KANSAS VOTERS KEEP ABORTION RIGHTS WITH LANDSLIDE VERDICT: The right to an abortion will remain in the Kansas Constitution. In the first ballot test of abortion rights in a post-Roe America, Kansas voters turned out in historic numbers to overwhelmingly reject a constitutional amendment that would have opened the door for state lawmakers to further restrict or ban abortions across the state (Kansas City Star). The Associated Press called the race at 9:40 p.m central. The vote “no” campaign led with 61 % to 39 % with 2540 of 3994 precincts reporting. TOP VIDEOS × The vote stands as a major win for abortion rights advocates, preserving access in a red state as the procedure is banned or severely restricted in much of the region. It wasn’t just urban counties, like Democratic-leaning Wyandotte County, that turned out to protect abortion rights. Rural counties like Osage, Franklin and Osage also favored vote “no” by significant margins. Iman Alsaden, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said she was still processing the vote. “I am sort of speechless. I’m so proud to be a provider in this community. I’m so proud that I get to serve this community. I moved here two years ago from Chicago with the intention of providing abortion care in a place where there were not a lot of providers,” Alsaden said. “It’s sort of unbelievable. I’m so proud to be able go to work tomorrow and talk to my staff and give everyone a hug.”


HOUSE PANEL CHANGES SB1: An Indiana House committee made significant changes Tuesday to a Republican-backed bill that would ban virtually all abortions in the state. They included an expanded exception that allows abortions up to 20 weeks post-fertilization “to prevent a substantial permanent impairment to the life or physical health” of the mother. An earlier version of the bill only allowed the procedure to prevent the death or “irreversible impairment” of the woman (Smith, Capital Chronicle). The amendment also sets a deadline of 10 weeks post-fertilization for all rape and incest survivors to be able to obtain an abortion.  Previous qualifications for those exceptions limited abortions performed in cases of rape or incest to 12 weeks for those under the age of 16, and eight weeks for anyone aged 16 or older. The House Courts and Criminal Code committee also eliminated the notarized affidavit required victims of rape or incest to access an abortion. The Senate narrowly voted to add that requirement to the bill last week. Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, who chairs the committee, said the amended bill clarifies that no criminal penalties are imposed on women accessing abortions, and it removes the new criminal provisions imposed on doctors. Existing criminal laws still apply, however.


MEDICAL PERSONNEL TESTIFY VS. SB1: Doctors fear they could face criminal charges when they provide emergency treatment for pregnant women if a proposal aimed at banning nearly all abortions in Indiana becomes law, several physicians told state lawmakers Tuesday (Rodgers & Davies, AP). That testimony came after an Indiana House committee changed the abortion ban proposal narrowly approved over the weekend by the Republican-dominated state Senate.The House committee voted 8-5 to advance the bill to the full House for action later this week. Republicans who control the House indicated a divide similar to the Senate, as one committee member who voted in favor said he was reluctant to support rape and incest exceptions. GOP Rep. Cindy Ziemke of Batesville joined Democrats in voting against the bill, saying she believe most residents didn’t support an abortion ban and that allowing first trimester abortions would be a more “measured approach.” Dr. Daniel Elliott, representing the Indiana chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told the committee that the group worried that a broad abortion ban could allow prosecutors to second-guess the emergency decisions of doctors, leaving them exposed to criminal charges.


RIGHT TO LIFE OPPOSES SB1: Jodi Smith, a lobbyist for the anti-abortion group Indiana Right to Life, said the organization remained opposed to the proposal because it is too lax (AP). Smith said a signed affidavit should still be required for rape or incest exceptions and criticized the proposal’s language allowing abortions to protect the mother’s health as “very vague and poorly defined. The concern is that will either open carte blanche of opportunity for abortion-minded doctors, or it could ensure that good doctors that need more clarity don’t know what the allowable procedures are, and they will hesitate. Either option, it ends poorly for women.”


HOUSE COULD ACT ON SB1 FRIDAY: The committee heard more than 100 Hoosiers speak over nearly eight hours before voting 8-5 to advance the abortion ban to the full House chamber. Senate Bill 1 is expected to be further amended on Thursday (Capital Chronicle). House lawmakers could vote to send the bill back to the Senate as early as Friday. Democrats agreed to the changes, although Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said he still has “a lot of problems” with the bill overall. “This (amendment) fixes a lot of problems that were created in the Senate,” Pierce said. “As you can imagine, there are still a lot of problems that remain.”


