August 10, 2022

FEDERAL JUDGE UPHOLDS INDIANA ABORTION BAN: A federal judge has allowed an Indiana law that largely bans a common second-trimester abortion procedure to take effect following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade (Smith, Capital Chronicle). U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker signed an order Thursday to allow the Republican-backed ban on “dismemberment abortions.” That was after Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office requested for the judge to lift her 2019 injunction that blocked the law. “The court’s ruling this week vacating its earlier injunction that permitted this gruesome procedure to continue is an exciting battle victory in our war to defend the unborn and protect women,” Rokita said in a statement Friday. “My office will continue to take all necessary steps to limit abortion, assist mothers, empower families to choose life, and ultimately protect the lives of the unborn.” The state law prohibits dilation and evacuation abortions unless the procedure prevents a serious health risk or saves the life of the mother. The procedure is used in a “majority of abortions performed after the early part of the second trimester,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.


MEARS VOWS NOT TO PROSECUTE ABORTION CASES: Marion County’s chief prosecutor, who is up for reelection this year, stood by previous statements that he would not prosecute patients or doctors who may violate any future abortion laws passed by the state legislature (WISH-TV). Mears says doing so would violate the confidentiality between a patient and their doctor. “To mount one of these criminal prosecutions you would have to go through people’s medical records, mental health records, it’s important to note, criminal prosecutions are open to the public, and then all of that information would be available for public consumption,” said Mears. Mears also worries prosecuting abortion cases would divert resources from handling more serious violent crime, a decision that may pit lawmakers against prosecutors. “Hopefully we have a discussion about the implications of these types of laws and how that is going to impact the medical community as well as people who are seeking medical treatment, so we are hoping the special session has a fair hearing of these issues and these concerns,” Mears said.


JUSTICE BARRETT’S SOUTH BEND BECOMES ABORTION BATTLEGROUND: Like in many American towns, protestors and celebrants poured into the streets and city plazas of this northern Indiana city in the hours and days after the Supreme Court reversed abortion rights (Wren, Politico). On Friday evening after the Dobbs decision came down, in the John Hunt Plaza in front of the Morris Civic Auditorium, the protesters began hoisting the now-familiar signs: HANDS OFF MY UTERUS. ABORTION IS HEALTHCARE. OUR BODIES OUR CHOICE. KEEP IT LEGAL. KEEP IT SAFE. Unlike in a lot of towns, though, the jeerers and the cheerers happened to have a onetime neighbor and fellow South Bender as a justice on the court: Amy Coney Barrett, who still keeps a presence in the town, having only relatively recently sold her 3,800-square-foot brick home in the leafy and pristine Harter Heights neighborhood near her former employer, the University of Notre Dame Law School. This familiarity has been very clear in recent weeks — whether shaded by contempt or buoyed by adoration. “Fuck You, AMY CONEY BARRETT,” read one sign at the Friday evening protest. “Let’s give up a cheer for Amy Coney Barrett from right here in South Bend,” Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski said into a bullhorn in front of the South Bend federal courthouse a few days later, the last few words nearly drowned out by cheers.


BIDEN CITES INDIANA ABORTION WHEN SIGNING ORDER: Two weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion nationwide despite efforts by some states to outlaw or severely restrict it (ABC News). Speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Biden decried the court’s decision two weeks ago as “extreme” and “totally wrong.” The president also urged women, specifically, to practice their “political power” by showing up to vote in record numbers this November, stating it’s the “fastest way” to reverse the court’s ruling by giving congressional Democrats the majorities they need to the codify abortion rights into federal law. “This isn’t some imagined horror,” Biden said. “It is already happening. Just last week, it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim — 10 years old — and she was forced to have to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life.” “Imagine being that little girl,” he continued. “I’m serious, just imagine being that little girl.”


