Countdown to Election Day: 54 days

Important Indiana Election Dates:

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:

  • Lawmakers Consider Using Government Center for House Sessions

  • Senate Republicans Release COVID-19 Package, Vote Expected This Week

  • Small Businesses Are Losing Confidence in Survival

  • AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Study Put on Hold

  • Former Virus Epicenter Finds Half of Survivors Still not Fully Recovered

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.

 
 

Lawmakers Consider Using Government Center for House Sessions


State lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to potentially hold parts of the legislative session outside the Indiana Statehouse because of health concerns during the pandemic.

The Legislative Continuity Committee on Wednesday voted to recommend that staff begin to equip several rooms in Indiana Government Center South for the Indiana House to meet there for the 2021 session, which starts in January.

According to plans shared with the committee on Wednesday, the 50 members of the Indiana Senate will be able to spread out in its existing chamber by utilizing the gallery, which is usually reserved for the public, and a seating area typically reserved for media.

But lawmakers are considering moving the 100 House members to three conference rooms that can be combined into one in the Government Center South building, 302 W. Washington St., which is adjacent to the Statehouse.

This setup would allow all of the representatives to have desks. If they spread out in the existing House chamber, only 58 members would be able to sit at the desks. The remaining lawmakers would be seated in other areas normally used by the public and the media.

The government building also includes several other conference rooms and an auditorium that could be used for socially-distanced legislative committee meetings.

House staff also presented to the Legislative Continuity Committee the possibility of using the Indiana Convention Center for the session, but the General Assembly would have to pay rent to use that space, while the government center rooms would be rent-free.

Adam Brown, director of the Office of Code Revision for the Legislative Services Agency, said it will take 10 to 12 weeks to prepare to use the government center rooms for the session because new technology needs to be purchased and security systems put in place.

Brown said using the government center could still cost about $250,000 to $300,000 because iPad minis would need to be purchased for lawmakers for casting votes, and other audio and visual equipment would need to be installed.

“Those costs are based on if you plan to use those rooms in the same way that you use rooms in the Statehouse,” Brown said.

The committee voted 4-1 to recommend that staff move forward as if the government center will have to be used for the session.

State Sen. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown, said he voted against it because of budget concerns. A legislative personnel committee is also expected to sign off on the plan. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

 
 

Senate Republicans Release Skinny Text, Vote Expected This Week


Whats new: On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled their most recent COVID-19 targeted relief package. The legislation includes liability protections for businesses and schools, $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits through December 27, an additional round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), funding for schools across the country, and $10 billion to the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed cloture on the motion to concur, which will ripen one hour after the Senate convenes on Thursday. A vote on the bill is expected on Thursday.

Yes, but: Democratic leaders have thrown cold water on the plan, saying it doesn’t go far enough. Negotiations between Congressional Democrats and the White House remain stalled.

Here is a bill overview and the full text.

 
 

Small Businesses Are Losing Confidence in Survival


Small businesses have largely exhausted their federal funding and are starting to lay off workers, with many worrying about having to shut their doors for good, according to a new survey from Goldman Sachs provided exclusively to Axios.

What's happening: Business still has not returned to normal six months after the coronavirus pandemic first appeared in the U.S. but small firms say the money they received from the Paycheck Protection Program has run dry.

  • 88% of small business owners say they have used all of their PPP loan funding and 32% of loan recipients have already been forced to lay off employees or cut wages.

  • About 95% of the companies surveyed by Goldman said they had been approved for PPP funding.

The good news: The pandemic has not been as bad as many businesses feared and most are now up and running.

  • Nearly three-quarters of the businesses surveyed say they are fully open, up from just 39% in April and 53% in May. 

  • And just 2% of businesses say they are temporarily closed, compared to 19% in April.

  • 25% of businesses say that the pandemic has greatly hurt their finances, down from 33% in April.

  • 21% say the pandemic has not hurt their personal finances, up from 14% in April.

The bad news: About a third of small businesses GS surveyed said they had already laid-off workers and 36% say if no new funding comes from Congress soon, they will lay off workers or cut back hours.

  • Without additional government funds, 30% say they will exhaust all of their cash reserves by year-end.

  • 16% say less than a quarter of their pre-COVID revenue has returned thus far.

  • The 65% of owners who believe their business will survive is the lowest in the survey thus far, down from 73% in July and 68% in April.

What we're hearing: Small business owners "have made their position clear — they need more legislative support and there is no time to waste,” a Goldman spokesperson tells Axios.

The intrigue: The owners blame both sides of the aisle in Washington for the inaction on new relief measures.

  • When asked who is responsible, 53% blame both parties, while 18% blame congressional Democrats and 16% blame congressional Republicans. 

  • Just 8% blame President Trump.

Between the lines: Data show Black-owned businesses face an even steeper climb.

