Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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Politics & Government
4:44 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Despite Legislation, Midwife Regulation Still Incomplete

Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) says passing a midwifery bill this year was better than leaving the practice unregulated.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

After two years of unsuccessfully putting into practice a law regulating midwives, the General Assembly enacted a follow-up bill aimed at finally making the system work.

Legislators crafted a law in 2013 to regulate midwives, including the requirement that, to legally practice, midwives must have a signed, written collaborative agreement with a doctor.  But the Professional Licensing Board – charged with fully developing midwife regulations – couldn’t find a doctor willing to sign an agreement, and gave up creating the midwifery license. 

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Higher Education
2:52 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Ivy Tech Freezes Tuition for Some Students

Credit Courtesy / Ivy Tech

Following the recent lead of Indiana University and Purdue, Ivy Tech is freezing tuition for some students.

There are two ways students can qualify. To freeze their tuition, Ivy Tech students must either complete at least 30 credit hours over the next two semesters – which puts them on track for graduation in two years – or they must be continuously enrolled in the next three semesters – that’s six hours each in the fall and spring, and three next summer.  

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder notes 65 percent of Ivy Tech enrollees take less than 12 hours a semester.

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Politics & Government
5:58 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Licensing Changes Could Get More Kids into Driver's Ed

Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) hopes new changes to Indiana's driver licensing laws will get more teens into driver's education classes.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

Hoosier teenagers who take driver’s education classes will be able to get their license a little sooner under legislation set to take effect in July.  The bill’s author hopes the change will incentivize more young people to go take driver training courses.

Under current law, teens who don’t take driver’s education can get their license at 16 years, nine months old, while teens who do take driver’s ed can get their license three months earlier, at 16 and a half. 

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Pence Will Seek a Second Term in 2016

Indiana Governor Mike Pence will seek a second term, according to Republican Party officials.
Credit Mike Pence for Indiana

Indiana’s Republican Party chairman Monday announced Governor Mike Pence will make a bid for a second term.  The incumbent could face a tougher test than he did in 2012.

A Pence run for reelection wasn’t always considered a lock as the Hoosier governor had been mentioned – sometimes prominently – as a 2016 presidential contender. 

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State Government
5:45 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Zoeller Creates Statewide Victim Services Network

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Credit Courtesy / Greg Zoeller

Attorney General Greg Zoeller is launching a new division within his office aimed at boosting services for victims of violent and sexual crimes.  That effort includes a new statewide advocate network.

Indiana’s hundreds of victim advocates currently operate separately across the state in shelters, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and hospitals.  The Attorney General’s new Victim Services and Outreach Division will launch the Victim Advocates’ Network to coordinate information and training. 

Zoeller says the network will link up various advocacy efforts.

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Politics & Government
4:54 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Coats Wants Bipartisan Nominating Commission

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats proposed a new commission for filling judicial vacancies Wednesday.
Credit Courtesy / Dan Coats

U.S. Senator Dan Coats says he wants to take the politics out of appointing federal judges, proposing a bipartisan commission to fill vacancies. Indiana’s federal system has three vacancies, with another on the way.

To fill judicial vacancies at the federal level, U.S. Senators submit recommendations to the president, who then submits a candidate for nomination to the Senate. 

Senator Coats says the system is fraught with politics, particularly when, as in Indiana, the two senators are from different parties. 

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Politics & Government
4:35 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Tallian Announces Bid for Governor

Indiana Sen. Karen Tallian announced her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor Tuesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Unlike the 2012 campaign, John Gregg won’t have an uncontested path to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  State Senator Karen Tallian Tuesday announced her candidacy for governor.

A ten-year veteran of the Indiana Senate, Karen Tallian says she’s been considering a gubernatorial run for two years.  The Northwest Indiana attorney says the Statehouse has been under one-party control for too long.

“And I, like, looked around at our party and said, ‘Who’s going to do this?’” Tallian said. “Somebody has to speak for the progressive point of view.”

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News
4:21 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Report Finds Rampant Problems Within BMV

Credit Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Hoosiers will be getting more refunds from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles over the next couple of  months as further overcharges surface. An outside assessment of the BMV revealed rampant problems within the embattled agency.

The BMV, in the wake of lawsuits over fee overcharges and millions handed out in refunds, hired  consulting firm BKD to evaluate the agency.  BKD’s report, released Monday, uncovered numerous  issues, including problems with the BMV leadership structure, a complex fee system, and a lack of  internal controls and effective oversight.  

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Politics & Government
5:55 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

After Uncertainty in Session, Regional Cities Bill Becomes Law

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Regional Cities Initiative into law Wednesday.
Credit Courtesy / Office of the Governor

Governor Mike Pence says excitement is palpable as he talks to local communities about the Regional Cities Initiative.  Pence signed a bill creating the program into law Wednesday.

Pence says the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has spent months traveling around the country, talking to leaders in areas that adopted a regional economic development approach.  And he says the IEDC will be spreading the lessons learned from those talks across Indiana as the Regional Cities Initiative is rolled out. 

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Politics & Government
5:41 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Pence Signs Construction Wage Repeal

Indiana’s common construction wage is about to become extinct after Governor Mike Pence signed a bill repealing the wage Wednesday.

The common construction wage is a kind of minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.  The wage is set for each project by a local board. 

In a statement announcing he signed the bill repealing the common wage, Governor Pence says wages should be set by the marketplace, not government bureaucracy.  He says repealing the system puts taxpayers first. 

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