IMPACT ON BIDEN ORDER IN INDIANA: Jody Madeira, an Indiana University law professor in Bloomington, said this is as much as President Biden can do in an executive order (WISH-TV). Madeira said the states should not be able to restrict medication abortion because that’s under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Governor Holcomb and the General Assembly will start to discuss abortion on July 25. “I think what we’re going to see is mobile clinics perhaps on the Illinois side of the border to facilitate Indiana women’s access to abortion. I think that we’re going to see this group of private pro bono lawyers who might help people in Indiana cross state line to Illinois or other states to get abortion procedures,” said Madeira. “And I think we’re going to see gaurantee’s from the federal government that we have access to medication abortion, emergency contraception, and IUD’s.”


HPI WEEKLY COMING MONDAY: The next weekly edition of Howey Politics Indiana will be published Monday morning, featuring our exclusive HPI Interview with Jim Bopp Jr., a column by Craig Dunn and the latest on the Evansville mayoral race. Look for it around 7:30 Monday morning.


UKRAINE LASHES BACK AT SPARTZ CRITICISM: Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry released a blistering statement Saturday accusing the first and only Ukraine-born U.S. lawmaker of playing politics over Russia’s war, in a rare public tussle between prominent officials from the two countries (Politico). The extraordinary statement comes after Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) asked President Joe Biden to brief Congress on years-old allegations against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak. Earlier this week, the freshman lawmaker also slammed both Biden and Zelenskyy for their approaches to the ongoing war, infuriating officials in both countries. “We advise Ms. Spartz to stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation around the topic of war in our country and the grief of Ukrainians,” Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, said in a lengthy statement on Facebook. “Especially cynical are manipulations about Ukraine and its leadership from congresswomen of Ukrainian origin.” In a statement later Saturday, Spartz doubled down on her claims against Yermak — including an allegation that he sought to “prevent Ukraine from properly preparing for the war” with Russia — and hit back at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. “I encourage the Ministry to consider my statement with the kind of seriousness these questions about Mr. Yermak demand, instead of launching ad hominem attacks as they have thus far,” Spartz said. “Ukrainians and Americans will be better served by our governments responding with due diligence — not defensive platitudes.”

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INDIANA FACING TEACHER SHORTAGE: Matt Shockley needs two math teachers and has zero applicants. Shockley is principal of Avon High School, located 14 miles west of downtown Indianapolis (Indiana Public Media). Avon students return to school at the end of this month. If Shockley can’t fill those positions, class sizes could increase, or students might be left with a long-term substitute who may not be qualified to teach the subject. “This is the most challenging hiring climate I have had in my 18 years of being a principal,” Shockley said. “It has been very difficult.” There are more than 2,300 teaching positions posted on the Indiana Department of Education’s new online job board, as of July 7. Additionally, there are nearly 900 open student support positions, like school counselors, classroom aides and cafeteria employees. Summer is typically a busy hiring season for schools. And it’s unclear if these vacancies represent a worsening teacher shortage, because the IDOE does not maintain comparable data for prior years, according to Holly Lawson, a spokesperson for the agency. Lawson wrote in an email that IDOE switched from its old job bank to a new platform in March of this year. Lawson wrote that nearly every school corporation in the state – and many charter and nonpublic schools – are using the new job board to post positions in real time, which wasn’t possible with their previous system.


INDIANA HOUSING INVENTORY INCREASES: The number of houses available for sale in the state has increased by about 30 percent over the past year (Ryan, Indiana Public Media). Chris Watts, the Vice President of Public Affairs at the Indiana Association of Realtors, said housing inventory had declined yearly since 2014. But, he said, over the past year the Indiana Association of Realtors has seen an uptick in homes available across the state. “We’ve seen certainly a double digit increase,” Watts said. “Really every region of the state is on an upswing with the exception of east central Indiana.” The median price of a home in Indiana rose to just under $250,000 into June, which is about a 15 percent increase compared to this time last year, Watts said. “We’ve seen that sort of double-digit percentage or rate of increase since 2020, so through the pandemic,” Watts said. “But I should note that prices were rising well before COVID.”