HOUSE/SENATE STANDOFF OVER REFUND: The House and Senate are quickly moving towards a standoff over whether to send $225 automatic refunds back to eligible Hoosiers (Indiana Public Media). The House and Senate have competing visions on whether to send a check to eligible Hoosiers and how to provide support for children, pregnant people and families. Lawmakers in the Senate raised concerns that the checks could contribute to inflation, and instead proposed a temporary suspension of sales taxes on both utility bills and gasoline. During the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, lawmakers quickly inserted the House version of inflation relief into Senate Bill 2 without even holding a hearing on the Senate’s version of inflation relief, SB 3. Almost immediately after a presentation on the Senate bill from Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) introduced an amendment. “What Amendment 6 does is actually make this bill parallel or similar to House Bill 1001 special session,” he said. Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said it was unclear why the Senate dislikes the taxpayer refund but it doesn’t make sense to send the Senate two versions of the same bill. “I don’t have any idea what we’re doing, because we’re going to pass something we already passed and the Senate doesn’t like,” he said. During a conversation with reporters following the committee, Brown said debate is needed over the automatic taxpayer refund. “I think we have to have the discussion over the automatic taxpayer refund,” he said. “It seems like that is where the Senate is having their holdup on 1001. If we get that worked through we’ll be able to move the bill through.”


JAN. 6 TEXTS FROM PENTAGON WIPED CLEAN: Text messages received and sent by top Pentagon officials who were part of the Trump administration on Jan. 6, 2021, have been wiped from their government-issued phones, according to a federal court filing that cites statements by the Defense Department and Army (CNBC). The text messages from that day — when a mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol — “were not preserved, and therefore could not be searched,” according to that filing. The document says that Defense Department and Army officials have said: “That when an employee separates from [Department of Defense] or Army he or she turns in the government-issued phone, and the phone is wiped.” The filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., was a joint status report from lawyers involved in a lawsuit by the watchdog group American Oversight against the Defense Department, Army, National Guard and Justice Department. That lawsuit seeks records related to Jan. 6 from a group of former Pentagon officials. “The apparent deletion of records from January 6th by multiple agencies bolsters the need for a cross-agency investigation into the possible destruction of federal records,” American Oversight Executive Director Heather Sawyer wrote Garland.


PELOSI SAYS U.S. WILL STAND BY TAIWAN:  U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that heightened tensions with China, saying Wednesday that she and other members of Congress in her delegation showed they will not abandon their commitment to the self-governing island (AP). Pelosi, the first U.S. speaker to visit the island in more than 25 years, courted Beijing’s wrath with the visit and set off more than a week of debate over whether it was a good idea after news of it leaked. In Taipei she remained calm but defiant. “Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy,” she said in a short speech during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. “America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”


McCONNELL, YOUNG AND 25 REPUBLICANS BACK PELOSI VISIT TO TAIWAN:  From Congressional Republicans: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 25 other Republican senators including U.S. Sen. Todd Young released a joint statement of support for Pelosi’s trip (Politico Playbook): “For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have traveled to Taiwan. This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy, to which we are committed.”


GAS PRICES FALL 7 STRAIGHT WEEKS: U.S. gas prices have fallen for seven straight weeks and are approaching an average price of $4 a gallon, easing the pain of record-high fuel costs amid shrinking global demand for oil (Wall Street Journal). The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline sank to $4.19 Tuesday, the 49th straight day that prices have declined, according to OPIS, an energy-data and analytics provider. That is a 17% decline from the previous high of $5.02 a gallon set back on June 14, according to OPIS. Global demand for oil has fallen in recent weeks as economic growth has slowed around the world, including in China, analysts said. Demand data and consumer surveys also suggest Americans are driving less. That global drop-off in oil demand has led to an improvement in oil supplies, resulting in lower oil and wholesale fuel prices, analysts said. Americans, as a result, are paying less at the pump than they were at the beginning of the summer.


