BIDEN WARNS OF TRUMP, MAGA EXTREMISM: President Biden warned that former President Donald Trump and his allies are threatening to undermine the nation’s democracy, using a prime-time address to lay out his concerns for the country’s future when millions of Americans have questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election (Wall Street Journal). Standing in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Mr. Biden directly condemned what he called “MAGA Republicans,” citing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, saying, “As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault.” The speech Thursday night came just before the traditional Labor Day start of the midterm election campaign season and was delivered from a key battleground state. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” Mr. Biden sought to draw a distinction between Republicans allied with Mr. Trump and others in the party. He called people from all parties to “unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.” “For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed,” Mr. Biden said. “But it’s not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.” “Vote! Vote! Vote,” he chanted at the end.
HOOSIER GOP MUM; TRUMP, RNC RESPOND: Hoosier Republicans largely ignored President Biden’s speech last night, though U.S. Rep. Jim Banks did tweet out a photo of the president raising his fists (Howey Politics Indiana). “Someone should explain to Joe Biden, slowly but passionately, that MAGA means, as powerfully as mere words can get, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! If he doesn’t want to Make America Great Again, which through words, action, and thought, he doesn’t, then he certainly should not be representing the United States of America!” Donald Trump said on his social media network (Wall Street Journal). During Mr. Biden’s speech, the voices of demonstrators shouting into bullhorns could be heard from nearby streets in opposition to his remarks. The Republican National Committee said in a statement that Mr. Biden was “the divider-in-chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party: one of divisiveness, disgust, and hostility towards half the country.” Delivering a preemptive rebuttal from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Biden was born, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said it is the Democratic president, not Republicans, trying to divide Americans (AP). “In the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America, on its people, on its laws, on its most sacred values,” McCarthy said. “He has launched an assault on our democracy. His policies have severely wounded America’s soul, diminished America’s spirit and betrayed America’s trust.”
TRUMP PONDERS PARDONS FOR INSURRECTIONISTS: Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was giving financial help to some supporters involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on Congress and would look very favorably on giving pardons if he were again elected to the White House (Reuters). Thousands of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol after a fiery speech in which he repeated his false claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud, an allegation repeatedly rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of Trump’s own administration. “I will look very, very favorably about, about full pardons. If I decide to run and if I win, I will, I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons, full pardons,” Trump, who is considering a new run for president in 2024, told radio host Wendy Bell.
INDIANA APPROVES $22.9M FOR SCHOOL SAFETY GRANTS: The Indiana Secured School Safety Board has approved more than $22.9 million in matching state grants, marking the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking school safety investments (Howey Politics Indiana). The grants will be allocated to 425 schools, which is the largest number of schools to ever apply. “We continue to prioritize investments in school safety to help students and staff succeed without the worry of violence in Hoosier schools,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “This funding allow schools to address their specific safety needs through additional personnel and programs designed to prepare for and prevent school violence.” The General Assembly allocated $19 million the past two years for the Secured School Safety Grant (SSSG). Legislators will set future allocations during this year’s budget session. With the addition of $3.9 million in funds unspent from previous grant cycles, Indiana was able to fully fund all top priority, eligible requests from all schools that applied. Additionally, the funding will cover all eligible requests for additional training for School Resource Officers and staff. With this funding, Indiana now has invested more than $132.9 million in school safety since 2013, when the SSSG program was initiated. For FY23, the Board approved $22,911,714.45 in school safety funding. The performance period for the grant begins September 1.
RICHMOND OFFICER SEARA BURTON ALIVE AFTER LIFE SUPPORT REMOVED: An eastern Indiana police officer shot in the head during a traffic stop was taken off life support Thursday but she remained alive with vital signs that were stable, her department said (AP). Richmond Police Department Officer Seara Burton, 28, has been treated at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio, since being shot on Aug. 10. “At this time Officer Burton is still alive and surrounded by family,” the department said in a news release posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon. The decision was made Wednesday to remove Burton, a four-year veteran of the Richmond department, from life support. “Officer Seara Burton’s injuries have been determined to be unrecoverable,” the police Department said in a news release posted on Facebook Wednesday. “Seara will live on and continue to be a hero with her selfless gift of organ donation.”