BUTTIGIEGS MOVE TO TRAVERSE CITY: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who bought a house in the Traverse City area two years ago, is planning to vote in the midterm elections in the state this year, a spokesperson confirmed for the Free Press on Friday (Detroit Free Press). It had been previously reported that Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, had purchased a home in northern Michigan with his husband, Chasten, who grew up in Traverse City. This week, the website Politico reported that a spokesperson for the U.S. Transportation Department said the secretary also had legally changed his residency to Michigan and planned to register to vote in the state. A spokesperson confirmed that for the Free Press on Friday. The Buttigiegs adopted newborn twins last year and having a residence in Michigan allows them to be closer to Chasten Buttigieg’s family. “Moving to Chasten’s hometown of Traverse City allowed them to be closer to his parents, which became especially important to them after they adopted their twins, often relying on Chasten’s parents for help with child care,” the spokesperson said. The Department of Transportation also issued a release Friday noting that Buttigieg will be in Grand Rapids on Monday to “highlight new investments” made at the airport there by the Biden administration.


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: If Sec. Buttigieg’s future doesn’t include an address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., his relocation from Indiana to Michigan will give him more political options, though he has long expressed disdain for serving in Congress. His political viability in Indiana was stunted. And many former Indiana mayors eventually move away from the cities they served. – Brian A. Howey




TRUMP DECLARES HE ‘WON’ WISCONSIN: Donald Trump is now calling on the Republican speaker of the Assembly in the Wisconsin state legislature to snatch back the state’s 2020 electoral votes to declare him the winner of the presidential race he lost in the wake of a court ruling on ballot drop boxes (Yahoo News). He pushed the astonishing plan a day after he baselessly declared himself the winner in the state when the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday restricted the number of absentee ballot boxes in future elections. He again insisted in his message Saturday that he is the “actual winner (by a lot!)” in the battleground state. Trump claimed “Brave American Patriots already have a Resolution on the [Wisconsin Assembly] Floor” to throw out Joe Biden’s victory. There is no evidence that the vote in Wisconsin, or anywhere else in the nation, was fraudulent. Dozens of court cases and several recounts state by state verified Biden’s victory.

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TRUMP CALLS MUSK ‘BS ARTIST’: Former President Trump during an event in Alaska late Saturday called Tesla CEO Elon Musk a “bulls— artist” for supporting the former president’s opponents in 2016 and 2020 (The Hill). “He said the other day, ‘oh, I’ve never voted for a Republican,’” Trump said at a rally. “I said, ‘I didn’t know that,’” Trump continued. “He told me he voted for me, so he’s another bulls— artist.”




REVENUE: MORE AUTOMATIC REFUNDS COMPLETED –  The state is making progress with Automatic Taxpayer Refund payments as uncertainty remains over the timeline for a proposed second round of direct relief to Hoosiers (WANE-TV). According to the Indiana Department of Revenue, over 1.5 million Automatic Taxpayer Refund payments have been issued to 2 million taxpayers as of July 6. The department is now on its third round of payments, which were issued via direct deposit on July 1 and should start showing up in bank accounts. The initial round of payments sent in May was the largest, according to the Department of Revenue.


HEALTH: MONKEY POX NOT A BIG CONCERN – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed five cases of monkeypox in Indiana since the state reported its first on June 18. But experts say the average Hoosier probably shouldn’t be too worried (Indiana Public Media). The U.S. accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s total monkeypox cases. Brian Dixon is the interim director of the Regenstrief Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics. “What we’re seeing is that this virus is spreading in predominantly urban areas, in predominantly in large gatherings where people are coming into contact with one another and that leading into, especially sexual contact,” Dixon said.


