, including township boards, county councils, the state legislature, and more. “HWF is proud to select this class of outstanding women leaders with personal and professional backgrounds that reflect the economic, geographical, ethnic, and cultural diversity of our state,” said HWF Executive Director Amy Levander. “Our state’s leadership needs to reflect the citizens its serves. Class 5 joins a powerful network of alumnae stepping up to lead Indiana towards a brighter future.”


HWF's CLASS OF '22: Following are the 22 women who will be participating in the HWF leadership program: Gisele Agnelli, Indianapolis; Kacey Blundell, Terre Haute; Rochelle Brown, South Bend; Michelle Carr, Columbus; Samantha Douglas, Indianapolis; Lauren Hall Riggins, Indianapolis; Karla Lopez-Owens, Indianapolis; Donielle Martin, Indianapolis; Emily Masengale, Indianapolis; Katie McHugh, Indianapolis; Morgan Mickelson, Indianapolis; Monisha Mitchell, Zionsville; Crystal Neumann, Fishers; Kymberli Roberts, Hammond; Gina Robinson Ungar, Evansville; Alexandra Rollo, Indianapolis; Maggie Stevens, Indianapolis; Rachel Tomas Morgan, South Bend; Charmaine Samaraweera Torma, South Bend; Sara Trovinger, Fort Wayne; Teryna L. Van Cleave, Indianapolis; and Jo Yocum, Indianapolis. On September 28, HWF will honor its fifth class with a fundraising luncheon at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.


GOP ON TRACK TO WIN 230 HOUSE SEATS: Republicans are on track to win a clear majority of 230 seats in the House of Representatives this November, according to the CBS News Battleground Tracker model released Sunday. The Battleground Tracker takes "a district-by-district approach to analyzing races and measuring public opinion, since control of Congress is won across hundreds of individual elections, not by national popular vote," CBS explains. Some Democrats have expressed hope that the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade (1973) and ending the constitutional right to an abortion could steal some of the GOP's momentum, but it seems as though high inflation and the normal rhythm of election cycles are handicaps too large for Democrats to overcome. The predicted net gain of 19 seats for Republicans is far higher than the 7 additional seats the GOP needs to secure a majority. Democrats — who currently hold 220 seats — can only afford a net loss of two.


CARRASCO FOCUSED ON SAFETY: This past weekend, the contrast between incumbent ideology-driven Prosecutor Ryan Mears, and challenger Cyndi Carrasco could not be more clear (Howey Politics Indiana). Marion County is facing a public safety crisis. For the third consecutive year, Indianapolis surpassed 100-homicides in the first six months of the year, and is on track to exceed last year’s overall record. Violent crime and non-fatal shootings and stabbings are also reaching record levels, and repeat offenders are continuing to get sweetheart plea deals and weak sentences instead of being held accountable. Despite his talk about focusing resources on fighting crime, however, Mears spent his weekend with activists and protestors at a political rally in the Statehouse, for an issue that is completely outside the scope of the prosecutor’s office. Talk is cheap, and this was nothing more than a cheap political stunt to score votes. Meanwhile, Cyndi Carrasco is laser focused on fighting crime and improving safety, and she means what she says. This weekend, she joined law enforcement officers, local elected officials and community leaders for a peace walk in Beech Grove, just two weeks after a mass shooting in the park, advocating for an end to the violence plaguing our communities. While Carrasco seeks partnerships and safety, Mears seeks to play politics. His failed leadership is directly contributing to the skyrocketing crime our county is facing, and we deserve better.




GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB PRAISES GROWING AG SCIENCE SECTOR - Intelinair, Corteva and Elanco are just three of the many ag tech and bioscience companies based in Indiana that Governor Eric Holcomb points to as leaders in scientific development and innovation for the agriculture industry (Miller, Hoosier Ag Today). “This foundational sector to our economy is growing,” said Gov. Holcomb on Friday following the annual Ham Breakfast, sponsored by the Indiana Pork Producers Association, to kick off the opening day of the 165th Indiana State Fair. Last April, Gov. Holcomb took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for Elanco at the site of its new headquarters a few blocks west of Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Elanco plans to open a $100 million facility in 2023 at the site of the former General Motors facility. “Elanco [is] the [number] two animal health company in the world, and to have that located here in this region [is exciting],” said Gov. Holcomb. “To think about the brain power at Elanco and Corteva, and you just go down the whole line of research and development that is occurring, this is, again, exciting stuff.”


