Countdown to Election Day: 29 days

Important Indiana Election Dates:

TODAY!!! October 5 - 2020 Voter Registration Ends

October 22 - Deadline to Request Mail-In Ballot

November 3 -  General Election Day

November 14 - Military/Overseas Ballots Must be Received (must be postmarked by November 3)

Local, state, and federal highlights in today’s memo include:

  • CDC Says Airborne Transmission Plays a Role in Coronavirus Spread in a Long-Awaited Update After a Website Error Last Month

  • Trump Says He’s Leaving Walter Reed Monday Evening

  • President Trump Tweets About COVID Relief Bill from Hospital

  • Pelosi Anticipates Reaching Relief Deal, Says Trump Diagnosis ‘Changes the Dynamic’

  • U.S. Plans to Spend More on Coronavirus Relief than on the Entire Afghanistan War

  • Monarch Beverage Co. to be Acquired by Illinois Beer Distributor

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.


CDC Says Airborne Transmission Plays a Role in Coronavirus Spread in a Long-Awaited Update After a Website Error Last Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation.

The long-awaited update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.

The update follows an embarrassing incident last month when the agency removed a draft that had not gone through proper review and was posted in error. The draft’s wording included a reference to aerosols — tiny droplets that can stay in the air, potentially traveling a significant distance. Officials said the draft was removed because they feared the language could be misinterpreted as suggesting that airborne transmission is the main way the virus spreads.

That is not the case. The main drivers of viral spread are larger respiratory droplets that are emitted when someone coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, the CDC said. (Washington Post)


Trump Says He’s Leaving Walter Reed Monday Evening

President Trump announced that he will be discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Monday evening after three days of treatment, insisting that Americans should not be "afraid" of the novel coronavirus.

Trump, whose oxygen levels dropped as recently as Saturday and who is on several medications following his COVID-19 diagnosis, tweeted that he is "feeling really good" and said that Americans should not allow COVID-19 to "dominate your life,” downplaying a virus that has killed over 210,000 people in the country. He said that he feels better than he did 20 years ago following his treatment at the military hospital in Bethesda, Md. 

"I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good!" Trump tweeted. "Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"

Trump tweeted the news shortly before his medical team was expected to brief reporters on his condition and treatment. The message immediately raised questions about the decision-making process. 

White House physician Sean Conley told reporters that Trump’s symptoms have continued to improve and that he has met or exceeded all discharge criteria. But he acknowledged that Trump may not yet be “out of the woods,” underscoring the degree of uncertainty surrounding his condition. (The Hill)


Heard on the Hill: COVID Relief Bill Updates

Per Politico, President Donald Trump has tweeted just five times from Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda -- but one of them was pushing Congress to strike a COVID relief bill. “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” 

This is as far as he’s leaned into this process, and it would appear that now that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is heavily incentivized to get a COVID relief deal. Trump wants to show that he’s working. And Mnuchin -- already eager for a deal -- is now on the hook to deliver.

It’s not that easy. Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are still haggling over state and local funding and enhanced unemployment insurance -- the same issues they’ve been haggling over for months. Pelosi wants a $2 trillion package, and the White House has indicated it’s much more comfortable in the $1 trillion range.

But isn’t it time for Mnuchin to throw Republicans under a speedily moving bus, and dare GOP lawmakers to oppose Trump while he’s in the hospital? If Trump wants a massive, multi-trillion-dollar bill, isn’t this the time to give him one? 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t put a bill on the floor unless it has the majority of his Republican conference, sources say, and Trump would have to push them to give him a victory while he’s laid up in Walter Reed.

Time will be incredibly tight. Even if a deal comes together this week -- exceedingly far from a certainty -- the Senate won’t be back in session until Oct. 19. That’s two weeks from now.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she anticipates striking a bipartisan economic relief deal with the Trump administration, suggesting that President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis could speed up an agreement. She called on airlines to hold off on imminent furloughs pending a deal.

Pelosi outlined some of the unresolved differences in a letter Friday afternoon to House Democrats that pointed to unemployment insurance, money for cities and states, and tax credits for children and families as among the areas where she had yet to reach an agreement with Mnuchin. (Indianapolis Business Journal)


U.S. Plans to Spend More on Coronavirus Relief than on the Entire Afghanistan War

The four spending bills that Congress passed earlier this year to address the coronavirus crisis amounted to one of the costliest relief efforts in U.S. history, and the undertaking soon won praise across the political spectrum for its size and speed.

The $4 trillion total of government grants and loans exceeded the cost of 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

Six months later, however, the nation’s coronavirus battle is far from won, and if the prodigious relief spending was supposed to target the neediest and move the country beyond the pandemic, much of the money missed the mark.

The legislation bestowed billions in benefits on companies and wealthy individuals largely unscathed by the pandemic, according to a Washington Post analysis, while at the same time allowing special aid for unemployed workers to expire over the summer and leaving some local public health efforts struggling for money to conduct testing and other prevention efforts.

