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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News
3:52 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Pence Pushes for New Energy Efficiency Program

Governor Mike Pence says he’s encouraged by the response he’s received from lawmakers as he  pushes for a new energy efficiency program. The program would replace Energizing Indiana, which was eliminated by legislation Pence allowed to  become law Thursday.

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Politics & Government
5:05 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Pence Signs Pre-K Pilot Bill

Gov. Mike Pence signed the pre-K pilot bill Thursday at DayStar Childcare Ministries in Indianapolis.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence signed legislation Thursday to create a preschool pilot program he says is the beginning of a new chapter of hope and opportunity for Indiana’s disadvantaged children.

The program will provide anywhere between two thousand and six thousand dollars per child so low-income Hoosier kids in five counties can attend a high quality preschool program.  Governor Pence signed the bill at DayStar Childcare Ministries in Indianapolis. 

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News
6:25 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Indiana's Attorney General Says Fate of Gay Marriage Should Be Determined By Judges

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the judicial system is the right place for the fate of Indiana’s gay  marriage ban statute to be decided. 

During the legislative debate over HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex  marriage, lawmakers often said the purpose of the amendment was to provide added protection for  Indiana’s marriage statute, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The common  refrain from people like Speaker Brian Bosma was that the question of marriage in Indiana shouldn’t be  decided by one person.

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News
5:15 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Mixed News As Indiana Unemployment Rate Drops

Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in five and a half years, now lower than the national rate, even as the state’s private sector lost jobs in January.

The Indiana unemployment rate fell nearly half a percent in January, its largest one-month drop in 20 years.  Its rate of 6.4 percent is the lowest since September 2008 and the first time the state’s rate has been below the national average in nearly two years. 

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Education
5:18 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Once Thought Dead, Pre-K Pilot Bill Gets Approval

Empty chambers at the Indiana House of Representatives.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The House Thursday approved a preschool pilot program after it was seemingly left for dead just two weeks ago.

Speaker Brian Bosma says creation of the pre-k pilot wouldn’t have been possible without a funding mechanism crafted by the Senate.  The program can use up to $10 million in existing funds from the Family and Social Services Administration, while at least ten percent and up to 50 percent of that in matching funds must come from private sources. 

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Politics & Government
3:38 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Hoosier Gun Bill

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, testified Monday against a bill allowing guns on school property.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislation that would allow guns to be locked in cars on school property is attracting national attention.  The head of an anti-gun violence group testified Monday in a committee hearing on the bill.

Proposed legislation would allow licensed gun owners to keep their guns locked in their cars on school property, which is currently a felony. 

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News
6:37 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

No Local Money in Roads Funding Bill

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says it’s unlikely the General Assembly will include any local  funding in legislation freeing up transportation dollars. 

In last year’s budget, the General Assembly put aside 400 million dollars into a transportation fund to be  used for major projects in the future. In response to a request by the governor, proposed legislation this  session would release at least some of the money to the executive branch for construction now. 

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News
5:28 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Legislation Would Require Reporting Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Indiana hospitals will have to report to the state cases of babies born addicted to drugs under legislation  unanimously approved by the House Monday. 

The condition is known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – newborns exposed to addictive illegal or  prescription drugs before they’re born. But just trying to understand the scope of the problem has  been difficult, in part because hospitals aren’t required to report the condition.

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Politics & Government
2:56 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients Heads to Senate Floor

Brookville Rep. Jud McMillan, who authored the bill requiring some Indiana welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.
Credit Courtesy

The Senate sponsor of a bill requiring some welfare recipients to be drug tested says he thinks he’s found the right balance for the measure to pass.

The original welfare drug testing bill would have required all welfare recipients to submit to a pre-screening test that determines a likelihood of addiction. Those showing that likelihood would then be subject to a drug test. 

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Politics & Government
4:05 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Criminal Code Grant Plan Heads to Full Senate

Follow-up legislation to last year’s criminal code overhaul bill is headed to the Senate floor after a committee Thursday added potential funding help for local communities.

The purpose behind the state’s criminal code overhaul was in part to divert low-level offenders away from prison and into local community corrections programs.  But so far, the General Assembly hasn’t done much to provide those local programs more money. 

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says, for now, the legislature can begin to address local needs by creating a grant program.

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