MEMORIAL FUND SET UP FOR SLAIN ELWOOD OFFICER: A memorial fund has been launched after a Elwood Police officer was shot and killed early Sunday during a traffic stop (IndyStar). Indiana Fallen Heroes Foundation has started a memorial fund for 24-year-old officer Noah Shahnavaz, who died after stopping a 2012 Buick LaCrosse near the intersection of State Road 37 and County Road 11 North in Madison County. The driver, identified as Carl Roy Webb Boards II, 42, allegedly exited the vehicle and opened fire at the officer, striking him and his vehicle several times just after 2 a.m. Sunday.


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In Thursday's weekly edition of Howey Politics Indiana, we'll look at the progression of SB1 and how the thunderclap out of Kansas last night could impact the legislation. I will look at how floods in St. Louis and Kentucky are further evidence of climate change. Look for it around 9 a.m. Thursday. - Brian A. Howey




PENCE CAMPAIGNS IN HOBART: The True Cost of Washington Tour sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, came to Luke Convenience Store & Gas Station on Tuesday afternoon and featured an appearance by former Vice President Mike Pence (Opinker, NWI Times). The tour has been traveling across the county, partnering with gas stations to offset the price of regular gasoline back down to $2.38, the average price per gallon on the first day of the Biden administration. Americans can expect to spend an extra $5,500 to maintain the same standard of living as last year due to soaring inflation rates, AFP said. “The time has come for the Biden administration to end the war on energy and unleash American energy and lower the cost of gasoline for working families here in the heartland of America,” Pence said. “That will be the foundation of bringing this economy back.” Pence was accompanied by Jennifer-Ruth Green, the Republican candidate for Indiana’s 1st Congressional District of Lake, Porter and northwest LaPorte counties. “Hoosiers deserve better,” Green said. “When we look at the fact that specific economic difficulties are crushing our families, it is something that burdens me. As we see these families who are struggling, I believe we can do better.”


MRVAN COMMENTS ON PENCE VISIT: Statement from U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan in Response to Former VP Pence Event in Hobart (Howey Politics Indiana): “The voters are tired of gimmicks from extreme, out-of-touch, anti-union, anti-women, anti-veteran, and anti-public education Republicans. From this event with former Vice President Pence to the Republicans in the Senate opposing the PACT Act for our veterans, national Republicans are focused solely on greed and political power, not substance and solving problems, and I would expect more from our former Vice President. It is deeply regrettable that the Republican nominee for the First District of Indiana receives money and support from these types of national organizations, including the American Action Network, which is funded by Big Oil and their record-breaking profits. I will continue to stand up to them and work to solve problems in a bipartisan fashion, protect a woman's freedom over her own body, and be a district-centric Member of Congress.  I also will continue to stand with organized labor in the fight for fair pay, safe working environment, and a secure retirement." 


TRUMP STATEMENT: Statement by Donald J. Trump (Howey Politics Indiana): "The Unselect Committee of Political Thugs has not devoted one hour to the massive Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election, the reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington on January 6th. When will they start? The Unselects also refuse to look at why Crazy Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of D.C. turned down from 10-20,000 troops. Why is this, I wonder?"


REP. MEIJER DEFEATED IN MICHIGAN: John Gibbs, the Trump-endorsed challenger to U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, was victorious in the nationally watched race of west Michigan's 3rd Congressional District (Detroit News). Congressional candidate John Gibbs took a phone call from former President Donald Trump late Tuesday night as he was leading in the Republican primary against U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township. Meijer voted to impeach Trump, who endorsed Gibbs in the race. Gibbs declared victory early Wednesday morning at a watch party at his campaign headquarters in Wyoming, a suburb of Grand Rapids. Meijer conceded the race around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in a statement. Gibbs had about 52% of the vote to Meijer's 48% with about 87% of precincts reporting in a congressional district encompassing parts of Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.


DIXON WINS MICHIGAN GOV NOMINATION: Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator and first-time candidate who won the backing of powerful allies, including former President Donald Trump, will be the Michigan Republican Party's nominee to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November (Detroit News). With about 82% of the expected votes in the Republican contest counted, Dixon had 40% of the vote as businessman Kevin Rinke of Bloomfield Township trailed far behind her with about 22% of the vote. Chiropractor Garrett Soldano of Mattawan had 18% of the vote, real estate broker Ryan Kelley of Allendale had about 15%, and Pastor Ralph Rebandt of Farmington Hills had 4%.