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB LAUNCHES SCHOOL BUS SAFETY PROGRAM - As students head back to the classroom, state and local law enforcement agencies are reminding motorists to stop for school buses or face the consequences. Over the next couple of months, officers will be increasing patrols to prevent stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving around school buses and in school zones (Howey Politics Indiana). More than 200 agencies plan to participate in the back-to-school Stop Arm Violation Enforcement campaign – better known as SAVE. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). “Drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus or speed in a school zone need to be held accountable,” said Gov. Eric J. Holcomb. “We owe it to our kids to make sure they get home safely. Every driver needs to do their part by paying attention, slowing down and protecting school children and buses.”


INDOT: STATE TO DETAIL ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING NETWORK - The Indiana Department of Transportation is collecting comments on a plan to install electric vehicle charging stations as part of a federally funded program to create a network of half a million charging stations nationwide (Steele, NWI Times). Intended to reduce the “range anxiety” that can keep people from buying electric cars and trucks, the plan details the state’s proposal for using nearly $100 million in National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure money to create Indiana’s share of a nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. The federal funding, part of last year's infrastructure bill, will be distributed over five years for the construction and operation of Direct-Current Fast Charging Stations along federally designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, which in Indiana include all interstate highways plus U.S. 31. INDOT also hopes to have U.S. 30 designated an AFC.


INDOT: CLEAR PATH CLOSING MORE 465 RAMPS -  A project by the Indiana Department of Transportation to improve I-465 on the city’s northeast side will start this weekend. Clear Path 465 will rebuild and add lanes to I-465 between I-69/Binford Boulevard and the White River (WISH-TV). The work will be completed in phases and require several traffic shifts, closures, and changes to ramp access on I-465 beginning Friday, INDOT said Monday. The entire Clear Path project is expected to be complete in 2025. On Friday evening, workers will restrict I-465 eastbound to one lane to restripe the pavement and shift traffic to the outside shoulder. Work will be complete by Monday morning. The Keystone Avenue on-ramp to I-465 eastbound will close during the weekend for restriping work. It will reopen before the Monday morning commute, INDOT says. The long-term closure of the Allisonville Road on-ramp to I-465 eastbound will also begin over the weekend. The ramp will remain closed through 2024. The closure is needed to make room for construction, give crews space to work, and help keep traffic flowing during the project.


SOUTH SHORE: NEW ROUTE TO SB AIRPORT TO BE STUDIED - The South Shore Line continues pushing for a more direct route to South Bend Airport but isn't ruling out a future extension to the city's downtown (WVPE). Mike Noland, the president of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), says the current route to the east side of the airport was only meant to be temporary but has now been in place for about 30 years. "We go past the airport, farther than we need to go, and we come around the back side, which is 20 grade crossings. And it takes us 12 to 15 minutes extra to travel that, to come in the back side of the airport," Noland told the NICTD board Monday. Noland said a 2017 plan to route trains directly to the west side of the airport drew opposition, due to the number of properties that would have to be taken. But he believes it would cost a lot less than routing trains to downtown South Bend — and it would meet the railroad's goal of cutting the trip to Chicago down to 90 minutes.


DNR: RECEIVES 2 COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS - The Indiana DNR received two national communications awards for work done in 2021 during the Association for Conservation Information (ACI) awards program last week in Nashville, Tennessee. Outdoor Indiana magazine’s 2022 calendar, which was included in the DNR magazine’s November/December 2021 issue, received first place in the calendar category (Howey Politics Indiana). Former DNR videographer Brent Drinkut, now DNR and Outdoor Indiana photo editor, won second place in the Video Feature/Outdoor Recreation category for a work called “Habitat and Birdwatching at Goose Pond FWA”, which documents the features of the Fish & Wildlife area near Linton in Greene County.


ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA'S ARRAY OF CONTINGENCY CONTRACT FEES - When Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office jumped onto a multi-state, bipartisan investigation of social media giant TikTok, it wasn’t initially clear his office would outsource the work to a Washington, D.C.-based boutique legal firm for free — almost (Muniz, Capital Chronicle). “We’re going to find out whether or not the Chinese, and by definition, if you’re a Chinese company, then the [Chinese Communist Party] is a part of it, is intentionally grooming our children,” Rokita said in a March Fox Business appearance. “… If they’re grooming our kids to get hooked on porn, drugs, alcohol — because the burner phones that we set up certainly indicate that they’re trying to do that.” But on May 19, Rokita’s office finalized an agreement with Cooper & Kirk to evaluate and pursue a potential cause of action. Under that contingency fee contract, the law firm won’t get paid a cent unless it secures a recovery, and even then it’ll get only a certain percentage of the funds won. Rokita’s office has five more of the contingency fee contracts in effect now, according to the website, four of which precede his time in office. Among them are cases against opioid manufacturers and marketers, pharmacy benefit managers, and antitrust cases against Google and the Michigan-based automobile parts industry. The Indiana Department of Revenue also has one.


IURC: DUKE SEEKS RATE 7.2% RATE HIKE - Duke Energy, which already won approval for a rate hike effect that went into effect in July, is asking for another one (CBS4). According to a filing last week with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Duke is requesting a 7.2% increase beginning in October. AES Indiana customers could see nearly 19% rate increase this fall. Duke filed the request as part of its quarterly Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC) tracker, which allows utility companies to request rate adjustments based on fluctuations in fuel costs.


ISU: TRUSTEES TO SEEK $66M FOR TECH BLDG - Indiana State University’s board of trustees on Friday approved a plan to request $66 million from the state for renovation and expansion of the Technology Annex Building, which was constructed in 1980. Funding for the College of Technology capital project would be considered as part of the 2023-25 biennial budget by the Indiana General Assembly during its 2023 budget writing session (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The project would modernize space for a Center for Technology Engineering & Design. The plan includes a two-story, 30,000-square-foot addition and demolition of 17,000 square feet. Interior improvements to the adjacent Myers Technology Center are also part of the project. Technology, engineering and advanced manufacturing are critical components to the Indiana economy, said ISU President Deborah Curtis. “For Indiana to compete on a global scale, it needs a strong, well-educated and highly skilled workforce.”


General Assembly


SEN. GREG WALKER DEFENDS SB1 VOTE: Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, said he voted in favor of a near-total abortion ban over the weekend because he believes public policy should minimize women’s ability to choose to get abortions but defended an exemption in cases of rape and incest as a “pro-life position” (Columbus Republic). “I think there is a role for public policy to try to minimize the choice of abortion for women,” Walker said Monday. “I supported the exception for rape and incest because I believe that’s a pro life position. (I’ve) got colleagues that disagree, but we have bordering states that are publicly inviting women to seek abortion procedures in their jurisdiction.” Walker said that if Indiana expands services to pregnant sexual assault survivors — including post-trauma and post-partum support — “we stand a better chance of providing the support that leads to a decision to bring the child to term.” “I think if we could do more, we would ultimately effectively save more lives of mothers and children without a total ban,” Walker said.


REP. LAUER DIDN'T RETURN CALLS: Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus, has said in the past that he would be open to considering a total abortion ban but did not respond to mulitple requests for comment Monday on the abortion bill pending in the House (Columbus Republic). In a tweet in June following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Lauer said, “I look forward to helping pass pro-life bills that protect the innocent with strong support for expecting mothers and newborns.”


HUSTON COMMENTS ON SB1: Lawmakers in the House are scheduled to take up the measure in a day-long committee hearing Tuesday (Capital Chronicle). Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said Monday there are “a lot of issues that were brought up” in the Senate. Now, lawmakers in the House “want to take a closer look at” those ideas and concerns. “We’re going to come forward with what we think is the best, thoughtful policy that protects life and supports women and children across the state,” Huston said Monday. “It needs some work. And I’m confident that (the committee) will do the work to improve it.”


SB1 VAGUE WORDING CONCERNS MEDICAL PERSONNEL: If her patient had been in a month earlier, Dr. Tani Malhotra would have known exactly what to do. Facing a 25% chance that her pregnancy would kill her, Malhotra’s patient, who had an underlying medical condition, decided that carrying her child to term was too dangerous. She already had children at home that needed her (Herron, IndyStar). She had wanted the child, not realizing her condition made it so dangerous. Through tears, she asked for an abortion. A month earlier, Malhotra, an OB-GYN specializing in maternal and fetal medicine, would have honored that choice and provided the abortion to ensure her patient’s life wasn’t endangered by her pregnancy. But Malhotra works in Ohio where a trigger law went into effect late last month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and left abortion policy up to states. Ohio now prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually around six weeks. So, Malhotra had to talk with her hospital’s legal team about whether a 1 in 4 chance of death is high enough to meet the law’s one exception, allowing for abortion when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk.


