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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Election 2014
4:56 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Party Leaders Differ on What Will Drive Hoosiers to the Polls

With the fall election coming Tuesday, Indiana’s Democratic and Republican Parties are working hard on direct voter contact in an effort to get people to the polls.  But party leaders have different ideas about what issues they think should be at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Indiana’s 2014 general election lacks a big ticket race – such as president or governor – and arguably lacks a marquee issue, after the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage failed to make its way onto the ballot. 

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Politics & Government
5:18 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Legislators Push for Action in Reducing Teen Pregnancy

Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers are urging the General Assembly to act soon to help reduce teen pregnancy in Indiana, as the state’s teen birth rate is higher than the national average.

Teen birth rate is the number of live births per one thousand teens age 15 to 19.  Indiana’s rate is about 33 per 1,000 teens, with the national rate at about 29.  That’s compared to the teen pregnancy rate, which measures the number of pregnancies per one thousand teens, which includes births, abortions, still births and miscarriages. 

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News
11:47 am
Fri October 31, 2014

IBM Presents Oral Arguments to State Supreme Court

At the heart of the dispute between Indiana and computer giant IBM is whether the technology  firm’s failures in the contract to modernize the state’s welfare system were enough to justify Indiana  terminating the whole contract, and getting damages afterward. Oral arguments were heard Thursday at the state Supreme Court.

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News
1:18 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Secretary of State Candidates Focus on Voter Education, Transparency

2014 features a rare Indiana election cycle that lacks a major campaign on the statewide ballot, such as president or governor. That puts the Secretary of State’s race at the top of the ticket. 

Arguably the most attention the Secretary of State’s office has received in the last four years was for the voter fraud scandal that ousted Charlie White, the Republican who won the seat in 2010. 

Former state Senator Connie Lawson was appointed to the position two and half years ago. She’s running for the seat  this year and says she’s not focused on Charlie White.

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News
9:25 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Hoosier State Line Ridership Down

Ridership on the Hoosier State Rail Line dropped nearly 8 percent over the last year, while ticket revenues declined more than ten percent.

Ridership on Amtrak lines across the country rose in the last fiscal year, which ended in September.  But on the Hoosier State Line, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis, ridership fell by nearly 3,000 people, down to just under 34,000.

And ticket revenues dropped nearly $100,000, settling at a little more than $800,000 last year.

News
4:39 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Candidate Accusing GOP of Voter Intimidation

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Beth White says Republicans are trying to intimidate and disenfranchise Hoosiers on the state’s inactive voter list.

During Indiana’s recent voter list cleanup effort, hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers were labeled as “inactive” – meaning they didn’t respond to the state’s outreach effort. 

People on the inactive list have until 2017 to either update their information or vote in an election to remove themselves from that list. 

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News
6:33 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Head of Indiana's National Guard Announces Retirement

The head of Indiana’s National Guard,  Adjutant General Martin Umbarger,  announced Tuesday he will retire next year.  

Martin Umbarger assumed command of the Indiana National Guard in March of 2004 under Governor  Joe Kernan. He was reappointed to the position of Adjutant General by Governor Mitch Daniels and Governor Mike Pence.

The Indiana native began his career as a soldier 35 years ago.

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News
4:55 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Validity of Some Same Sex Marriages in Question

The Indiana Attorney General’s office is warning same sex couples who got married in a narrow window in June that their marriages may not be valid. The Attorney General's office sent a memo to county clerks Monday regarding the validity of marriage licenses. 

On June 25th, U-S District Court Judge Richard Young ruled Indiana’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, and didn’t stay the effects of his ruling. Two days later, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did halt the ruling. 

And in those two days, hundreds of same sex couples across the state got marriage licenses.

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News
3:52 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Bosma Aims to "Take a Breath" on Tax Reform Next Session

House Speaker Brian Bosma says after years of major tax cuts and reforms, it’s time for the General Assembly to, in his words, “take a breath.”

Speaker Bosma says the legislature has enacted 15 tax cuts over the last 14 years, including property  tax caps, reductions in the corporate and individual income taxes and elimination of the inheritance tax.  

Bosma says he thinks it’s time to let the system settle and allow people to get accustomed to the state’s  existing tax climate.

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News
6:23 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Ethics Rules Reform Top House GOP's Legislative Agenda

House Speaker Brian Bosma.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Speaker Brian Bosma says reforming the General Assembly’s ethics rules will be a key part of his party’s agenda in the upcoming legislative session. Bosma says he wants to make it a bipartisan effort.

The legislature’s ethics rules have come under increased scrutiny this year after GOP Representative Eric Turner allegedly lobbied against a nursing home industry bill, an effort which netted him and his family millions of dollars. 

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