Countdown to Election Day: 59 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:

  • Trump Administration Announces $2 Billion Provider Relief Fund Nursing Home Incentive Payment Plans

  • Chamber of Commerce Notes K-Shaped Recovery, Calls for Stimulus

  • Senator Schumer Blasts ‘Emaciated’ Relief Package Offered by Senate Republicans

  • New State Rating: Most of Indiana Seeing Only Minimal to Moderate Spread

  • Economy Adds 1.4 Million Jobs in August, Unemployment Falls to 8.4 Percent

  • Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Indiana Secretary of State Partner on Beat the Buzzer Voting Initiative

  • Indianapolis Colts Announce 2,500 Fan Capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium for Home Opener

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.

 
 

Trump Administration Announces $2 Billion Provider Relief Fund Nursing Home Incentive Payment Plans


Today, under the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing the details of a $2 billion Provider Relief Fund (PRF) performance-based incentive payment distribution to nursing homes. This distribution is the latest update in the previously announced $5 billion in planned support to nursing homes grappling with the impact of COVID-19. Last week, HHS announced it had delivered an additional $2.5 billion in payments to nursing homes to help with upfront COVID-19-related expenses for testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs. Other resources are also being dedicated to support training, mentorship and safety improvements in nursing homes.

In order to qualify for payments under the incentive program, a facility must have an active state certification as a nursing home or skilled nursing facility (SNF) and receive reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). HHS will administer quality checks on nursing home certification status through the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) to identify and remove facilities that have a terminated, expired, or revoked certification or enrollment. Facilities must also report to at least one of three data sources that will be used to establish eligibility and collect necessary provider data to inform payment: Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER), Nursing Home Compare (NHC), and Provider of Services (POS).

The incentive payment program is scheduled to be divided into four performance periods (September, October, November, December), lasting a month each with $500 million available to nursing homes in each period. All nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities meeting the previously noted qualifications will be eligible for each of the four performance periods. Nursing homes will be assessed based on a full month's worth of the aforementioned data submissions, which will then undergo additional HHS scrutiny and auditing before payments are issued the following month, after the prior month's performance period. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

 
 

Chamber of Commerce Notes K-Shaped Recovery, Calls for Stimulus


As Congress begins to return from its fall recess calls to pass more fiscal stimulus are growing louder.

Driving the news: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released another call to action, this time from its president, Suzanne Clark, advocating for "more support" for "industries, businesses, and workers disparately harmed by the pandemic."

What she's saying: "As a business community and a nation, we cannot allow millions of workers and broad swaths of our economy to be left behind in the COVID recovery," Clark writes.

  • "Our lawmakers deserve a lot of credit for working quickly and cooperatively, on a bipartisan basis, to provide federal relief to employers and workers in the early days of pandemic."

  • "Their work is not done."

What to watch: Clark highlights the K-shaped recovery happening among U.S. workers and industries, warning that even though tech companies and some segments of the retail industry have seen success in recent months, "For countless companies in the travel, entertainment, leisure, hospitality, and food service industries, there is no end in sight to the economic malaise." (Axios)

 
 

Senator Schumer Blasts ‘Emaciated’ Relief Package Offered by Senate Republicans


Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues on Thursday urging them to push for a more comprehensive coronavirus relief plan than has been proposed by the administration or by Senate Republicans. 

Schumer said the GOP proposals are “inadequate” without more relief funding for housing assistance, food stamps and enhanced unemployment aid. Those provisions, along with money for city and state governments, the 2020 census and “safe elections,” were included in a measure House Democrats adopted in May.  

“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,' but it would be more appropriate to call it 'emaciated,’ ” Schumer wrote.

Most Senate Republicans later this month are expected to throw their weight behind a bill that would fund another $500 billion for various COVID-19 relief initiatives. House Democrats in May passed a $3.4 trillion bill rejected by the White House and Republicans. Last month, administration officials floated a compromise of $1.3 trillion, which was dismissed by Democratic leaders as insufficient. Lawmakers return to Washington next week to resume the back-and-forth (The Washington Post).

 
 

New State Rating: Most of Indiana Seeing Only Minimal to Moderate Spread


Only one Indiana county is currently seeing high community spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a new measure from the Indiana State Department of Health. 

Overnight, the state released a color-coded map of Indiana's counties rating the level of spread in each from minimal to high. Only Martin County, in southern Indiana, is considered to have seen high community spread in the last week.

The map will update each Wednesday, based on the number of cases and positivity rate in a county during the previous week, and counties will be assigned a color that corresponds to their spread level: blue, yellow, orange or red. The rating system corresponds to new recommendations for school operations during the pandemic that the state released last week.  (Indy Star)

 
 

Economy Adds 1.4 Million Jobs in August, Unemployment Falls to 8.4 Percent


The U.S. added 1.4 million jobs in August, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The unemployment rate declined to 8.4 percent from 10.2 percent in July, according to the August jobs report, falling below 10 percent for the first time since March. Labor force participation also increased by 0.3 percent in August, an indication of both increasing strength in the job market and rising confidence among job-seekers.

