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
5:37 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Donnelly Lauds Farm Bill on Statewide Tour

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly says the new Farm Bill is good legislation for the times the nation is facing.  Donnelly is traveling around the state this week talking to farmers about the bill.

Donnelly says the most recent version of the farm bill is strong in two important areas: a greater shift toward crop insurance and greater focus on conservation. 

The Indiana Democrat says past farm bills relied heavily on direct payments to farmers; the new bill does away with them almost entirely, which he says is better for taxpayers as well as farmers.

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Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Effort to Clean Up Voter Rolls Continues

Indiana Sec. of State Connie Lawson.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Indiana has identified more than 700,000 voter records that need to be updated or marked inactive in its effort to clean up the state’s voter rolls.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office sent postcards to every Hoosier on the voter list.  More than 750,000 came back as undeliverable. 

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Attorney General Undecided on Appeal to Athiest Celebrant Rulilng

The Indiana Attorney General’s office says it hasn’t decided whether to appeal a ruling allowing atheist leaders to solemnize marriages in the state.  That’s despite the group that brought the lawsuit – atheist group Center for Inquiry – announcing its victory Thursday.  Still, CFI Executive Director Reba Boyd Wooden still says she’s ready to perform marriages.

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News
4:54 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Indiana Selects Rush as First Female Chief Justice

Loretta Rush talking with members of the Judicial Nominating Commission after they announced their pick.
Credit Brandon Smith

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush will become Indiana’s new Chief Justice, the first woman to lead the state’s highest court. The decision was made Wednesday by the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Rush is the Court’s newest justice, chosen by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2012. The former Tippecanoe County juvenile court judge replaces Brent Dickson as Chief Justice. 

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News
4:16 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Future of HIP 2.0 Unclear

Governor Mike Pence says there are scenarios in which Indiana might not move ahead with healthcare expansion as the state and federal government discuss the proposed plan known as HIP 2.0. Pence says “differences remain” after his meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.  

Pence has long ruled out using federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act to expand traditional Medicaid. Instead, he’s pushed use of the Healthy Indiana Plan as a vehicle to deliver affordable health insurance to around 300,000 Hoosiers within the coverage gap. 

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Politics & Government
2:48 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Public Corruption Still a Key Focus, Despite Hogsett's Departure

Retiring U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett says the work of the Public Corruption Working Group will continue.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Joe Hogsett says the U.S. Attorney’s office’s focus on public corruption cases won’t lessen even as he leaves his role leading the office to join the private sector.

Listen to Brandon Smith's story on the fate of the Public Corruption Working Group.

Hogsett says when he took office in 2010, a District Court judge told him the office of U.S. Attorney for Indiana’s Southern District hadn’t prosecuted a public corruption case in 20 years. 

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News
6:40 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Indiana Joins Lawsuit Against EPA

Indiana and 11 other states are taking the Environmental Protection Agency to court over proposed  regulations limiting carbon emissions from coal plants.

The EPA’s proposed regulations, announced in June, seek to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by the  year 2030. Proponents hail it as a measure that would stimulate enormous investment and job growth.  

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Politics & Government
4:45 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

State Support of Hoosier Rail Line Unclear

Responsibility for funding the Hoosier State line is shifting from the state to communities along the line.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Governor Mike Pence is noncommittal on whether Indiana will support the future of the Hoosier State Passenger Rail Line with state dollars, instead shifting responsibility to local communities along the line that runs between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Federal funding for the Hoosier State Rail Line was cut off last year.  The state and local communities along the line reached a temporary funding agreement that keeps the route running through October.  But Indianapolis has announced it will no longer contribute funds. 

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News
4:46 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Limits Set on Drug Addiction Treatment Meds

The state is developing treatment rules prompted by legislation that will significantly limit how much  drug addiction treatment medication patients can take home. New limitations will be set on methadone, the most commonly used medication to treat drug  addiction.

Federal law caps the amount of methadone patients can take home. If someone’s been in treatment  for at least six months, they can get three doses to take home per week. After a year, they can get 14 days worth of the medication; after two years, 30 days. 

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News
4:41 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Public Integrity Coalition Aims to Curb Corruption

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the state’s Public Integrity Coalition is developing strategies  from the local level up to state government aimed at curbing public corruption. Those strategies could include new legislation.

The Public Integrity Coalition, formed three months ago, brings together groups such as the Attorney  General’s office, the State Board of Accounts – which is responsible for auditing all levels of government  in the state – the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and law enforcement groups around the state. 

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