PURDUE NW: PETRAEUS TO SPEAK AT SINAI FORUM – Eat, pray, love and listen. Purdue University Northwest’s Sinai Forum will be headlined by writer Elizabeth Gilbert, “Mythbusters” co-host Adam Savage and Gen. David H. Petraeus this year (Pete, NWI Times). Tickets for the 69th season go on sale  Tuesday. For nearly seven decades, the Sinai Forum has brought prominent speakers to Northwest Indiana and given people the chance to ask them questions during town-hall forums. “Sharing perspectives on the most prominent issues we face is what Sinai Forum does best,” said Leslie Plesac, executive director of the Sinai Forum. “More than ever, it’s important that we come together to listen and learn from great leaders, creators and from one another.” Savage will give a talk entitled “Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life is What You Make It” at 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa at 777 Blue Chip Drive in Michigan City.




CIPOLLONE TESTIFIES FOR 8 HOURS FOR JAN. 6 PANEL: Pat A. Cipollone, who served as White House counsel for President Donald J. Trump, was asked detailed questions on Friday about pardons, false election fraud claims and the former president’s pressure campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, according to three people familiar with his testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol (New York Times). The panel did not press him to either corroborate or contradict some specific details of explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who captivated the country late last month with her account of an out-of-control president willing to embrace violence and stop at nothing to stay in power, the people said.




WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN OP-ED ON SAUDI TRIP – President Joe Biden wrote this op-ed for the Washington Post: “Next week, I’ll travel to the Middle East to start a new and more promising chapter of America’s engagement there. This trip comes at a vital time for the region, and it will advance important American interests. A more secure and integrated Middle East benefits Americans in many ways. Its waterways are essential to global trade and the supply chains we rely on. Its energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine. And a region that’s coming together through diplomacy and cooperation — rather than coming apart through conflict — is less likely to give rise to violent extremism that threatens our homeland or new wars that could place new burdens on U.S. military forces and their families. Avoiding that scenario is of paramount importance to me. I’ll pursue diplomacy intensely — including through face-to-face meetings — to achieve our goals.


WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN’S POST-ROE STRUGGLES – Three days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, President Biden used a break between Group of Seven summit meetings at the luxury Schloss Elmau resort in Germany to get an update on the stunning and sudden loss of abortion rights for millions of Americans back home (Washington Post). Huddling with top aides, including some who dialed in from the White House, Biden declared at the outset of the call that he wanted to endorse ending the Senate filibuster to codify Roe into law, a position he so far had refused to take, angering many Democrats in the process. But Biden kept his decision private until three days later when, during a news conference in Madrid, he deployed the carefully crafted language he and his team had perfected just moments before, denouncing the “outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court” and calling for “an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”


STATE: BLINKEN TO PAY CONDOLENCES TO ABE MONDAY –  Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay a brief condolence visit to Japan next week following the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the State Department said Sunday (Politico). Blinken will travel to Tokyo on Monday to pay his respects to the former leader and meet with senior Japanese officials before returning to Washington from an Asian tour that he is now wrapping up.


MEDIA: MUSK TERMINATES TWITTER DEAL – Elon Musk officially terminated a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on Friday, a move that would appear to dash the hopes of former President Donald Trump and his supporters that the social media platform would loosen content restrictions that have frustrated conservatives (Politico). The move spurred fresh attacks on Twitter’s existing management, including from Donald Trump Jr., who said it showed that censorship is going to be alive and well. “I can almost guarantee that whatever censorship they were doing will be back tenfold at this point. Zero chance of free thought or speech there at this point,” Trump Jr. posted on Truth Social, the social media site backed by his father.

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CALIFORNIA: TRAVEL TO INDIANA RESTRICTED DUE TO TRANSGENDER LAWS – California Attorney General Rob Bonta has restricted state-funded travel to Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana and Utah as a result of what he called “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation recently enacted in each state” (IBJ). The new additions are the 17th through 20th states to be added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list. All four states were added over new state laws affecting transgender participation in school sports. The restrictions are prescribed by law in California pursuant to Assembly Bill 1887, which was enacted in 2016. The law restricts state agencies, departments, boards or commissions from authorizing state-funded travel to a state that— after June 26, 2015—enacted a law authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


MLB: REDS DOWN TAMPA BAY 5-4 –  Kyle Farmer scored the tying run on a wild pitch and Nick Senzel hit a game-ending single as the Cincinnati Reds rallied in the 10th inning for another walk-off win, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Saturday (ESPN). A day after scoring the winning run on a 10th-inning balk, the Reds posted their fourth walk-off victory in their last eight games. They had none in their first 77 games.


