Countdown to Election Day: 52 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)

Thank you for taking the time to read our daily memo. Today we remember the horrific attack that took place 19 years ago today. Make sure to hug your loved ones a little tighter today.

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

  • House Minority Election Year Agenda

  • Fauci Disagrees with Trump that U.S. Rounding ‘Final Turn’ on Pandemic

  • Court Blocks Trump Order to Exclude Undocumented Migrants From Census

  • Absentee Ballot Applications Flooding in

  • Court Denies Appeal by Groups Challenging Limits to Indiana Religious Freedom Law

  • Weekly $300 Jobless Payments Already on Verge of Running Out

  • Friendly Reminder: Fill Out the Census

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.

 
 

House Minority Election Year Agenda


Per Politico, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will text GOP lawmakers a memo this morning, announcing that Republicans will unveil their election-year agenda in a closed party meeting Monday, followed by a public event Tuesday. “This timeframe puts us ahead of the September 23 release of the Pledge to America and the September 27 release of the Contract with America,” he wrote. The memo

Excerpt: “Specifically, we will detail a plan with concrete objectives and metrics to: 

-- Restore Our Way of Life by defeating the virus and keeping America healthy; ensuring the safety and security of all communities, and preserving our freedoms under the Constitution 

-- Rebuild the Greatest Economy in History by getting America working and adding 10 million new good-paying jobs; ending our dependence on China and enhancing our economic security, and upgrading America’s critical infrastructure 

-- Renew the American Dream by making sure that every child in every neighborhood can attend an excellent school; honoring our veterans’ service to America and hiring our heroes; and supporting our citizens’ success, now and in the future.”

 
 

Fauci Disagrees with Trump that U.S. Rounding ‘Final Turn’ on Pandemic


Anthony Fauci on Friday said he disagrees with President Trump that the country has rounded "the final turn" on the COVID-19 pandemic, and warned Americans not to get complacent heading into the fall.

Fauci, the federal government's leading infectious disease expert, was responding to comments made by Trump during a press conference on Thursday, where he defended his comments made to Bob Woodward about deliberately downplaying the severity of the pandemic. 

Trump said the U.S. was "rounding the final turn. And we're going to have vaccines very soon, maybe much sooner than you think."

Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he disagrees with Trump's assessment, noting that if Americans aren't careful, the pandemic could worsen.

"I have to disagree with that, because if you look at ... the statistics, they are disturbing. We're plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day. And the deaths are around a thousand," Fauci told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

Fauci said he hopes there is not a post-Labor Day surge of cases like there was following Memorial Day and July 4th, because the country's infection rate is already too high. (The Hill)

 
 

Court Blocks Trump Order to Exclude Undocumented Migrants From Census


A federal court on Thursday blocked a memorandum signed by President Donald Trump seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census for apportionment, saying such action would violate the statute governing congressional apportionment.

A special three-judge panel out of New York wrote that the president’s argument that undocumented immigrants should not be counted runs afoul of a statute saying apportionment must be based on everyone who is a resident of the United States.

The judges found that all residents must be counted for apportionment purposes regardless of their legal status.

The ruling declared the president’s July 21 memorandum to be “an unlawful exercise of the authority granted to the President,” and it blocked the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau from including information about the number of undocumented immigrants in their reports to the president after the count is completed. The ruling is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The ruling came hours after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to produce internal documents connected to its sudden decision to end the 2020 Census count a month earlier than the Census Bureau had planned.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh gave the government three days to file all documents and communications between mid-April, when the bureau said it would extend the count to Oct. 31 due to the pandemic, and Aug. 3, when it abruptly said the count would end Sept. 30.

By law, the state population totals that will be used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives for the next decade must be delivered to the president by Dec. 31 of the census year.

The shortened timeline is at odds with statements from senior bureau officials who had said the bureau could no longer provide a complete and accurate count by the end of the year, and it sparked legal challenges. Koh last week temporarily blocked the bureau from winding down the count after the government said it had already started doing so, until a hearing set for Sept. 17.

Members of Congress have also expressed concern about the change in schedule, saying a rushed count will lead to an inaccurate census, particularly in areas already behind in being counted.

The White House referred inquiries to the Justice Department; officials there did not immediately respond. The Census Bureau said it does not comment on ongoing litigation. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

 
 

Absentee Ballot Applications Flooding In


Indiana voters could start casting ballots as early as next week. And judging by the number of absentee ballots being requested, tens of thousands of people around the Indy area could be voting within days.

In Marion and Hamilton counties, for example, roughly double the number of voters who applied for absentee ballots by mail in 2016 have requested a mail-in ballot this year.

Marion County has received 40,000 mail-in ballot applications so far, compared to about 21,000 in 2016. Hamilton County has received about 23,500 absentee ballot applications as of Thursday morning, compared to 11,500 in 2016. 

Other doughnut counties are also seeing higher numbers than usual. In Morgan County, about 2,800 absentee ballots had been requested. Before the 2020 primary election, the highest amount of mail-in ballots the county ever handled was 1,800. 

Hendricks and Johnson counties have both received about 7,000 requests for mail-in ballots, which is also about double what both communities saw in 2016.

Boone County has received more than 3,500 requests for mail-in ballots; Shelby County has seen more than 1,060 applications; Madison County has gotten more than 6,000 requests so far.

Reminder: State officials did not expand voting by mail to all for the general election, so all of these voters are claiming one of 11 excuses when requesting these ballots.

County election offices throughout the area plan to start sending ballots to voters who have requested them throughout next week.

