@kwellscomm @1067WTLC TLCNaptown.com News & Sports —
Good Day to you as Winter weather is expected to return on this “Hump Day.” Know that the Indianapolis and the greater Central Indiana area are under a Winter Weather Advisory until 7 p.m. Eastern due to the snow that is expected to blanket the area today. More on the weather on this day that we learn a queen wants to call-it-quits, and more below.
Former Indiana Governor and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence played a historic role in making billionaire Betsy DeVos the nation’s new education secretary. She narrowly survived a contentious battle in the Senate, but with Pence’s help–he broke a 50-50 tie by casting the deciding confirmation vote, she moved on to the post. This was history because Pence’s vote was the first time a vice president has been needed to break a tie for a president’s Cabinet pick. Two Republican senators also voted against the Michigan billionaire, who is a longtime advocate for charter schools and voucher programs. Pence also later swore-in DeVos at the White House.
Funding road improvement is on tap at the Indiana Statehouse today…specifically the GOP’s funding plan known as House Bill 1002. HB1002 would hike Indiana’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and put in place a vehicle registration fee that motorists would have to pay. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to take a vote on it, possibly advancing this proposed legislation, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The House Democrats introduced their plan on Monday to counter the Republicans. However it’s not on the schedule yet.
Indiana lawmakers are close to asking you to gamble to scratch the itch of need for Hoosier veterans. Two plans at the statehouse got hearings on Tuesday to launch scratch-off lotto tickets to pay for veterans’ services. One of them would pay for PTSD programs, the other would pay to help homeless vets. Some questions remain though on whether the state’s contract with a private lotto manager will allow for the new tickets.
Hot off a recent meeting with President Donald Trump, we learned that one of the state’s largest employers Eli Lilly is eliminating 200 jobs globally in research and development. The pharmaceutical giant says employees who were offered a “voluntary exit program” have until later this month to decide. It’s too early to tell how many jobs right here in Indy, where the company’s corporate headquarters sit, will be affected. Eli Lilly says the reductions are being made so it can refocus efforts on certain key research areas, including Alzheimer’s disease and immunology.
Crews are cleaning the heaters at the McNutt dorm on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. A school spokesman on Tuesday confirmed three students were sickened by mold in the dorm’s heaters. All three students are now staying in new dorm rooms. IU isn’t saying how long it will take to clean the mold.
If your dog needs its shots, you might be able to get them conveniently and for free. The Eiteljorg Museum of Native American Art and History has joined forces with the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and is offering free vaccines for dogs in ten zip codes listed below:
The vaccines start March 1 and run every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at the IndyHumane Animal Welfare Center until funding runs out.
The Senate is expected to confirm Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as the nation’s attorney general today. Democrats pulled another all-nighter in an attempt to delay the confirmation. In a power-move, Republicans have prohibited Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking on the floor until after this vote. They did this after they said she impugned Sessions, in violation of a century-old archaic rule. Warren had been reading from a letter written by Coretta Scott King 30 years ago, objecting to Sessions’ nomination by President Ronald Reagan to a federal district court seat. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected. Read King’s letter in its entirety HERE.
President Donald Trump is defending his controversial immigration travel ban. Speaking to a law enforcement conference in DC Wednesday morning, Trump said the point of his executive order is to enhance the security of the U.S. A federal appeals court judge in Washington state suspended the executive order. An appeals court in San Francisco is also currently weighing whether to continue the suspension. A three-judge panel from the court heard oral arguments in the case Tuesday.
Destructive tornadoes that tore through Louisiana on Tuesday have left at least 37 people injured in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The governor has declared a state of emergency, as crews continue to respond to calls for help today, and thousands more people are left without power. Hundreds of buildings were damaged and several homes were destroyed. Federal officials will tour the affected areas today to determine federal aid for victims.
Authorities at the University of Michigan are investigating threatening emails sent to engineering students Tuesday night. Racist and anti-Semitic messages were sent out telling black and Jewish students they will be killed. The school has responded and is investigating. U of M President Dr. Mark Schlissel condemned the messages in a statement and said the university is trying to find out who hacked into the email system.
Facebook is giving its employees bereavement benefits and paid family sick leave. COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Tuesday that Facebook employees will have up to 20 days paid leave to grieve an immediate family member and up to ten days to grieve an extended family member. Facebook employees are also getting paid family sick time, including three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness and up to six weeks to care for a sick relative. Now observers await how corporate America will react, either following the social media behemoth’s lead or ignoring this advancement sticking to business and employee relations as usual. Sandberg has dealt with grief personally when she lost her husband two years ago.
A coffee giant isn’t ignoring the president’s controversial immigration ban, instead, they’re reacting. Starbucks is offering free legal advice on immigration and its issues to their employees. Consultation will be provided through the company’s Immigration Advisory Program, which was prompted by President Trump’s ban. The coffee house chain has sent a letter to employees saying it is teaming up with the immigration arm of Ernst & Young to help answer questions from workers and their relatives about how the president’s executive order on immigration might affect them. Separately, CEO Howard Schultz has pledged to hire ten thousand refugees over the next five years.
So you know…
That archaic rule that GOP senators blew the dust off of, and had ‘at the ready,’ to use against Senator Warren, where did that come from? The rule that allowed them to silence her, dates back to a fistfight more than 100 years ago. In 1902, one of South Carolina’s senators used a speech to insult the other senator from his state, resulting in a fistfight. That led to the creation of Rule 19, which prohibits impugning, or calling into question the character or motives of another senator. Next question: Will they find one to use against democratic senators who impugn a republican president?
Can a Queen retire? Apparently so. A new album is on the way from Aretha Franklin, and the Queen of Soul says it will be her last. Franklin said, after its release and a brief tour, she’s retiring. She didn’t take special events off the table though. (A Queen does need the excuse to get ‘gussied’ up, every now and then.) Franklin’s upcoming six-month tour will feature just one date per month starting in September. She said the new album of all original songs will be recorded in Detroit and will be produced in part by Motown-legend, Stevie Wonder.
The Pacers hit the hardwoods at home Wednesday hosting the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Tonight’s game is about flexing the Pacers flexing their home court dominance where they’re 20-and-6 at home this season, including a victory over the Cavs back in November. Tip is at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Be on alert…winter weather returns today. You’re good during morning hours with cloudy skies expected. However, snow is likely to blanket the area for a rough commute home this afternoon. A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until 7 p.m. Eastern. Steady temps near 35 degrees.