MLB: SHEETS HR LEAD SOX OVER DETROIT 8-0 – Three straight balls put Gavin Sheets in a hitter’s count in the bottom of the first inning. He received the green light to swing and hammered Detroit Tigers rookie right-hander Garrett Hill’s fourth pitch of the at-bat for a three-run home run (Detroit Free Press). “The 3-0 count to Sheets was the first critical mistake,” manager A.J. Hinch said, “where you fall behind a guy who can free up and hit the ball out of the ballpark. And he did.” Those runs were more than enough for the Chicago White Sox. Still, the reigning American League Central champions tacked on three more runs in the second inning before adding two runs in the sixth.


MLB: DODGERS DOWN CUBS 4-2 – Clayton Kershaw isn’t even comfortable saying he deserves to play in the All-Star Game on his home field. He certainly won’t campaign for a roster spot, or even the All-Star starting assignment that has somehow eluded him throughout his incredible career (ESPN). The rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers are more than willing to say it for him, particularly after another night in which Kershaw demonstrated he’s still among the best in this business. “Hopefully he gets in there, because he deserves it,” Freddie Freeman said. “He’s been a great pitcher for 15 years, and he deserves the chance to pitch in his home stadium.” Kershaw polished his All-Star credentials with 7 2/3 innings of five-hit ball, and Freeman delivered the tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ sixth straight victory, 4-2 over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.


Sunday Talk


KINZINGER SAYS CIPOLLONE DIDN’T CONTRADICT HUTCHINSON: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot, said Sunday that Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone — who sat for a transcribed interview with the panel last week — didn’t contradict previous testimony by other witnesses and will be featured in the investigation’s final report. “You’ll see over the next couple of hearings a little of what he said. Certainly you’ll see a lot of that in the report,” Kinzinger, R-Ill., told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “But at no point was there any contradiction of what anybody said.”


REP. MURPHY DESCRIBES CIPOLLONE TESTIMONY: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said that former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone provided “relevant information about what was happening in the White House” while meeting with the panel on Friday. Cipollone claimed executive privilege in some areas of the conversation on Friday that “related to the advice he provided directly to the president or conversations with the president,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press” during an interview aired Sunday, adding, “I think we still got a lot of relevant information from him.”




INDIANAPOLIS: BARDON ELECTED WAYNE TWP TRUSTEE –  Local business owner Jeb Bardon, a Democrat, was unanimously elected as the new Wayne Township Trustee Saturday (WRTV). “Restoring trust and accountability to this office is an enormous responsibility and I am honored to be given the opportunity to do that as Wayne Township Trustee,” said Bardon in a news release. “My top priorities will be to improve transparency, financial oversight, and overall services to the public as well as to recover any taxpayer dollars that have been misused. Today marks a fresh start for Wayne Township and I am excited to get to work.”


TIPPECANOE COUNTY: TEISING FILES APPEALS – Six months after Jennifer Teising was convicted of theft and ousted from office, an attorney for the former Wabash Township trustee filed a brief that outlined the rationale of her appeal, arguing that the conviction and her sentence of jail time and restitution should be overturned. Short of that, the court document contends, the appeals court should grant Teising a new trial with a special prosecutor this time (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). Karen Celestino-Horseman, Teising’s attorney, declined to comment beyond the 61-page document filed late Friday with the Indiana Court of Appeals. Teising filed for an appeal in March, delaying her jail sentence in the process. The appeal did not allow her to keep her position, which now is in the hands of Trustee Angel Valentin.