Voters technically have until Oct. 22 to request absentee ballots, if they’d like to vote by mail. But if you like to play things safe, I’d suggest requesting one as soon as you finish reading this newsletter—and also mailing it back as soon as you’ve filled it out. Ballots must be received by noon on Election Day in order to count. (IBJ Rundown)

 
 

Court Denies Appeal by Groups Challenging Limits to Indiana Religious Freedom Law


An Indiana court rejected an appeal Thursday from conservative religious groups that have unsuccessfully challenged limits on the state’s religious freedom law that were adopted under then-Gov. Mike Pence.

The state appeals court ruling upheld a suburban Indianapolis county judge’s decision last year that the three groups failed to prove they had faced any harm because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, agreeing with arguments by the state and four cities that the organizations lacked standing to sue.

Pence, a Republican who is now vice president, signed the 2015 law prohibiting any government actions that “substantially burden” a person or organization’s ability to follow religious beliefs. But days later, amid a national uproar that the law could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians, the Republican-dominated Legislature made revisions blocking its use as a legal defense for refusing to provide services and preventing the law from overriding local ordinances with LGBT protections.

The appeals court found that the organizations had not faced any interference in their activities from the state law or local civil rights ordinances that include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus, which is Pence’s hometown.

“The (groups) continue to hold their training events in the cities since the passage of the ordinances, and they have not altered their presentations and programs in any fashion,” the ruling said. “In short, the (groups) remain free, without interference, to express their religious views on marriage and human sexuality as they always have.”

Attorney James Bopp, who represents the Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action and the American Family Association of Indiana, argued during an October hearing that they were subject to “grotesque stripping” of their religious rights by the Legislature.

Bopp said Thursday the groups have limited their activities to avoid legal action under the city ordinances and would consider an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“They have declined to have meetings in Indianapolis or Bloomington or Columbus because of the threat of enforcement of those ordinances and, under the First Amendment, that is an injury,” Bopp said. “You don’t get to go to Bloomington and talk with people.”

At least 21 Indiana cities or counties—representing about 38% of the state’s population—now have local LGBT protection ordinances, according to the gay-rights advocacy group Freedom Indiana. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

 
 

Weekly $300 Jobless Payments Already on Verge of Running Out


The nation’s unemployment safety net is looking increasingly shaky, with a $300-a-week federal jobless benefit from the Trump administration on the verge of running out just weeks after it began and millions of laid-off Americans nearing an end to their state unemployment aid.

Most Americans who exhaust their state’s unemployment benefits — typically after six months — will transition to an emergency federal program that provides an additional 13 weeks of aid. Yet they still face a looming deadline: By year’s end, nearly all the federal unemployment supports will expire. Unless Congress extends those programs, millions of jobless Americans could be cut off.

Their struggles come against the backdrop of an ailing job market with 13 million unemployed people and the pace of layoffs still elevated six months after the viral pandemic flattened the economy. Applications for unemployment benefits first spiked in the week of March 21, when they reached 3.3 million, then more than doubled the next week to a record 6.9 million. That means that anyone who began receiving state unemployment benefits then will have to shift to an emergency federal program in the coming weeks.

Separately, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is administering the $300-a-week federal benefit, said Thursday that the agency is providing money to cover six weeks, from the start of August through the end of this week, with no extension in sight.

Nearly all states have applied for the $300-a-week benefit. But only 17 have managed to upgrade their computers systems to actually distribute the payments. As a result, while many states will likely issue checks for several weeks, the money will be retroactive to early August and will cover only through mid-September.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne said Wednesday that he expects the $300 payments from the federal government’s Lost Wages Assistance program to be made to Hoosiers starting Sept. 21.

Trump’s $300-a-week jobless aid program was created by an executive order last month after a more generous version adopted by Congress expired and Trump and Congress failed to reach agreement on a new aid package. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

 
 

Friendly Reminder: Fill Out the Census


You want Indiana to get its fair share of seats in Congress and federal funding that’s distributed based on population, right? I thought so.

Well, the good news is Indiana is ranked in the top 10 for response rates to the 2020 Census, with 95.1% of households responding so far. And Indiana is ranked ahead of all of its neighbors. Idaho is doing the best, with 98.5% of households having completed the form.

The U.S. Census Bureau will stop counting on Sept. 30, so if you haven’t already done it, go do it now. (IBJ Rundown)

 
 

Important Dates


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: 1,282**

Total cumulative cases reported Friday: 103,505

Total cumulative cases reported Thursday: 102,243

Increase in cumulative cases: 1,262

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

**Includes 279 cases dating from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10 from an additional facility that has been newly onboarded into the health department’s electronic reporting system.

COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 10

Total deaths: 3,196

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: 19,081

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Friday: 1,183,104

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Thursday: 1,164,141

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 18,963

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.7%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 7.3%***

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 6.5%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 5.3%***

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

**Includes 9,434 tested individuals and 15,814 tests dating from June 29 to Sept. 10 from an additional facility that has been newly onboarded into the health department’s electronic reporting system.

*** 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: 19,549 (increase of 76)

Marion County new deaths: 2

Marion County cumulative deaths: 754

Marion County 7-day positivity rate unique individuals: 6.8%

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 4,639

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,511

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,130

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,457

Boone County cumulative cases: 912

Hancock County cumulative cases: 858

Morgan County cumulative cases: 635

Shelby County cumulative cases: 642

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 37.4%

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

Available ventilators: 81.3%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 2.3%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers

As of Friday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 6,401,371

U.S. deaths: 191,842

Global cases: 28,219,714

Global deaths: 910,460