HPI HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Due to the Labor Day holiday, there will be no HPI Daily Wires published on Sunday and Monday, unless events warrant. Check out the HPI website for updates. The HPI Daily Wire will return on Tuesday Sept. 6 and the next weekly HPI will be published around 9 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 7 with complete Indiana House race previews plus our first general election forecast. Have a great and safe holiday.
IU HEALTH PREPARES FOR NEW ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: With two weeks until Indiana’s new abortion law takes effect, leaders of the state’s largest health system said it is prepared. “All been very committed and have put together what I consider to be a very sound and good plan, as the new law will be enacted on September 15,” Dr. David Ingram, IU Health’s Executive Vice President, said (DeMentri, WRTV). Once the new abortion legislation was signed into law last month, Indiana University Health got to work. “We thought it was very important to quickly formulate a team in a response we call the implementation team,” Dr. Ingram said. Over hours of meetings, some daily others several times a week, teams under an incident command structure sculpted how providers will proceed. They ran through some 80 issues involving the new law.
COVID ERA SCHOOL TEST SCORES PLUNGE: Test scores in elementary school math and reading plummeted to levels unseen for decades, according to the first nationally representative report comparing student achievement from just before the pandemic to performance two years later (Washington Post). Math scores dropped seven points during that period, marking a first-ever decline, while reading scores slipped five points, producing the largest dip in 30 years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, often called “the nation’s report card.” The students who took the tests — given from January to March in 2020 and in 2022 — were 9 years old and mostly in fourth grade. “These results are sobering,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the tests. “It’s clear that covid-19 shocked American education and stunted the academic growth of this age group.”
PALIN’S LOSS OMINOUS FOR GOP: The final special election before the November midterms is in the books. And while the race featured an unusual setup, this one might be more ominous for the GOP than its recent predecessors — for one key reason (Washington Post). The headline from the Alaska special election is that Democrat Mary Peltola defeated former governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Peltola took 51.5 percent of the vote to Palin’s 48.5 percent, bringing at least a temporary end to Palin’s belated attempt at a political comeback. The election was actually held two weeks ago, but the state’s new ranked-choice voting system requires it to wait to collect all ballots, then eliminate candidates from the bottom up. Ultimately, third-place candidate Nick Begich (R) was eliminated, with his voters’ lower-ranked choices being added to the totals, if they ranked one of the two finalists below Begich. Peltola took 40 percent of the first-choice votes to Palin’s 31 percent and Begich’s 28.5 percent. But given that Alaska is a red state and that both Palin and Begich are Republicans, it stood to reason Palin should pick up most of his voters. Nearly 6 in 10 voters picked a Republican first, after all. In the end she did, but barely — and not nearly enough. Almost as many Begich voters picked Peltola as their second choice (15,445) or didn’t rank one of the two finalists (11,222) as ranked Palin behind Begich (27,042). In other words, only about half of Begich voters were willing to also rank Palin ahead of a Democrat. Crucially, it’s a pickup for Democrats, given the seat was previously held by the late longtime Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Democrats have also now overperformed their 2020 margins in all five special elections held since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. And Peltola’s overperformance is the biggest yet.
MORE BEAGLES COMING TO FORT WAYNE: Earlier this month 25 beagles from a Virginia facility that bred the dogs for research were brought to Humane Fort Wayne (WANE-TV). It was done to give them “a chance for a better life.” Now a second transport with 25 female beagles is on the way. “YOUR response to Beaglemania was so overwhelming, that we have opened up our hearts and our shelter to another transport from HSUS,” Humane Fort Wayne wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “THE BEAGLES ARE COMING…AGAIN.”
HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: One thing is clear following the last month’s Indiana 2nd CD caucus and the special congressional election Alaska, which is that voters are unforgiving to officeholders who resign. Both Christy Stutzman and Sarah Palin had conspicuous resignations – Palin halfway through her term as governor; Stutzman just a few weeks after she was reelected in 2020 – and found voters aggravated. Both lost when they returned to curry favor with voters. – Brian A. Howey
WELLS REACTS TO BIDEN SPEECH: Democrat nominee Destiny Wells released this statement on President Biden’s address last night (Howey Politics Indiana): “It is my honor and duty to provide Hoosiers with the following response to President Joe Biden’s remarks this evening on election security and threats to our democracy. President Biden, along with a number of democracy watchdogs, have warned Americans of attempts to discredit the United States electoral system. Backed by disgraced former President Trump, these election deniers spend their time sowing fake news and instilling baseless fear in Americans about the electoral system, which is largely free from fraud. And that’s why I’m speaking to you tonight. In 40 days’ time, Hoosiers will begin to vote in Indiana under the careful oversight and direction of our dedicated county clerks and Indiana’s Chief Election Officer, the Secretary of State—an official which Hoosiers will choose on their ballots this year—and an office for which I am the only pro-democracy candidate. Our electoral system has given Americans a safe, secure manner of expressing our constitutional right to vote. What’s more important? Nothing. And that’s why I’m running for Indiana Secretary of State. Hoosiers deserve better than a Trump-backed, shadowy coalition of election deniers poking around in Indiana elections, which are safe and secure. My opponent has already called the 2020 Election a scam. My opponent is an election denier. My opponent has taken a pledge to support the “America First” Secretary of State Coalition—an extremist front group that the President referenced earlier tonight. That’s important enough to say again—the President is worried enough to speak, on prime time television—to all Americans about extremist threats to our elections system. And Diego Morales is responsible for the radical and extremist views that the President was talking about tonight. If Diego Morales is Indiana’s Secretary of State, say goodbye to early voting. Say goodbye to absentee voting for our senior citizens. Say goodbye to elections that are free and fair. Say goodbye to democracy as Hoosiers know it. There is no turning back from here. And every Hoosier must vote in this race if we’re going to preserve free and fair elections for our kids, and for our grandkids.”
MORALES CHANGES STANCE ON EARLY VOTING: Indiana Democrats say Diego Morales has “flip-flopped” his position on Indiana’s early voting period (Howey Politics Indiana). After campaigning to cut the state’s 28-day early voting period to 14 days, he now says he’s fine with Indiana’s 28-day policy. This pivot is because voters are rejecting the extremist agenda he has campaigned on during the entirety of the Secretary of State race. The Indiana Democratic Party released the following statement in response to Diego’s campaign flip flop: “Voters just can’t trust anything Diego Morales says. He was fired twice from the very office he seeks to lead and has shady campaign finance issues (like buying himself a car). Diego made a campaign promise to restrict access to the ballot box, but now he’s singing a different tune. This flip-flop is disqualifying for Diego, a dangerous politician who will put special interests ahead of Indiana’s future. Destiny Wells, a veteran, attorney, and mother, will keep Indiana’s elections safe and secure and we encourage all Hoosier voters to vote for her to protect Indiana’s democracy.” – Lauren Ganapini, executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party .
HOGSETT PRAISES CHAIRMAN SWEENEY BELL: Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Wednesday praised the job done by Kate Sweeney Bell, who stepped down this week as chair of the Marion County Democratic Party after a tumultuous year plagued by accusations of discrimination and conflicts of interests (Wooten, IBJ). Hogsett said Bell, who is also county recorder, didn’t do anything different than past party leaders to deserve the criticism. Hogsett said Wednesday that Bell didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. “I’ve known very closely, every Democratic and every Republican County chair there’s ever been in my adult life and they’ve all done the same thing. They have filled vacancies,” Hogsett told IBJ. “So Kate, I think, has been unfairly singled out for doing what county chairs have done for 50 years.”