BILL WOULD GIVE ROKITA PROSECUTORIAL POWER: The current version of the state’s abortion bill could allow Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita to step in when county prosecutors choose not to pursue certain violations of state law (Wooten, IBJ). Under an amendment to Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, Rokita would have concurrent jurisdiction over cases in which  prosecutors “categorically” refuse to enforce certain laws. The amendment applies to blanket refusals, not instances where prosecutors decide not to prosecute singular cases based on evidence. Freeman introduced the amendment Friday. It passed by a voice vote. “The role of a prosecutor’s office is to prosecute crimes,” Freeman said. “Their job is not to pick and choose which laws they enforce.” The amendment has potential ramifications for Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, a Democrat who has announced that he will not prosecute cases involving abortion or possession of small amounts of marijuana. “The amendment that challenges jurisdiction in abortion-related cases adds yet another layer of constitutional challenges to a proposed bill filled with significant legal issues,” Michael Leffler, spokesperson for Mears, told IBJ in an email.


MEDICAL GROUPS PUSH BACK ON SB1: The Indiana Hospital Association, which represents more than 170 hospitals across the state, called for the General Assembly to ensure “physician protections” as lawmakers debate Indiana’s response to the U.S. Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade (IBJ). Association President Brian Tabor said in a statement Friday that the organization is “concerned” that Indiana is “creating an atmosphere that will be perceived as antagonistic to physicians.” “As state-level decisions continue to unfold, we caution our public officials from sending signals that could further exacerbate our health care workforce shortage and threaten access to care,” he said. “We urge lawmakers to protect all medical professionals from liability and other repercussions when working in good faith to comply with state laws while providing lifesaving care to Hoosier moms and babies.” The Indiana State Medical Association expressed similar concerns. “Indiana cannot have an effective health care system if the training and expertise of physicians is not respected and they are under constant threat of political interference for practicing medicine and assisting their patients,” said ISMA Executive Vice President Julie Reed.


SB1 GOING TO CRIMINAL CORRECTIONS COMMITTEE: Indiana House Republicans are expected to make changes to the abortion bill passed by the Senate (Indy Politics). The House takes up the abortion bill Tuesday morning with their first public hearing. The bill is going to the Criminal and Corrections Committee chaired by State Rep. Wendy McNamara. Speaker Todd Huston and Rep. McNamara would not say what type of changes would be made, only that the bill needs some work.


SENATE PASSED INFLATION RELIEF PLAN SATURDAY: The Indiana Senate approved its version of inflation relief Saturday, setting up a showdown with the House over what the final package will look like. The House plan is simple: send $225 checks to Hoosiers. But Senate Republicans say that process is cumbersome and could add to inflation (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Instead, Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said they want to suspend the state sales tax on utility bills – electricity, water, gas, internet and phone – for six months. They estimate it will save the average household $120 over that time. “This is the most efficient way to go about refunding some of the dollars back to the taxpayer,” Holdman said. Democrats like Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) proposed a plan – which was rejected by Senate Republicans Friday – that is similar to the House’s proposal. “Our plan didn’t cost the state any more money than your plan and it put more money in the taxpayers’ pockets than what yours does,” Taylor said.


JEWISH COUNCIL CONDEMNS SEN. YOUNG REMARKS: The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council has condemned statements made by Republican State Senator Michael Young saying that the senator “appeared to equate Judaism’s view on reproductive rights with condoning murder.” Sen. Young’s statements were made on Thursday on the Indiana Senate floor when senators were debating amendments to Senate Bill 1 — a bill that bans abortion and grants only a few exceptions (CBS4). Young, however, felt the bill didn’t go far enough in banning abortions and introduced an amendment stripping victims of rape and/or incest access to abortions. A lengthy debate followed as Young’s amendment was found to be contentious among both Democrats and Republicans. While defending his amendment, Young spoke out against those who used religion as an “excuse to have an abortion” while at the same time invoking his own beliefs as a reason to protect unborn life. “It seems to me we can’t use our religion to protect life, but they can use their religious beliefs to kill life,” Young said. The Indianapolis JCRC took exception to these remarks stating Young was equating Judaism’s views on reproductive rights with condoning murder. “Judaism views the preservation of life as paramount; while a fetus has the potential for life, such potential never supersedes the life of the pregnant woman,” they said in their statement. The Indianapolis JCRC has called on Young to retract his statement and issue an apology.




