The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 31, 2019 1:00 am

Holcomb aces Politico's bracket

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

If Indiana lawmakers legalize sports wagering, Gov. Eric Holcomb is primed to win big.

So far in this year's NCAA men's basketball tourney bracket, he picked every team in the Sweet 16.

That distinction has him leading Politico Playbook's VIP pool – followed closely by Matt Gorman of Targeted Victory, PR Pro and CNN contributor Scott Jennings, and Rep. Joe Kennedy III, all tied with 106 points.

To be fair, though, Holcomb is tied for 17th in a public bracket challenge he offered.

House Republican intern Keeton Bartol is leading. He has Virginia winning it all, and Holcomb has Purdue University.

Suffrage celebration

Hoosier women won the right to vote on Aug. 26, 1920, and a collaborative group of organizations will spend the next year unearthing those stories and encouraging the public to participate in activities and events to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

The Indiana Women's Suffrage Centennial is catalyzed by Indiana Humanities, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau, and will include many grassroots and local partners. The project has received funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. and Hillenbrand Inc.

“The centennial of women's suffrage is an opportunity to honor the Hoosiers who played a role in the suffrage movement,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “Today, women's suffrage seems like an obvious component of democracy, but 100 years ago, it was a controversial idea. Championing it required courage, perseverance and organized activism. At the same time, it's a complicated history because not all women effectively gained the right to vote.”

Key components of the initiative include fellowships digging into the history; a selection of talks; a traveling exhibit about the battle of suffrage in Indiana; a program toolkit of teacher materials; a website and branding.

“The role of Hoosiers in the suffrage movement is a story that isn't fully known or told. This is Indiana's opportunity to delve into that history and capture it for future generations,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said.

The website is

Banks wants answers

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has asked the Department of Health and Human Services for information pertaining to a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the parent company of the Lutheran Health Network.

Banks, R-3rd, wants to know what procedures are in place to prevent the abuse of an HHS program that pays incentives to hospitals that install and use electronic health record systems.

Banks last week released a letter he sent to Don Rucker, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, regarding the 2018 lawsuit brought by two former information technology executives at Community Health Systems. The suit alleges that CHS submitted hundreds of millions of dollars in claims to HHS to receive incentive payments for flawed technology.

CHS, based in Franklin, Tennessee, has denied the whistleblowers' allegations.

Banks said in his letter that if the accusations are proven, they represent a misuse of the HHS incentive program and a situation by which electronic health record implementation “was made worse, and providers and patients suffered, because of the misapplication of well intentioned incentives.”

Banks has asked HHS to provide him with information about its processes for inspecting or verifying incentive program compliance; what the agency learned from its inspection or verification of CHS; and the existing procedures by which whistleblowers may contact the national coordinator for health information technology and the HHS inspector general.

Miami Tribe member speaks

For about four minutes Tuesday, a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma spoke to the Fort Wayne City Council to express displeasure at the recently approved Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne Day resolution.

Out of respect for Diane Hunter and her tribe, Council President John Crawford, R-at large, allowed Hunter, the tribe's historical preservation officer, almost double the allocated time for public comments.

“Anthony Wayne was not merciful,” Hunter said, noting that Wayne burned native villages and crops along the Maumee River, including two villages located in present-day Fort Wayne.

Later, as Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, gave his final remarks for the evening, a noise caused Paddock to wonder whether his time was up, prompting laughter among the council members present.

“Just one more minute here,” Paddock said, laughing.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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