August marks the fourth consecutive month of job gains and declining unemployment since the U.S. economy bottomed out in April. More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs that month, pushing the unemployment rate to a post-Great Depression high of 14.7 percent.

The August jobs report was also in line with the consensus expectations of private-sector economists, who projected gains between 1.2 and 1.4 million jobs last month.

The economy has now recovered roughly 10.7 million of the jobs lost to the pandemic as of August, though the number of unemployed Americans is still 11.5 million above its pre-coronavirus level in February.

August also brought declines in the number of Americans unemployed for less than five weeks and those unemployed for anywhere between five and 14 weeks, while the number of long-term unemployed Americans was little changed.

The solid August jobs report comes amid deep partisan stalemate over another round of coronavirus relief and fiscal stimulus. Economists across the ideological spectrum have called for boosting unemployment benefits, housing protections, and further aid to cash-strapped state and local governments. (The Hill)

 
 

Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Indiana Secretary of State Partner on Beat the Buzzer Voting Initiative


Pacers Sports & Entertainment and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson today announced the launch of a two-month statewide campaign aimed at raising awareness and increasing Hoosier turnout for November’s General election. The Beat the Buzzer initiative tips off on Monday, September 7, and will focus on informing Hoosiers about key dates and deadlines leading up to the election and encouraging them to exercise their important civic duty.

“Increasing turnout and participation in our electoral process has been a top priority for me,” said Secretary Lawson. “We are always looking for ways to reach a broader audience and raise awareness about the importance of voter participation. I am thankful to the entire PS&E team for their commitment to helping us meet this goal and I look forward to seeing the success of our partnership.”

Indiana’s Secretary of State is the state’s Chief Elections Officer, responsible for ensuring the integrity and security of Indiana elections. Through Beat the Buzzer, Pacers and Fever broadcasters will produce public service announcements for dissemination through media outlets and local community organizations across the state. Importantly, the partners will also produce spots in Spanish and Burmese to reach Indiana’s fastest-growing, though often younger, communities, as well.

PS&E continues to focus on voter engagement as a key pillar of its social justice efforts, with details available here. Last week, the Marion County Election Board announced that Bankers Life Fieldhouse will serve as an election day vote center, and PS&E has also partnered with Rally the Vote to promote registration and turnout in 2020.

For more information on how to register to vote, voting deadlines, and additional resources for voters, please visit www.indianavoters.com. The deadline to register to vote is October 5, 2020. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

 
 

Indianapolis Colts Announce 2,500 Fan Capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium for Home Opener


Limited capacity seating – very limited – will welcome the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium when they open the home portion of their season against the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 20.

The team announced Friday it will allow a maximum of 2,500 fans at the stadium following discussions with Marion County Public Health Department officials and in keeping within local CDC guidelines from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A process for determining distribution of the available tickets will be announced next week.

In July, the Colts announced they anticipated no more than approximately 25% capacity for home games in 2020. Since then, the Indianapolis 500 ran with no fans in the stands and Indiana has yet to see major improvements on mitigating the spread of the virus. 

Earlier this week, reports suggested the colts would be able to handle 15% capacity safely and the team believed it was important to have some fans to support the downtown community. 

The 2,500 limit is less than 5% of the capacity for a usual NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts open their season at Jacksonville September 13. The Jaguars plan to allow 25% capacity at home games in accordance with state and local authorities.

At least two dozen NFL teams won’t have any fans in their stadiums, at least for the start of the season. (Fox 59)

 
 

Important Dates


Wednesday, September 9 - 9:00 am - Legislative Continuity Committee - Room 233

Wednesday, September 9 - 2:00 pm - Legislative Council, Audit and Financial Reporting Subcommittee - House Chamber

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 - 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

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

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

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

 
 

By The Numbers …


COVID-19 Cases

*New cases: 1,044

Total cumulative cases reported Friday: 97,884

Total cumulative cases reported Thursday: 96,854

Increase in cumulative cases: 1,030

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: 3,127

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: 14,503**

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Friday: 1,117,427

Total cumulative tested individuals reported Thursday: 1,103,038

Increase in cumulative tested individuals: 14,389

Cumulative positivity rate unique individuals: 8.8%

Seven-day positivity rate unique individuals: 7%

Cumulative positivity rate all tests: 6.7%

Seven-day positivity rate all tests: 5.2%

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

**This number includes an additional 1,175 historical tested individuals from a newly onboarded testing facility.

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 18,956 (increase of 119)

Marion County new deaths: 1

Marion County cumulative deaths: 750

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

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 4,101

Hendricks County cumulative cases: 2,413

Johnson County cumulative cases: 2,065

Madison County cumulative cases: 1,374

Boone County cumulative cases: 873

Hancock County cumulative cases: 836

Morgan County cumulative cases: 609

Shelby County cumulative cases: 630

Indiana Intensive Care Unit Usage

Available ICU beds: 39.6%

ICU beds in use by COVID-19 patients: 11.2%

Available ventilators: 82.3%

Ventilators in use for COVID-19: 2.7%

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers

As of Friday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 6,166,939

U.S. deaths: 186,984

Global cases: 26,383,872

Global deaths: 870,126