PELOSI GOING TO TAIWAN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Taiwan and meet with government officials this week, defying warnings from Beijing not to do so and setting up the potential for increased tensions between the U.S. and China (Wall Street Journal). People whom Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.) is planning to see in Taiwan have been informed of her imminent arrival, a person familiar with the matter said, though some details remain in flux. Some meetings are scheduled for Tuesday evening, but most are set for Wednesday, the person said, saying that they include Taiwanese government officials. “She’s definitely coming,” the person said. “The only variable is whether she spends the night in Taipei.” A visit by Mrs. Pelosi would make her the first House speaker to go to Taiwan in 25 years and put her in the center of a longstanding flashpoint in U.S.-China relations: American support for Taiwan, a democratically governed island that Beijing claims as Chinese territory.


SENATE REPUBLICANS REVERSING COURSE ON VETERANS HEALTH BILL: Senate Republicans are reversing course on a veterans health care bill, signaling they’ll now help it quickly move to President Joe Biden’s desk after weathering several days of intense criticism for delaying the legislation last week (Politico). Republicans insist their decision to hold up the bill, which expands health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances while on active duty, was unrelated to the deal on party-line legislation that top Democrats struck last week. The GOP blocked the bill hours after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced an agreement on a health care, climate and tax package — angering Republicans who thought the Democrats-only plan would be much narrower. Regardless of their reasoning, the GOP was quickly forced to play defense against both Democrats and veterans’ advocates who were caught off-guard by Republican delaying tactics after the party greenlit a nearly identical bill in June.


YOUNG AUTHORS CHINA COERCION BILL: U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) are continuing their work to strengthen U.S. national security and counter China’s coercion with strong American diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region (Howey Politics Indiana). Young and Ossoff introduced the bipartisan Pacific Islands Embassies Act to counter the Chinese government’s growing coercion and influence in the region by opening U.S. embassies in the Republic of Vanuatu, the Republic of Kiribati, and the Kingdom of Tonga to help reassert the U.S. as a diplomatic leader in the region. This move would enable U.S. diplomats and foreign affairs officials to deepen their relationships in the vital region and ensure their operational and physical security. “To confront China’s encroachment in the Pacific, we need to be diplomatically present. Our bill will help establish this vital American voice with key Pacific Island nations, demonstrating our commitment to allies and our leadership in the Indo-Pacific,” said Young.


BOPP COMMENTS ON REP. GREENE CASE: Last week, a judge in Fulton County agreed with Secretary of State Raffensperger’s finding that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene did not “engage in insurrection” on January 6th and is qualified to run for Congress, despite a liberal activist group’s effort to disqualify her (Howey Politics Indiana). This is Rep. Greene’s second victory in this case—the first came when an administrative judge ruled in her favor and Sec. Raffensperger affirmed that judge’s ruling. A group of five Georgia voters, backed by the national left-wing group, Free Speech for People, then filed in the Fulton County court for a review of Sec. Raffensperger’s decision. But the state court judge now has affirmed what both the administrative judge and Sec. Raffensperger decided—the voters challenging Rep. Greene’s candidacy did not come anywhere close to providing evidence to support their claim. “Today was a great victory for the rule of law and our representative Republic,” said James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, lead counsel for Rep. Greene. “Voters in Rep. Greene’s congressional district voted overwhelmingly for Rep. Greene in the primary election—they should be the final voice in picking their Representative.”


THE SENATE is in, with a recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for weekly conference meetings.


THE HOUSE is out.




WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN ANNOUNCES ZAWAHIRI STRIKE - President Joe Biden announced Monday that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, an operation he said delivered justice and hopefully “one more measure of closure” to families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States (AP). The president said in an evening address from the White House that U.S. intelligence officials tracked al-Zawahri to a home in downtown Kabul where he was hiding out with his family. The president approved the operation last week and it was carried out Sunday. Al-Zawahri and the better-known Osama bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, in operation carried out by U.S. Navy SEALs after a nearly decade-long hunt. As for Al-Zawahri, Biden said, “He will never again, never again, allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven because he is gone and we’re going to make sure that nothing else happens.”