SCOTT/McCONNELL FEUD HEATS UP: Mitch McConnell is among the myriad Republicans questioning the Senate GOP’s quality of candidates in the midterms. Rick Scott wants everyone to stop doubting his recruits (Politico). “Sen. McConnell and I clearly have a strategic disagreement here … We have great candidates,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair said in an interview Wednesday. “He wants to do the same thing I want to do: I want to get a majority. And I think it’s important that we’re all cheerleaders for our candidates.” McConnell predicted in August that the House was more likely to flip than the Senate, because in the upper chamber “candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.” The comment reflected an increasingly public attitude within the GOP about their prospects of flipping the chamber.
GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB ORDERS FLAGS LOWERED – Gov. Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags in Huntington County to be flown at half-staff to honor U.S. Marine Sergeant Jackson Payne Wright who passed away on Saturday, Aug. 20 at his base in Kaneohe, Hawaii (Howey Politics Indiana). Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, Sept. 2. Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents in Huntington County to lower their flags to half-staff on Friday to honor Sgt. Wright and his service.
SOUTH SHORE: 7 TRANSIT DISTRICTS CREATED – The final legal step in creating Transit Development Districts around seven South Shore Line and West Lake Corridor stations was taken Wednesday by the State Budget Committee, which endorsed creation of the development-supporting districts around current and future stations at Michigan City 11th Street, Portage/Ogden Dunes, Gary Miller, East Chicago, Hammond Gateway, Munster Ridge Road and Munster/Dyer Main Street (Steele, NWI Times). Boundaries for the one-half square-mile TDDs, where growth in property and local income taxes will be used to promote transit-oriented development, had been finalized by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority on Aug. 11 after several years of planning. “When the RDA updated its strategic business plan in 2015, we estimated that the West Lake Corridor and Double Track projects would together generate more than $2 billion in private development in Lake and Porter counties,” said RDA President and CEO Sherri Ziller in reaction to the budget committee’s ratification of the districts. “We are now seeing those projections start to come true with transit-oriented development projects underway in Hammond and Michigan City, and more under discussion.
NURSING BOARD: CHANGES DUE TO FED LAW VIOLATION – The Indiana State Nursing Board has agreed to change its policies to address its violation of federal law (WVPE). The U.S. Department of Justice found earlier this year that a program to help rehabilitate and monitor nurses with substance use disorders violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s because the board wouldn’t allow nurses who use medication in their recovery to participate in the program. Under a settlement agreement announced Thursday, the Nursing Board agreed to allow nurses who are prescribed medication to help address their opioid use disorder to participate in the program. And it will ensure those nurses don’t face discriminatory conditions or terms. The settlement with the Justice Department also requires the board to pay $70,000 to the person who brought the complaint.
EDUCATION: TEACHER OF YEAR FINALISTS NAMED – The Indiana Department of Education today announced the top 10 finalists for the 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year (Howey Politics Indiana). “Nearly everyone can remember their favorite teacher – the person who taught them, encouraged them and inspired them to achieve their dreams,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Indiana is home to exceptional teachers across the state, and this year’s top 10 Teacher of the Year finalists are especially impressive. Our teachers’ work matters today and will continue to impact students throughout their entire lives.” The 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year finalists are: Kathleen Avery, South Bend Community School Corporation; Amanda Beck, Tippecanoe School Corporation; Jason Beer, Southwest Allen County Schools; Tara Cocanower, Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District; Joshua DeBard, Lebanon Community School Corporation; Amanda Fox, Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation; Helen Hearon, Mill Creek Community Schools; Kelly Hine, Zionsville Community Schools; Courtney Ramos, MSD of Wayne Township; and Karisa Schwanekamp, Plainfield Community School Corporation
ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA HAS VIRTUAL PRESSER – A lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and other organizations is meant to keep the state’s new abortion law, banning most abortions, from going into effect Sept. 15. State Atty. Gen. Todd Rokita plans to defend against that suit on behalf of the state (WIBC). In a Facebook-only press conference Thursday (Rokita says it’s designed to bypass the ‘biased media” and communicate directly with Hoosiers), Rokita said “the left can’t stand the culture of life”. While Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have said the lawsuit is based on right to privacy guarantees in the Indiana Constitution, Rokita said he does not believe there is any part of the state constitution that provides for abortion being a right.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA RAILS AT ESG – There’s no evidence that Indiana taxpayer dollars are being invested using what’s known as environmental, social and governance, or ESG considerations (Smith, Indiana Public Media). But Attorney General Todd Rokita said he wants to assure Hoosiers that’s true. ESG investing is a growing practice in which investors consider the environmental and social impacts of their investments. Several conservative-led states have taken steps to ban it when it comes to investing public dollars. Rokita said the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) is already banned from incorporating ESG investing strategies under state law. “We all deserve assurance that state retirement funds are being invested solely for financial interests,” Rokita said.