SCHMITT WINS MO GOP SENATE PRIMARY: Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine will face off in the November general election contest for U.S. Senate, Missouri voters decided Tuesday (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Schmitt handily won Missouri’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, defeating a scandal-plagued former governor and a six-term congresswoman on his way to the nomination. Schmitt was winning about 46% of the Republican primary vote in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. His closest competitors, former Gov. Eric Greitens and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, were trailing, with Hartzler taking 22% and Greitens winning 19% of the vote with 77% of the expected vote in, according to Politico.


TRUMP-BACKED CANDIDATES PREVAILING IN ARIZONA: Donald Trump-backed candidates pulled ahead in Arizona’s GOP primaries, showing, if early election results hold, a sign of the sway the former president still has over Republicans in the state (Arizona Republic). Some races were too close to call early Wednesday but showed Trump's preferred candidates leading in high-profile Republican races for Arizona governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Arizona attorney general and secretary of state. Trump-endorsed Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson, who was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, were in a virtual tie in the race for the GOP nomination for governor. The winner will face Katie Hobbs, Arizona's current secretary of state, who easily won the Democratic nomination for governor. Republican Blake Masters, who’s backed by both Trump and tech investor Peter Thiel, was declared the U.S. Senate primary winner by the Associated Press after building a lead over former solar power executive Jim Lamon and Mark Brnovich, the current Arizona attorney general. Masters will face Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in the November general election. State Rep. Mark Finchem has won the Republican nomination for Arizona secretary of state, propelled by a platform of radical election reform rooted in his ongoing denial of the 2020 election results, and an early endorsement from former President Donald Trump.


AZ SPEAKER BOWERS DEFEATED: Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House speaker who rose to national prominence after testifying to the Jan. 6 committee about Donald Trump's attempts to pressure him into overturning his state's vote for Joe Biden, lost the Republican primary for an open state Senate seat, per AP. Driving the news: Former state Sen. David Farnsworth trounced Bowers for the Republican nomination in Legislative District 10, a GOP stronghold that primarily covers that conservative eastern part of suburban Mesa.




VOTERS LIKE MANCHIN BILL: The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll looks at the components of the proposed Inflation Reduction Act, with some results that are sure to be music to Joe Manchin’s ears: Caps on prescription drug prices: It’s the most popular part of the bill, with 77% of voters voicing their support, including strong support from an outright majority of 51% of voters. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices: 43% strongly support, 73% total support. Reducing the federal deficit by $300 billion: 42% strongly support, 73% total support. Limiting costs for Medicare beneficiaries: 44% strongly support, 72% total support.




GOVERNOR: DRUG COMMISSION TO MEET THURSDAY - The Indiana Commission to Combat Substance Use Disorder will meet at 11 a.m. (ET) Thursday at the Indiana State Library, History Reference Room 211. At the meeting, Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement Douglas Huntsinger and other commission members will discuss continued efforts related to the drug crisis. A complete meeting agenda can be found here.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB MAKES APPOINTMENTS - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions.


Board of Trustees of Purdue University: The governor made one reappointment to the board, who will serve until July 1, 2025: Malcolm DeKryger (DeMotte), president and co-owner of Belstra Milling Company.


Commission for Higher Education: The governor made three reappointments to the commission: Anne Bowen (Terre Haute), MBA student at Indiana State University, who will serve until June 30, 2024; Al Hubbard (Indianapolis), co-founder of E&A Industries, who will serve until June 30, 2025; Christopher LaMothe (Indianapolis), former CEO of Elevate Ventures, who will serve until June 30, 2026. The governor also made three new appointments to the commission, who will serve until June 30, 2026: Mike Daigle (South Bend), CEO and executive director of the St. Joseph County Airport Authority; Nancy Jordan (Fort Wayne), senior consultant with Bulldog Consulting Services; Tom Saunders (Lewisville), retiring state representative.


Governor’s Workforce Cabinet: The governor made three new appointments to the cabinet, who will serve until December 31, 2023: Theresa Koleszar (Brownsburg), director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services with FSSA; Marilyn Pitzulo (Indianapolis), associate chief of workforce strategy and design with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development; Steve Schreckengast (Lafayette), president and co-founder of Citation Homes, Inc.


State Ethics Commission: The governor made two reappointments to the commission, who will serve until December 31, 2025: Corrinne Finnerty (North Vernon), principal at McConnell Finnerty PC; Katherine Noel (Kokomo), principal at Noel Law, who will also continue her service as chair of the commission. The governor also made one new appointment to the commission, who will serve until July 31, 2026: John Krauss (Indianapolis), former and founding director of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.