WHITE HOUSE: CHINESE SABER RATTLING OVER PELOSI DECRIED -  The White House on Monday decried Beijing's rhetoric over an expected visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, vowing the United States “will not take the bait or engage in saber rattling” and has no interest in increasing tensions with China (ABC News). White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby underscored that the decision on whether to visit the self-ruled island that China claims as its own was ultimately Pelosi's. He noted that members of Congress have routinely visited Taiwan over the years. Kirby said administration officials are concerned that Beijing could use the visit as an excuse to take provocative retaliatory steps, including military action such as firing missiles in the Taiwan Strait or around Taiwan, flying sorties into Taiwan's airspace and carrying out large-scale naval exercises in the strait. “Put simply, there is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with long-standing U.S. policy into some sort of crisis or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait,” Kirby said.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 10:15 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 2:45 p.m.: Biden will take part virtually in an event with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as she signs an executive directive to implement the CHIPS and Science Act. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at 3:30 p.m.


JUSTICE: TEXAN GETS 87 MONTHS FOR CAPITOL INSURRECTION - A federal judge on Monday sentenced the first Capitol rioter convicted at trial to 87 months, or just over seven years in prison -- the longest term of incarceration thus far for a defendant in the Justice Department's criminal investigation of the Jan. 6 assault on Congress (ABC News). Guy Wesley Reffitt, 49, of Wylie, Texas, was convicted by a federal jury in March of five felony counts, including obstruction of justice as well as entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm.


U.N.: WARNS OF NUCLEAR WAR - UN head Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the world faced 'a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War' and was just 'one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation' (Daily Mail). 'We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,' Guterres said at the start of a conference of countries belonging to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 'Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,' he said, calling on nations to 'put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.' Guterres's comments came at the opening of the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT at the UN headquarters in New York, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.


KENTUCKY: FLOOD DEATH TOLL AT 37 - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that the death toll has risen to at least 37 after devastating flooding in eastern Kentucky (WKYT-TV). “Pray for these families and for those who are missing,” the governor said on Twitter. At a news conference earlier Monday, he said they knew of additional bodies that had been recovered, but they could not confirm those deaths at that time. Authorities said 15 of the deaths are reported in Knott County. Four of those deaths are children. The governor said the oldest was in second grade. Six deaths are confirmed in Breathitt County, three in Perry County, two in Letcher County and two in Clay County.


KENTUCKY: INDIANA TASK FORCE 1 CONDUCTING VICTIM SEARCHES - Nearly 60 members of Indiana Task Force One are in southeastern Kentucky on a search and rescue mission after massive flooding devastated that state (WTHR-TV). At last count on Sunday, at least 35 people have died. Many more are missing. Indiana Task Force One is one of four FEMA teams trying to find people and get them help. It's intense work in dangerous conditions. "It was like the "perfect storm," said TF-1's Jay Settergren. "So very, very heavy rain that, in a short period of time, caused mudslides. We're seeing a lot of homes completely damaged. Gone. Off their foundations."


NFL: WATSON SUSPENDED FOR 6 GAMES - Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will serve a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct, disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson ruled Monday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter (ESPN). Watson will not be fined, the source told Schefter. Robinson's comprehensive 15-page conclusion stated that though Watson violated the personal conduct policy, there was not enough evidence to justify an indefinite suspension, a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.


MLB: KC NIPS SOX 2-1 - Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield hit solo home runs, Daniel Lynch took a shutout into the sixth inning in his return from the injured list and the Kansas City Royals edged the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Monday night for their second straight win (ESPN). Perez launched a monster blast for the second straight game and his third homer in four contests after missing 31 games with a left thumb injury and surgery. The seven-time All Star catcher has eight RBI in the span.


MLB: REDS DOWN MARLINS 3-1 -  Rookie Hunter Greene won for the first time in nearly two months, allowing one hit in six scoreless innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds over the reeling Miami Marlins 3-1 on Monday night (ESPN). Albert Almora Jr. had three hits, including two doubles, in his first game off the injured list. Joey Votto walked twice and singled for the Reds, who won their third in a row as they began a four-city, 10-game trip.