MEDIA: BERMAN LANDS AT ISMA – Former WIBC reporter Eric Berman is now working for the Indiana State Medical Association (Howey Politics Indiana). “For those who haven’t heard (or who don’t scrutinize Twitter bios), I started work this week at @TheISMA. I’m excited to be part of the ongoing effort to create a healthier Indiana.”
MEDIA: INDYSTAR JOURANLISTS DEMAND FAIR CONTRACT – Indianapolis Star journalists on Thursday marched out of the newsroom over lunch to demand a fair contract, on the two-year anniversary of its collective bargaining agreement expiring (Capital Chronicle). “Gannett’s strategy of cutting from its local newsrooms hurts our journalists and community. Indianapolis needs a strong and steady newspaper – not one suffering from constant turnover and thin staffing,” a news release said. “That’s what we’re fighting for.” The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild said representatives for newspaper owner Gannett/USA TODAY have at times shown up unprepared to bargain and have belittled proposals related to diversity and workplace safety. “This contract foolishness has gone on so long that it’s forcing us to ramp up our visibility. There will be more to come,” said Robert Scheer, a photojournalist who has been at the Indianapolis Star for 24 years. “It’s funny that when a stock price goes up, employees generally don’t benefit but when it goes down we’re always the ones who suffer – not top leadership.”
MEDIA: WFYI EMPLOYEE ALLEGEDLY EMBEZZLED $270K – A 52-year-old accounting specialist from Indianapolis has been charged with embezzling more than $270,000 from WFYI Public Media (CBS4). Mindi B. Madison has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is set to make an appearance in federal court on Sept. 15. 2 sentenced for embezzling over $777,00 from Native American addiction, counseling center. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Madison began working as an accounting specialist for WFYI in January 2018. As part of her position, Madison has access to WFYI’s accounting software and was trusted to present legitimate expenses, claims, invoices and employee checks. The DOJ said Madison abused her position of trust, however, and presented at least 156 fake claims and invoices for payment. Madison is said to have committed the fraud with the help of another person only referred to as Individual 1 by the DOJ.
BIG TEN: PURDUE FALLS TO PENN STATE 35-31 – The big picture takeaway from Thursday’s heartbreaking 35-31 loss to Penn State is important to keep in mind (IndyStar). However, the short-term feeling is one of anger, disappointment and a missed opportunity. This loss stings for a variety of reasons and look no further than the final seconds of the first half and the final two minutes of the fourth quarter when the Nittany Lions separated themselves from the Boilermakers. That’s 21 points in a short spurt. That was the difference. Purdue showed its potential as a solid team, overcoming adversity, penalties and sloppy tackling to be in a position to take down one of the nation’s top programs on a national stage and earn the label as a serious contender for the Big Ten West. Instead, the Boilermakers walked out of Ross-Ade Stadium knowing they were a good team but failed to close out the game that could’ve sent their season to new heights.
MAC: TENNESSEE POUNDS BALL STATE 59-10 – Hendon Hooker threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores to lead Tennessee to a 59-10 season-opening victory over Ball State.
CIPOLLONE TO TESTIFY TODAY: Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin are expected to appear Friday before a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election (NBC News). A source familiar with the matter confirmed their scheduled appearance to NBC News Thursday. The news was first reported by ABC News. Cipollone was subpoenaed by the grand jury last month in connection with the Justice Department’s investigation into then-President Donald Trump’s actions leading up to the riot as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the results of the last presidential election.
THE SENATE and THE HOUSE are out.
WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE – President Biden’s schedule — 9 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 11 a.m.: Biden will talk about “American Rescue Plan investments to help boost regional economic strategies,” with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo attending. — Noon: Biden will have lunch with VP Harris. — 3 p.m.: The Bidens will leave the White House for Camp David. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will brief at 11:45 a.m.
JUSTICE: FORMER COP GETS 10 YEARS FOR JAN. 6 – The former New York City police officer convicted of assaulting law enforcement during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a federal judge ruled Thursday, the longest prison sentence so far imposed in the sprawling investigation (CBS News). Thomas Webster was convicted by a jury in May on multiple charges stemming from his membership in the mob, including assaulting officers and violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Webster, a Marine Corps veteran, was released on 24-hour home detention following the guilty verdicts, but prosecutors asked Judge Amit Mehta to impose the stiffest sentence yet — up to 210 months behind bars — in the hundreds of Jan. 6 prosecutions that have made it to sentencing.
JUSTICE: JUDGE TO UNSEAL MORE MAR-A-LAGO DETAILS – A federal judge said she would make public a more detailed list of the items the FBI took during its search last month of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, opening the prospect of a much fuller picture of what documents might be among the classified material seized (Wall Street Journal). U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision came during a hearing Thursday over whether to appoint an outside party to review the materials now in the Justice Department’s hands to determine whether issues of executive and lawyer-client privilege put some of it out of bounds to investigators. After hearing arguments from both sides, she said she would issue a written order in due course on Mr. Trump’s request for that third-party review. Attorneys for Mr. Trump argued that the federal government’s handling of the investigation had damaged public confidence in the probe’s integrity and transparency. They said the appointment of a special master to review documents would help put issues raised by the case in proper context. “We need respectfully to lower the temperature on both sides,” said Chris Kise, a former Florida solicitor general with ties to the GOP who was added this week to the former president’s legal team.
MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK – “Fox News Sunday,” guest-anchored by Mike Emanuel: DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), NRCC Chair Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Panel: Marc Short, Francesca Chambers, Howard Kurtz and Marie Harf. MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Jeffrey Nussbaum, Damian Paletta, Miles Taylor, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Stacey Stevenson, Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Rachel Vindman. ABC “This Week”: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. Panel: Rick Klein, Susan Page, Astead Herndon and Meridith McGraw. NBC “Meet the Press,” with a special edition focused on policing in America: Paul Butler, Jason Johnson, Rebecca Brown, Roger Mitchell. CBS “Face the Nation”: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Jared Holt, Karen Kornbluh, Deval Patrick. CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Margaret Talev, Gabby Orr and Christopher Cadelago.
GEORGIA: SEN. GRAHAM MUST TESTIFY – Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) must appear before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible attempts by Donald Trump and his allies to disrupt the state’s 2020 presidential election, a federal judge ruled Thursday (Washington Post). But the judge limited the range of questions that prosecutors can ask, partially acknowledging Graham’s claim that his status as a sitting senator provides protection against such inquiries. Graham’s lawyers had sought to throw out the subpoena from the Georgia grand jury, arguing that his calls to Georgia officials after the 2020 election were part of his official Senate duties and thus immune from the probe. “The Court is unpersuaded by the breadth of Senator Graham’s argument and does not find that the Speech or Debate Clause completely prevents all questioning related to the calls,” wrote U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May in a decision released Thursday.
CALIFORNIA: LEGISLATURE PASSES $54M CLIMATE BILL – California, with an economy that ranks as the world’s fifth-largest, embarked this week on its most aggressive effort yet to confront climate change, after lawmakers passed a flurry of bills designed to cut emissions and speed away from fossil fuels (New York Times). Legislators approved a record $54 billion in climate spending and passed sweeping new restrictions on oil and gas drilling as well as a mandate that California stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2045. And they voted to extend the life of Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant, by five years, a step once unthinkable to many environmentalists. Proponents said that California, which is again struggling to keep the lights on amid a scorching heat wave this week, needed the emissions-free electricity from the nuclear plant while other clean sources like wind and solar ramp up.