State Lottery Commission: The governor made one reappointment to the commission, who will serve until June 30, 2026: Norman Gurwitz (Indianapolis), consultant and former executive vice president, corporate counsel, and director of human resources for Emmis Communications Corporation. The governor also made one new appointment to the commission, who will serve until June 30, 2026: Roger Utzinger (Carmel), management consultant.


IDEM: FIRM HONORED FOR ENVIRONMENT STEWARDSHIP - The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) presented Pull-A-Part located at 2505 N Producers Lane, Indianapolis, with their seventh Indiana Clean Yard-Gold Level award in recognition of the company’s efforts to protect the environment (Howey Politics Indiana). Hani Sharaya, IDEM Senior Environmental Engineer, presented a commemorative certificate to Pull-A-Part's Gabriel Boateng and Steve Jones, during a site visit on July 27. Salvage yards receive and store wrecked vehicles containing antifreeze, gasoline, oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, batteries, mercury switches, and tires.


ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROBOCALL TASK FORCE FORMED - After years of fighting intrusive robocalls, Attorney General Todd Rokita today announced Indiana as a leader of the nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force, which will include 50 attorneys general (Howey Politics Indiana). The task force will investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into our country. This bipartisan national task force has one goal: to stop illegal robocalls. "Robocalls aren't just a Hoosier problem. They are a nationwide problem,” Attorney General Rokita said. “That is why I am proud to lead my fellow attorneys general in the fight against these scammers and robocallers. If the telecom industry won't police itself, this unprecedented task force will."  


General Assembly


HOW HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTED ON SB1: How lawmakers in the House Courts and Criminal Code committee voted on Senate Bill 1: YES votes: Rep. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron; Rep. Steve Bartels, R-Eckerty; Rep. Chris Jeter, R-Fishers; Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville; Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica; Rep. Donna Schaibley, R-Carmel; Rep. Greg Steurwalkd, R-Avon; and Rep. John Young, R-Franklin. NO votes: Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend; Rep. Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary; Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington; Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis;  Rep. Cindy Ziemke, R-Batesville.


MORE THAN A DOZEN PHYSICIANS TESTIFIED: More than a dozen physicians spoke on the bill in the House committee Tuesday. Most said they were pleased to see the new criminal penalties against doctors amended out, but doubled down on concerns about the remaining bill (Capital Chronicle). As approved by the Senate, the abortion-restricting bill created new felony penalties imposed on physicians for performing unlawful abortions. The amendment adopted in the House committee deleted those new penalties, but an existing felony in state law for performing an unlawful abortion would apply. Still, Dr. Andreia Alexander, with the Indiana State Medical Association, which has opposed the bill, maintained there should be no criminal penalties for doctors who perform unlawful abortions. Penalties should be handled by the state medical licensing board, she said. Dr. Mary Abernathy, a maternal fetal medicine specialist, said she was worried that the proposed abortion ban — and the loss of abortion clinic licensing provision — will make it harder to get doctors to Indiana to provide prenatal care. “(This bill) will lead to a loss of OB providers, leading to a loss and a decreased access in prenatal care,” Abernathy said, noting that women in rural areas will be most affected.


McCANN SEES 'BETTER' SB1 AFTER AMENDMENTS: Ryan McCann from the Indiana Family Institute, one of the state’s leading religious conservative groups, said the amendment adopted by the House committee makes the bill “better,” but maintained that the current language for exceptions still leaves loopholes (Capital Chronicle). McCann said the the exception for rape and incest, for example, should require a police report. That concern echoes pushback from other anti-abortion groups that contend the exception is too vague and would actually expand abortion access. The group previously opposed the Senate bill, saying it didn’t establish a strict enough abortion ban.  “There are still a few issues (in the bill) that need to be handled,” McCann said. “Hopefully, as we go forward with second readings, we’ll be able to handle some of those.”


