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
5:11 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Indiana schools may apply for armed personnel policy exemption

Changes to a school safety bill made in a House committee Tuesday will allow Indiana public schools to opt-out of a requirement that each facility employ armed personnel, but critics say the changes still don’t solve core problems with the bill.

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Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Senator Donnelly changes position on gay marriage

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly Friday publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage, saying he changed his position in light of recent Supreme Court arguments and public discussion. The Democratic U.S. Senator’s support could influence the issue in the Statehouse.

In a statement released on his Facebook page, Senator Joe Donnelly said he opposes amending both the Indiana and U.S. constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, much as a proposed amendment to Indiana’s constitution would do if passed a second time by the General Assembly and then by voters.

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Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ritz objects to recent changes in a school safety bill

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz does not agree with a recent change to a school safety bill that would require armed personnel in every Indiana public school.

A House committee Tuesday amended a Senate-approved school safety bill to create what the bill calls school protection officers (employees who must carry guns).  The definition includes teachers and principals.  The bill mandates a protection officer in each building, and that’s why State Superintendent Glenda Ritz said she doesn’t support it.

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Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Amended public school safety bill mandates armed protection officers

Changes made Tuesday to a school safety bill would require armed personnel in every Hoosier public school, and those personnel can now be teachers or administrators.

The original bill, as it passed the Senate, encouraged, but did not mandate, Indiana schools to hire school resource officers, trained law enforcement who receive additional training for the school environment.  A House committee Tuesday approved an amendment that creates a new position, school protection officer, and requires each school to have one. 

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Politics & Government
6:47 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

House committee amends federal healthcare bill

The Pence administration said changes made in an Indiana House committee Monday to a bill dealing with implementation of the Affordable Care Act hurts the state’s negotiating power with the federal government.  

The House Public Health Committee approved changes to the bill that include removing language urging federal Medicaid dollars be given to Indiana in block grant form, requiring the state to end healthcare expansion if the federal government doesn’t contribute the funds it has promised and prompting the Pence administration to continue negotiating for expansion. 

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News
4:25 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Despite growing number of private jobs, Indiana’s unemployment rate is on the rise

Indiana’s unemployment rate went up once again in February, though the state’s private sector marked the 20th consecutive month of job growth.

Indiana’s private sector added 5,800 jobs last month.  And since July of 2009, the low point of the recession, the state has created jobs in all but four months.  But at 8.7% in February, Indiana’s unemployment rate is at its highest level in more than a year.

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Politics & Government
4:47 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Changes made to the Criminal Code Bill

Sponsors of legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code hope changes made to marijuana penalties Thursday will help ease Governor Mike Pence’s concerns.  

One of the goals of the criminal code revision legislation is to reduce penalties for low-level, first-time drug offenses in an effort to focus more on rehabilitation.  But Governor Mike Pence waded into the debate last week, expressing concern the bill wasn’t tough enough on drug crimes. 

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Politics & Government
1:48 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Abortion drug bill moves to the House floor

State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica), sponsor of a bill regulating the administration of RU-486 at Indiana abortion clinics. The bill passed out of committee Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A bill regulating abortion-inducing drugs administered at Indiana abortion clinics will advance to the House floor after passage in committee Wednesday.

When the bill passed the Senate, it required women receiving the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486 to undergo an ultrasound prior to taking the drug.  Changes in the House committee Wednesday would require the ultrasound to be offered but allow women to turn it down. 

The bill now only forces changes at one Indiana location – a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette. 

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Politics & Government
2:17 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Optimism despite hurdles around criminal code overhaul

Bedford Republican Senator Brent Steele says he remains confident the legislature will pass a bill overhauling the state’s criminal code, despite Governor Mike Pence voicing concerns about the measure’s impact.

Gov. Pence’s main issue with the bill is its reduction of penalties for low-level drug offenders.  Those behind the criminal code reform effort want to focus more on rehabilitation.  But Pence says the state must remain tough on drugs and work to reduce crime, not penalties. 

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Politics & Government
4:05 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Pence proposes income tax cut to mayors during statehouse visit

Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence pitched his income tax cut proposal to mayors and local government leaders who visited the Statehouse Tuesday to promote their own priorities to the legislature. 

Governor Mike Pence’s proposed across-the-board 10 percent income tax cut hasn’t been backed by many in the General Assembly, even his fellow Republicans.  And its reception among the dozens of mayors and town leaders at the Statehouse Tuesday might also be described as lukewarm.  But Pence said his proposal will help more people than other tax cuts lawmakers are considering.

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