JEFFERSONVILLE: MAYOR MOORE ANNOUNCES FOR 4TH TERM — Incumbent Republican Mayor Mike Moore announced Monday he will seek a fourth term. Moore, who was first elected in 2011 as Jeffersonville’s mayor, made the announcement in a video posted on social media. Over the past decade, Jeffersonville has prospered with the addition of new businesses, good paying jobs, upgraded infrastructure and improved parks, Moore said in the video (Suddeath, News & Tribune). “Let’s keep investing in our neighborhoods, focusing on our foundation and growing responsibly,” Moore said in announcing his 2023 run. “We’re on an exciting path of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Our city is stronger than ever. Let’s keep moving forward, together.” Moore previously owned Jerry’s Family Restaurant prior to winning the mayor’s race in 2011. Moore, then a Clark County Commissioner, defeated incumbent Democrat Tom Galligan in 2011. In 2015, Moore defeated Democratic challenger Dennis Julius to retain the position. In 2019, Moore again defeated Galligan in the mayoral race. "What we're doing is working. Look around Jeffersonville and you will see we're a city on the move. We're the place where businesses and families want to call home. But our work isn't done," Moore said "That's why I'm excited about our future. Together let's build upon what we've done and enjoy even more success."


ELWOOD: OFFICER SHAHNAVAZ DIED IN HAIL OF BULLETS - Law enforcement responding to the fatal shooting of Elwood police officer Noah Shahnavaz found the 24-year-old officer with multiple bullet wounds inside his patrol car and 36 rifle casings lying on the road (Magealeno, IndyStar). Authorities from the Elwood Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff's Department went to the scene of the shooting after Shahnavaz sent out a final radio transmission shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday morning, in which he said the driver of a vehicle he had performed a traffic stop on "had a gun." A rifle was discovered inside a Buick being driven by Carl Roy Webb Boards II. Boards is accused of fatally shooting Elwood Police Department officer Noah Shahnavaz during a traffic stop Sunday, July 31, 2022. When they arrived they found Shahnavaz's patrol vehicle with the emergency lights still on, according to a probable cause affidavit submitted to the Madison County Circuit Courts by Indiana State Police. Shahnavaz's gun was unholstered, according to the affidavit. Gunfire had damaged the hood, windshield and driver's door of the vehicle.


ELWOOD: MURDER SUSPECT HAD LENGTHY RECORD - WRTV Investigates has learned the suspect preliminarily charged with murder in the shooting death of Elwood Police Officer Noah Shahnavaz has several previous criminal convictions. Carl Roy Webb Boards II's criminal record stretches back to 1998, when he was convicted of battery in Grant County. WRTV Investigates found that Boards was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2000 or 2001 and didn't keep up with his medicines. In 2001, Boards was convicted of Unlawful Firearm Possession by [a] Serious Felon and Possession of Cocaine or Narcotic Drug charges in Howard County. WRTV reported in 2006 that Boards, age 26 at the time, was charged with attempted murder and other charges after leading Indianapolis Metro Police on a chase and firing on three officers. Boards crashed on the Kessler bridge over I-65 in 2006, and police said they used a Taser to subdue him when he fought with officers. Investigators said in 2006 they found weapons in his vehicle including a pistol and loaded a-k 47 with 97 live rounds. In 2007, following a jury trial, the court found him guilty of criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement, possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious felon. Boards was not convicted of attempted murder.


SOUTH BEND: ACTIVISTS QUESTION KITTRELL DEATH - Activists and faith leaders gathered at Coquillard Elementary Monday evening to remember Dante Kittrell, who was shot and killed by South Bend police officers late last week (DiCarlo, WVPE). According to a Friday press release from the St. Joseph County Police Department — which is investigating the incident along with the Mishawaka Police — South Bend officers were dispatched to the school around 11:38 a.m. on a report of an armed man threatening suicide near the baseball fields. A 20-minute video of the incident posted to social media shows officers with guns drawn surrounding the man, later identified as Kittrell. He’s seen pacing back and forth, sometimes waving his arms and appearing to speak with officers. About 11 and a half minutes into the video, a South Bend police SWAT team vehicle arrives and drives onto the field. Approximately 1 minute later, Kittrell appears to reach for his waist and then raise his arm. Multiple shots are heard in rapid succession, and Kittrell falls to the ground. Officers then move in, and an ambulance is seen driving onto the field about 1 minute later. Kittrell suffered from schizophrenia, and the release says officers attempted to de-escalate the situation. But Pastor Claval Hunter of Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church said that the situation called for a different protocol. “When police officers arrived on the scene and noticed a man was not in his right mind, they should have immediately called for our city’s mental health crisis intervention team to come to the scene,” Hunter said at Monday’s vigil. “Instead, they called the SWAT team.”