The relief packages amounted to a massive economic Band-Aid for what is fundamentally a health crisis, and much of the relief consisted of economic measures similar to those that have worked in previous recessions. But by failing to focus on containing the virus and the particular harms of the pandemic, the relief packages distributed money to those with little need for it while allowing the illness, which is now more widespread than when the bills passed, to outstrip the aid. (Washington Post)


Monarch Beverage Co. to be Acquired by Illinois Beer Distributor

Illinois-based Reyes Beer Division plans to acquire Indianapolis-based Monarch Beverage Co., Reyes announced Monday. The transaction is scheduled to close Dec. 11. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The acquisition will add approximately 600 new employees with the acquisition and distribution operations that deliver 16.1 million cases to more than 6,000 customers, with brands from suppliers including Molson Coors, Constellation, Heineken USA, Diageo, Mike’s, Boston Beer, Yuengling, Lagunitas and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Monarch has been family-owned and locally operated since 1947. It was founded by Edwin T. French Sr. and has operated under three generations of French family ownership, expanding into Indiana’s largest beer distributor. In 2009, the company moved into what it described as a “state-of-the-art” 500,000-square-foot distribution center on Pendleton Pike in Lawrence.

It delivers an average of 50,000 cases of product a day to retail customers throughout the state.

In 2017, it brought Yuengling to Hoosiers, a win for the company. But it failed to convince state lawmakers to allow the beer and wine distributor to also distribute liquor, which led to a major supplier, E. & J. Gallo Winery in California, ending its relationship with Monarch. Monarch ended up closing its wine division in 2018.

For years, the company had challenged Indiana’s so-called prohibited interest law, which prohibits a beer wholesaler from acquiring an interest in a liquor-wholesaling permit and vice versa.

A change to the law would have allowed Monarch to enter the liquor wholesaling business, but it lost that fight in the administrative, legislative and judicial arenas.

Monarch has landed on IBJ’s largest private companies list for years. In 2017, the last year it submitted information to IBJ, it reported total revenue for 2016 at $341 million. At the time, the company had 705 employees, but it laid off 100 employees in 2018 when it closed its wine division. (Indianapolis Business Journal)


Important Dates

Tuesday, October 6 - 11:00 am - Corrections and Criminal Code Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Tuesday, October 6 - 10:00 am - Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Interim Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Wednesday, October 7 - 10:00 am - Financial Institutions and Insurance Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, October 7 - 10:00 am - Probate Study Commission - Senate Chamber

Thursday, October 8 -  10:00 am - Fiscal Policy Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, October 8 - 10:00 am - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Room 233

Tuesday, October 13 - 1:30 pm - Legislative Council Audit and Financial Reporting Subcommittee - Room 233

Wednesday, October 14 - 10:00 am - Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Wednesday, October 14 - 12:00 pm - Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, October 15 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber

Friday, October 16 - 10:30 am - Courts and the Judiciary, Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Monday, October 19 - 10:00 am - Indiana Standards and Assessment Accommodation Taskforce - Senate Chamber

Tuesday, October 20 - 9:00 am - Legislative Continuity Committee - Room 233

Wednesday, October 21 - 10:00 am - Probate Code Study Commission - Senate Chamber

Tuesday, October 27 - 10:00 am - Employment and Labor Interim Study Committee - House Chamber - CANCELLED

Thursday, November 12 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber

Thursday, November 19 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - House Chamber


By The Numbers …

COVID-19 Cases

*New cases: 835

Total cumulative cases reported Monday: 125,976

Total cumulative cases reported Sunday: 125,146

Increase in cumulative cases: 830

Increase in cases reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 26,285

Increase in cases reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 27,769

Increase in cases reported July 1-Aug. 1: 21,170

Increase in cases reported June 1-July 1: 11,122

Increase in cases reported May 1-June. 1: 16,065

COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 7

Total deaths: 3,454

Increase in deaths reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 325

Increase in deaths reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 322

Increase in deaths reported July 1-Aug. 1: 315

Increase in deaths reported June 1-July 1: 480

Increase in deaths reported May 1-June. 1: 914

Increase in deaths reported April 1-May 1: 997

COVID-19 Testing

New tested individuals: 7,253

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Monday: 1,425,175

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Sunday: 1,418,063

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 7,112

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.8%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 8.5%**

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 5.8%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 4.8%**

Increase in unique tested individuals reported Sept. 1-Oct. 1: 303,966

Increase in unique tested individuals reported Aug. 1-Sept. 1: 325,159

Increase in unique tested individuals reported July 1-Aug. 1: 268,890

Increase in unique tested individuals reported June 1-July 1: 223,820

Increase in unique tested individuals reported May 1-June 1: 166,257

Increase in unique tested individuals reported April 1-May 1: 85,264

** The health department reports the 7-day positivity rates with a six-day lag to allow time for more comprehensive results.

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 22,340 (increase of 58)

Marion County new deaths: 0

Marion County cumulative deaths: 769

Marion County 7-day positivity rate unique individuals: 7.3%

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 5,225

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,847

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,487

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,859

Boone County cumulative cases: 1,044

Hancock County cumulative cases: 975

Morgan County cumulative cases: 771

Shelby County cumulative cases: 700

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 36.4%

ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients: 13.8%

Available ventilators: 80.2%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 3.6%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers As of Sunday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 7,420,206

U.S. deaths: 209,811

Global cases: 35,241,027

Global deaths: 1,038,151COVO