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
3:44 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Ethics Commission Concerned About INDOT Official's Departure to Private Company

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff.
Credit Courtesy / INDOT

Members of the Indiana Ethics Commission say they have serious concerns about a senior INDOT official leaving his position to work for a company he’s helped steer state contracts toward.

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff is in negotiations to work for RQAW, an engineering firm that does business with INDOT.  While he’s working out an employment deal, Woodruff has put in place a screening procedure that ensures he isn’t involved with any state business that deals with RQAW. 

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News
4:57 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Pence: No Recognition for Gay Marriages Performed After Ban Was Struck Down

Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Indiana will not recognize same sex marriages legally performed before a federal appeals court halted a ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban, as Governor Mike Pence says the state must follow the rule of law.

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Politics & Government
2:45 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Columbia City Senator Set for Fall Deployment

Ind. Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will be deployed to Afghanistan this fall.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

State Senator Jim Banks, a Naval Reserve officer, is being deployed to Afghanistan this fall and will miss the entire 2015 legislative session.

Banks will use a provision in state law to take a temporary leave from his seat rather than resign, the first time a state lawmaker has used that provision.

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News
11:53 am
Tue July 8, 2014

State Senator Pushing for Gun Crime Penalties

State Senator Jim Merritt says he’s going to push for legislation next session that would dramatically increase penalty enhancements for criminals that use a gun. Merritt says it’s a response to what he calls a “crisis” in Indiana’s urban areas.

Over the weekend, two police officers – one in Indianapolis and one in Gary – were shot and killed.  Seven bystanders were also injured in a shootout in an Indianapolis neighborhood.

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News
4:16 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Indiana Companies Allowed to Use Crowdfunding to Raise Money

Secretary of State Connie Lawson on Tuesday.
Credit Brandon Smith

Secretary of State Connie Lawson Tuesday announced rules are in place that open the doors for Internet crowdfunding in Indiana.

The rules were  developed after the legislature passed a bill authorizing the practice earlier this year.

Secretary of State Lawson says the online crowdfunding system is meant to help startup companies  and bolster existing ones. The rules allow Indiana private companies to raise up to $2 million in capital. Individuals can invest up to $5,000.

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News
3:39 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Couple Wants Emergency Recognition of Marriage Despite Legal Limbo

Lambda Legal attorney Paul Castillo, who represents Quasney and Sandler
Credit Courtesy / Lambda Legal

The same sex couple whose marriage was the first recognized in Indiana wants that recognition restored by a federal appeals court.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, married in Massachusetts last year, are one of the couples who challenged Indiana’s marriage statute.  They also asked for emergency recognition of their marriage because Quasney is terminally ill with ovarian cancer. 

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News
1:43 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Appeals Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage in Indiana

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday halted same sex marriage in Indiana, granting a motion by Attorney General Zoeller to stay the effects of a ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

District Court Judge Richard Young Wednesday handed down a decision ruling Indiana’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered counties to license marriages for same sex couples. 

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News
2:56 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Number of Hoosier Homeless Continues to Fall

Fewer than than 6,000 Hoosiers were recorded as homeless this year, a two percent decrease from 2013. The state’s homeless population has seen a steady decline over the last four years.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority conducts what’s called a “point-in-time” count each January.  Coordinating with homeless shelters and outreach groups around the state, the IHCDA determines the number of homeless people on a single night. 

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News
2:44 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Indiana Will Recoup Some Tobacco Settlement Money

Indiana will recoup nearly 40 percent of the money it lost this year in a dispute over a 1990s tobacco settlement.  The money is used to help fund tobacco cessation programs, community health centers and the state’s children’s health insurance program.

Forty-six states reached a settlement with the four largest tobacco companies in 1998 that pays out more than $200 billion over 25 years.  More than 40 other tobacco companies have since joined the settlement and part of the deal requires states to ensure those companies are paying the correct amounts into an escrow account.  

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News
1:55 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Federal Judge Rules Indiana's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Indiana's ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Indiana’s ban on same sex marriage, saying marrying the person you love, regardless of gender, is a fundamental right.

In his ruling, Judge Richard Young says he’s never seen a “phenomenon” throughout the federal court system like the recent cases regarding same-sex marriage. 

Lambda Legal, the gay rights organization that represents the couples challenging Indiana’s ban, says there have been 19 federal rulings in same-sex marriage suits in the last year – and all 19 have gone in favor of same-sex couples. 

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