FISHERS: TOWN HALL CLOSES; SERVICES TRANSFERRED - Fishers closed City Hall Monday and transferred municipal services elsewhere to begin construction of a new municipal and arts center at the site (Tuohy, IndyStar). The changeover will last until a least the spring of 2024, when the new buildings is scheduled to open, according to a news release from the city. Fishers unveiled plans for its Arts and Municipal Complex on April 18, 2022. The project could be completed in 2024. Residents doing in-person business with the city can go to the City Services behind City Hall for court and utility payments, zoning assistance, and public bids. The building, with an in information desk,  is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except holidays. Most public meetings will be held at Launch Fishers Huston Theater, 12175 Visionary Way, including City Council meetings, on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m.


MICHIGAN CITY: OFFICIALS SEEK TO LOWER CRIME 25% — Responding to an increase in guns and violence, the Michigan City Police Department hosted a community meeting Thursday to unveil a plan it believes will decrease crime in the city by 25 percent over the next three years (O'Brien, LaPorte County Herald-Dispatch). “This is our community, and nobody can do it alone … our goal is to have an action plan,” said MCPD Chief Dion Campbell, presenting the plan he hopes will result in action taken by the city to curb gun violence. Campbell introduced the Flock Safety System, a system of multiple devices that can be installed at critical points throughout the city. It will react to gunshot sounds by notifying law enforcement when shots are fired, and then initiate a camera system that captures vehicle identification information. “This enables us to have evidence identifiers used to prosecute people,” Campbell said. “We believe this is a sound solution that is non-intrusive, that will help us get the bad guys out there.”


SEYMOUR: MELLENCAMP TO PERFORM AT SEPT. 17 FUNDRAISER - Southern Indiana Center for the Arts has announced the return of its Artful Affair gala fundraiser (Seymour Tribune). The not-for-profit organization’s event Sept. 17 at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery in Seymour will feature a special acoustic performance by Seymour native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp. Plus, there will be live music from Lilly & Madeleine, a folk pop duo from Indianapolis, along with an art auction and refreshments.


FORT WAYNE: NICHE NAMES CITY AS MOST AFFORDABLE - In its report, Niche ranked the cheapest places to live in the U.S. At the top of the list was Fort Wayne, Indiana, which also took the top spot in three previous years: 2021, 2019 and 2018 (Forbes). “To take the number one spot, Fort Wayne had to have strong performance in several factors we take into account for the lowest cost of living rankings,” says Bell. “In particular, housing and rental affordability in comparison to incomes in the area, are Fort Wayne’s strongest factors for affordability this year.” Locals in Fort Wayne also gave it high marks. “Fort Wayne is a lovely place to visit and live. I’ve lived here for six years now and still haven’t seen everything,” said one resident. “It’s family friendly and just friendly in general. It’s a small city compared to most, but there’s much to do. It’s full of history and rivers.


NOBLESVILLE: DUKE ENERGY TO PARTNER ON TRAIL – The Noblesville Parks and Recreation Department and Duke Energy have partnered together to revive the Born Learning Trail. Located at the northwest corner of Hague Road and State Road 32, the trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun learning activities for young children and their families that creates quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll (Howey Politics Indiana). The Born Learning Trail is a program through the United Way with trails located across the country.


PORTER COUNTY: COUNCIL POSTPONES BIG TICKET SPENDING - An abridged Porter County Council postponed decisions last week on big-ticket items until its August meeting, when more members will attend (Ross, NWI Times). With only four members, and with President Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, and Vice President Mike Jessen, R-4th, along with Councilman Andy Bozak, R-at large, absent, Councilman Greg Simms, D-3rd, picked up the gavel to run last week's meeting. County Coroner Cyndi Dykes asked for an additional $100,000 for autopsies through the end of the year — $90,000 to pay for the pathologist and $10,000 for Northwest Health Porter’s fees.


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: HEALTH APPOINTEES CALLED POLITICAL - The St. Joseph County Commissioners have made two new appointments to the county Board of Health this year. But some critics say the chosen candidates have been politically motivated, rather than what’s best for the health of the community (Lazaro, WVPE). Appointments to the board used to be split. Three were made by the county commissioners, three by the mayor of South Bend, and one by the mayor of Mishawaka. But the Indiana Legislature changed that several years ago, giving the commissioners the sole authority. Board members serve staggered, four-year terms, so it’s not an immediate transition. The all-Republican body has already made two appointments this year because of resignations, and they’ll get to make three more before the year is over — two in August, and one in December.