SENATE SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK: Here is the updated Senate schedule for this week (Howey Politics Indiana): Wednesday, Aug. 3: 10 a.m.: The Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy will meet in the Senate Chamber to hear House Bill 1001 (ss). Members of the public who wish to testify should sign up prior to the start of the committee, which can be done online or in person, and must check in outside the Senate Chamber. A limited number of seats are reserved for the press. Outlets needing sound may plug into the mult box in the elevated section of the media area to record sound from the witness podium and committee members. 3:30 p.m.: The Senate will convene for session to adopt committee reports. This is procedural - debate on bills does not typically occur at this stage. A limited number of seats are reserved for the press. Outlets needing sound may plug into the mult box in the elevated section of the media area.


Thursday, Aug. 4: 1:30 p.m.: The Senate will convene for session for any House bill(s) eligible for second reading. At this stage, senators may offer, debate and vote on amendments to bills. Filed amendments will be available for review at iga.in.gov.


Friday, Aug. 5: 1:30 p.m.: The Senate will convene for House bill(s) on third reading. Debate on those bills will occur at this stage, and a final vote is expected to be taken on them.




SENATE REACHES DEAL ON BURN PIT VETERANS BILL: Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement to pass legislation expanding benefits for veterans who are suffering illnesses due to toxic exposures, with a vote on the measure expected Tuesday evening (The Hill). “We expect to have an agreement on the PACT Act with amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “I believe it will pass and pass this evening. So, that’s very good news.” Schumer said that the senate will vote on three amendments to the bill, with 60 votes being needed to pass those bills. The upper chamber will then move to finally pass the bill.


BRAUN CALLS MANCHIN SPENDING BILL 'SWAMPY': Democrats are on the verge of pushing forward a smaller version of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan in the Senate after the previous version stalled due to a lack of support from centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (Darling, WIBC). Sen. Mike Braun (R) of Indiana believes the bill is “swampy.” “This is a climate spending bill, $369 billion,” Braun told Fox Business. “$69 billion on ACA premium subsidies. Typical DC swampy politics where you make it look like something is happening. This looks like it’s going to be an inflationary net out. Hopefully, Sinema can flesh it out.”


THE SENATE is in. The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on protecting election workers, with testimony from secretaries of state and others. The Rules Committee will hold a hearing on Electoral Count Act reform at 10:30 a.m.


THE HOUSE is out.




WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN COVID SYMPTOMS RETURNED - President Joe Biden’s “loose cough” has returned as he faces a rebound case of COVID-19, his doctor said Tuesday, though he “continues to feel well” (AP). White House physician Kevin O’Connor provided the update on the president’s condition as he continues to test positive for the virus. He said Biden “remains fever-free,” and that his temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation “remain entirely normal.” Still, Biden is required to remain in isolation through at least Thursday under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — and perhaps longer under tougher White House protocols if he continues to test positive.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule - 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. - 2 p.m.: Biden will virtually deliver remarks at the first meeting of the interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, with VP Harris, A.G. Garland, HHS Secretary Bererra, VA Secretary McDonough and DHS Secretary Mayorkas also in attendance. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at 12:45 p.m.


PENTAGON: CHINA SURROUNDS TAIWAN - China’s defense ministry announced Tuesday that its military would conduct “targeted” drills and missile tests around Taiwan in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival there on Tuesday, in Beijing’s latest escalation since news emerged of the speaker’s highly anticipated trip (Politico). The “targeted military operations” are designed to “safeguard national sovereignty” in response to Pelosi’s visit, the defense ministry said Tuesday, vowing to “resolutely thwart external interference and ‘Taiwan’s independence’ separatist attempts.” Experts raised alarms over the exercise, with some noting that the drills would overlap with Taiwan’s territorial waters. M. Taylor Fravel, director of the MIT Security Studies Program, said the drills appear to be “unprecedented,” noting that they would be “the largest number of exercises to be conducted very close to the island of Taiwan itself, and the first to take place on all sides surrounding Taiwan. The drills could also include Chinese missiles overflying the island, Fravel said.


HEALTH: RECORD LOW 8% LACK HEALTH INSURANCE - A record low 8% of Americans lacked health insurance at the start of the year, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided first to USA TODAY. More than 5 million people have gained coverage since 2020, according to the department’s review of household survey data. The drop comes after Democrats temporarily boosted insurance premium subsidies and ramped up outreach to help people enroll in Obamacare plans created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Coverage rates also grew as more states expanded Medicaid through the ACA and as states received extra Medicaid funding during the pandemic under the condition that they keep most Medicaid patients enrolled until the public health emergency ends.