DELPHI: POSSIBLE BREAK IN MURDERS – A potential break in the 2017 murders of two teenage girls in Delphi, Indiana, has emerged (Fox News). Liberty “Libby” German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, were found murdered on the morning of Feb. 13, 2017, after German’s sister dropped the pair off at the entrance of a hiking trail the day prior. Journalist Áine Cain and attorney Kevin Greenlee, who host “The Murder Sheet” podcast and have been following the Delphi murder case, received an anonymous tip that led them to the Wabash River in Peru, Indiana, on Aug. 23, where they witnessed and photographed authorities searching the water with various tools. “We just kind of ran up there ourselves to see what was happening, and we witnessed a search about 12 personnel in the river looking over things,” Cain told Fox News Digital. “They had buckets, shovels. They seemed to have devices that we felt could have been metal detectors, and Indiana State Police (ISP) vehicles were parked next to the river. We documented that and then … looked at sort of a confluence of events that we felt were likely related based on what our anonymous sources have told us.”
SOUTH BEND: TRANSPO DRIVERS GET 40% PAY HIKE – South Bend’s Transpo bus drivers are getting a 40 percent raise. That’s after the Public Transportation Board of Directors approved a new contract Aug. 15 with Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 996 (WVPE). The agreement also includes raises for maintenance workers, additional paid time off and retention bonuses for full-time employees. Like many transit agencies, Transpo has recently struggled with a shortage of drivers. Just Thursday, the agency announced missed trips on nine different routes. “With the new contract in place, our starting wages are now competitive with the marketplace which allows us to attract a broader pool of candidates,” Transpo General Manager and CEO Amy Hill said in a release.
KOKOMO: CITY FACES $20M IN CLEANUP – In November of last year, Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore said the remediation of pollution found near the Kokomo Wastewater Treatment Plant left by the defunct Continental Steel would be costly. Now, the City is looking at approving bond issues to cover that cost (Juranovich, Kokomo Tribune). The Kokomo City Council passed on first reading an ordinance that would allow the city to issue bonds not to exceed $20.1 million to go toward paying for remediation of the toxic chemical pollution found below ground near the city’s wastewater treatment plant, 1501 W. Markland Ave. during construction of an expansion project. The City Council will vote on the ordinance after a second and final reading on Sept. 12. The bonds will be paid with revenue from city wastewater revenues no longer than 2048, and their interest rates are not to exceed 5%. The bonds will be paid back with wastewater revenues, though in order to do that wastewater rates are going to have to increase sometime in the near future. “This, as drafted, will require revenue to pay off the bond,” City Councilman Tom Miklik, R-District 6, said during the City Council’s meeting. “At some point, the council will address that, but not tonight.”
DELAWARE COUNTY: ELECTION BOARD MOVES ON VOTING CENTERS – The Delaware County Election Board introduced a plan to create a vote center system of balloting in local elections beginning with Municipal elections in 2023 (Penticuff, Muncie Star Press). The board voted unanimously to pass the plan onto county chairmen for the Republican and Democrat parties to evaluate before pressing ahead with the plan the change the way the county votes. “This is the most significant change in election procedures the county has ever had,” said local attorney Pete Drumm, who serves on the three-member board as the Republican representative.
HAMILTON COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS EYE $63M FAIRGROUNDS PROJECT – The Hamilton County Commissioners are proposing a fairgrounds improvement project costing upwards of $63 million (WISH-TV). The plan came because Phase 2 of the Noblesville government’s Pleasant Street Expansion Project will take out the Winks Building and other county municipal buildings. Mark Heirbrandt, a Republican who is a Hamilton County commissioner, said, “The proposed project to fully build it out was approximately $63 million. Obviously, that is a lot of money and we wouldn’t be able to afford to do all of that at once.” This fairgrounds improvement plan is broken into three phases. The first is the most costly and includes infrastructure updates to improve stormwater drainage, demolition of buildings bordering Pleasant Street, and the start of improving various buildings. “The fairgrounds are used by numerous county offices for training, such as the sheriff’s office, emergency management, the health department,” Heirbrandt said.