  • 43% say their business’ cash reserves will be depleted by year-end if Congress does not act in September, compared to 30% of all respondents.

  • 31% say less than a quarter of their pre-pandemic revenue has returned.

 
 

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Study Put on Hold


The large Phase III study testing the investigational vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom. The participant, who was enrolled in Phase II/III trial in the U.K., is expected to recover, though the nature of the adverse reaction and when it happened remains unknown. Reactions that qualify as suspected serious adverse reactions include symptoms that require hospitalization, life-threatening illness, and death. In a statement, the company described the hold as a “routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”

Holds in clinical trials are not uncommon, and it remains unclear as to how long the hold will last. AstraZeneca’s Phase III trial has been underway since August and is currently taking place at 62 sites across the U.S.

 
 

Former Virus Epicenter Finds Half of Survivors Still not Fully Recovered


The first wave is over, thousands have been buried, and in an Italian city that was once the world’s coronavirus epicenter, the hospital is calling back the survivors. It is drawing their blood, examining their hearts, scanning their lungs, asking them about their lives.

Twenty people per day, it is measuring what the coronavirus has left in its wake.

“How are you feeling?” a doctor recently asked the next patient to walk in, a 54-year-old who still can’t ascend a flight of steps without losing her breath.

“I feel like I’m 80 years old,” the woman said.

Six months ago, Bergamo, was a startling warning sign of the virus’s fury, a city where sirens rang through the night and military trucks lined up outside the public hospital to ferry away the dead. Bergamo has dramatically curtailed the virus’s spread, but it is now offering another kind of warning, this one about the long aftermath, where recoveries are proving incomplete and sometimes excruciating.

Those who survived the peak of the outbreak in March and April are now negative. The virus is officially gone from their systems.

“But we are asking: Are you feeling cured? Almost half the patients say no,” said Serena Venturelli, an infectious-disease specialist at the hospital.

The follow-ups are the basis for medical research: Data on the patients now fills 17 bankers’ boxes, and scientific reports are on the way. Bergamo doctors say the disease clearly has full-body ramifications but leaves wildly differing marks from one patient to the next, and in some cases few marks at all. Among the first 750 patients screened, some 30% still have lung scarring and breathing trouble. The virus has left another 30% with problems linked to inflammation and clotting, such as heart abnormalities and artery blockages. A few are at risk of organ failure.

Beyond that, according to interviews with eight Pope John XXIII Hospital doctors involved in the work, many patients months later are dealing with a galaxy of daily conditions and have no clear answer on when it will all subside: leg pain, tingling in the extremities, hair loss, depression, severe fatigue.

Some patients had preexisting conditions, but doctors say survivors are not simply experiencing a version of old problems. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

 
 

Important Dates


Thursday, September 10 - 1:00 pm - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Room 233

Tuesday, September 15 - 11:00 am - Corrections and Criminal Code Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 16 - 10:00 am - Agriculture and Natural Resources Interim Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Wednesday, September 16 - 10:00 am - Public Safety and Military Affairs Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, September 17 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force - Senate Chamber

Thursday, September 17 - 10:00 am - Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Tuesday, September 22 - 11:00 am - Corrections and Criminal Code Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 23 - 10:00 am                                                                 Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Thursday, September 24 - 10:00 am - Public Safety and Military Affairs Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Thursday, September 24 - 10:00 am - Roads and Transportation Interim Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Monday, September 28 - 10:00 am - Code Revision Commission - House Chamber

Tuesday, September 29 - 10:00 am - Financial Institutions and Insurance Interim Study Committee - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 30 - 10:00 am - Probate Code Study Commission - House Chamber

Wednesday, September 30 - 1:00 pm - Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary - House Chamber

Thursday, October 1 - 10:00 am - 21st Century Energy Policy Development Policy Task Force - House Chamber

Tuesday, October 6 - 11:00 am - Corrections and Criminal Code 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

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

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

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

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: 720

Total cumulative cases reported Wednesday: 101,485

Total cumulative cases reported Tuesday: 100,780

Increase in cumulative cases: 705

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: 17

Total deaths: 3,173

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: 7,320

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Wednesday: 1,158,018

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Tuesday: 1,150,863

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 7,155

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.8%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 7.7%

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 6.6%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 5.8%

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

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 19,387 (increase of 80)

Marion County new deaths: 2

Marion County cumulative deaths: 752

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

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 4,259

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,480

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,105

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,432

Boone County cumulative cases: 895

Hancock County cumulative cases: 850

Morgan County cumulative cases: 631

Shelby County cumulative cases: 639

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 43.3%

ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients: 9.8%

Available ventilators: 81.9%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 2.4%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers

As of Wednesday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 6,334,158

U.S. deaths: 187,972

Global cases: 27,628,190

Global deaths: 898,757