JUSTICE: CIPOLLONE SUBPOENED BY GRAND JURY - A federal grand jury has subpoenaed former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone in its investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told ABC News. The sources told ABC News that attorneys for Cipollone -- like they did with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol -- are expected to engage in negotiations around any appearance, while weighing concerns regarding potential claims of executive privilege. The move to subpoena Cipollone signals an even more dramatic escalation in the Justice Department's investigation of the Jan. 6 attack than previously known, following appearances by senior members of former Vice President Mike Pence's staff before the grand jury two weeks ago.


JUSTICE: GARLAND ANNOUNCES ABORTION ACCESS LAWSUIT - Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday announced the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho challenging its law that will take effect next month that would make it a felony to perform an abortion in all but extremely narrow circumstances (ABC News). Garland said the law violates the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) that states hospitals that receive Medicare funds are required to provide necessary treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency. "The suit seeks to hold invalid the state's criminal prohibition on providing abortions, as applied to women who are suffering medical emergencies," Garland said in a press conference at the Justice Department. "As detailed in our complaint, Idaho's law would make it a criminal offense for doctors to provide emergency medical treatment that federal law requires."


TREASURY: PUTIN GIRLFRIEND SANCTIONED - The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's reputed girlfriend as part of a series of measures targeting Russian elites in the Biden administration's latest attempt to punish the Kremlin for its ongoing war in Ukraine (CNN). Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, who has been romantically linked to the Russian leader, was sanctioned "for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation," a Treasury Department statement said. That statement describes the 39-year-old Kabaeva as having "a close relationship to Putin." She is a former member of the State Duma "and is the current head of the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio, and print organizations."


MEDIA: VIN SCULLY DIES - Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, whose dulcet tones provided the soundtrack of summer while entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. He was 94 (AP). Scully died at his home in the Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, according to the team, which spoke to family members. As the longest tenured broadcaster with a single team in pro sports history, Scully saw it all and called it all. He began in the 1950s era of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, on to the 1960s with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, into the 1970s with Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, and through the 1980s with Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela. In the 1990s, it was Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo, followed by Clayton Kershaw, Manny Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in the 21st century.


KENTUCKY: APPEALS COURT REINSTATES ABORTION BAN - A Kentucky appeals court has reinstated a near-total abortion ban that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The ruling means most abortions are illegal in the state, for now (NBC News). Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked the court for an emergency stay, which blocked a lower court's ruling. That ruling by a Louisville judge last month put two abortion bans on hold so the courts could determine if they violate Kentucky's constitution. The state's two clinics issued a media release Monday night declaring "abortion is now banned in Kentucky," and said they began canceling scheduled procedures.


MLB: ST. LOUIS BLANKS CUBS 6-0 -  Adam Wainwright pitched seven spotless innings with longtime catcher Yadier Molina back behind the plate, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Tuesday night (ESPN). Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in three runs to lead the St. Louis offense. Dylan Carlson, the subject of trade speculation before Tuesday's deadline, hit a two-run shot and made a nice catch in center field. Nolan Arenado also went deep.


MLB: REDS NIP MIAMI 2-1 - Graham Ashcraft allowed one unearned run in a career high 8 1/3 innings and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to four games (ESPN). The 24-year-old Ashcraft (5-2) scattered five hits and struck out three. He was lifted after Jesús Aguilar's one-out double in the ninth. Alexis Díaz relieved and retired the next two batters for his fourth save.


MLB: CHISOX BOMB KC 9-2 - The Chicago White Sox would have liked to complete a few more trades prior to the deadline to give themselves the jolt they need to make a jump in the AL Central. It didn't work out that way. They'll have to pick themselves up and deliver more performances like this (ESPN). Eloy Jiménez set season highs with three hits and four RBI, José Abreu homered and Chicago pounded the Kansas City Royals 9-2 on Tuesday night. The White Sox made no major moves before the trade deadline and will bank on improvement from within as they try to overtake Minnesota and Cleveland to win their second straight AL Central championship. This one wasn't exactly pristine, but they'll take the lopsided win.




NEW HAVEN: MAYOR McMICHAEL SEEKS 2ND TERM - It’s official: New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael is seeking a second term (Filchak, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). More than 30 people gathered Monday on the factory floor of Continental Diamond Tool in New Haven to hear about McMichael’s political intentions. Before making his announcement, McMichael shared the progress New Haven has made since he was first elected mayor in 2019. McMichael, a former a real estate agent and city councilman, said he knows “how government functions and more importantly – how it doesn’t.” “I was mocked talking about how experience, relationships and judgement can be effective,” McMichael said. “I stand here today on the first day of Month 32 of this administration, and I show you what experience, relationships and judgement bring to a community. “So many times, government interferes with commerce and business. Government should never be the reason that development does not happen. We cannot stop capitalism.””


FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL VOTES FOR RAIL APPROVAL – At Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday night, there was a 7-1 vote for a non-binding approval of Councilman Geoff Paddock’s plan for passenger rail service connecting the city to Chicago and Columbus, Ohio (WANE-TV). The lone opponent of the rail was Jason Arp, 4th district, who said more and more people are using Zoom to communicate virtually, and that rail numbers have been down since COVID-19. The non-binding agreement doesn’t move the needle on the likelihood of the rail, however, as the city still needs federal and state funding.


DECATUR: COUNCIL APPROVES SLAUGHTERHOUSE – Decatur City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday night in favor of a facility slaughtering cattle (WANE-TV). Ordinance 130.2 passed Tuesday to allow a slaughterhouse within the city limits of Decatur– but only in the two industrial parks. The first two parts of the ordinance allowing the slaughterhouse to be developed in an industrial park passed in a unanimous vote July 19. The controversial topic has been discussed at city council meetings several times leading up to Tuesday’s final vote.


GARY: CITY PREVAILS IN WELCOMING ORDINANCE - A five-year court battle over whether Gary's "Welcoming City" ordinance makes it an illegal immigration "sanctuary city" is over (Carden, NWI Times). The Indiana Supreme Court last month dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Gary's policy of prioritizing local public safety needs and protecting the rights of immigrants unlawfully violated Indiana's 2011 prohibition on sanctuary cities. In a 5-0 decision, the state's high court said the four Indiana residents who filed the lawsuit against the Steel City lacked sufficient standing since they've suffered no injury because of Gary's ordinance. As a result, there is no justiciable dispute and the case must be dismissed, said Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, a Crown Point native, on behalf of the Supreme Court.


BLOOMINGTON: POPLARS, EX-HOSPITAL BEING RAZED - The Poplars Building and old IU Health hospital site in Bloomington are partially demolished. The Bloomington Board of Public Works granted road closures Tuesday to allow both demolitions to continue (Indiana Public Media). IU contracted Indianapolis-based Renascent, Inc. to complete both projects. Roads around the Poplars Building will be closed starting Wednesday. Closures last through Sept. 9, but mostly avoid IU move-in. North Dunn Street will be fully closed from Seventh Street to the alley between the Poplars Building and parking garage Aug. 3-13. This closure also includes the east sidewalk on North Grant Street.


PERU: GUN SHOP APPROVED FOR HOME — The Peru Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special use variance to allow a resident to operate an online gun store from her home, which is located in a subdivision near U.S. 31 (Kokomo Tribune). Tara Lohse told the Board on Wednesday her business would be about 90% online and include shipping guns direct to customers. However, she anticipated one or two customers a month may come to her home, located in the Wabash River Estates subdivision, to directly purchase a weapon or fill out required paperwork. Lohse told the Board she has a large, biometric safe that is bolted to the ground in which to store the firearms, and has two years experience operating a gun shop.


FORT WAYNE: CITY TO OPEN COOLING STATIONS - The City of Fort Wayne announced the lobby of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory will serve as a cooling station due to high temperatures and heat indices forecasted to impact our area (Howey Politics Indiana). The cooling station will be available from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday. The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is located at 1100 S. Calhoun St. in downtown Fort Wayne. Also, The Salvation Army will serve as a cooling station from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday. The Salvation Army is located at 2901 N. Clinton St.


MONROE COUNTY: JAIL CALLED MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY - A local jail built to detain defendants awaiting trial and the convicted serving time is burdened by being a detox center and mental health facility as well (Charron, Bloomington Herald-Times). A doctor who used to service the Monroe County Jail once said, in regard to mental illness, it was one of the sickest jails he's seen. People with mental illness are consistently filtering in and out of the jail's "revolving door." "The jail is the largest mental health facility in the county," jail commander Sam Crowe said recently as a mentally ill woman's wails echoed through a jail corridor.