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
4:13 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Senate Leaders Want to Spend Less 'Major Moves' Money

The Senate Republican budget proposal mirrors its House counterpart in setting aside $400 million for future road projects.  The chamber's budget leader says he’d like to keep that money in state coffers the next two years.

In the 2013 budget, lawmakers created the Major Moves 2020 fund that put aside $400 million for future projects.  But the Pence administration, with State Budget Committee approval, took that money and spent it on road projects over the last two years. 

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2015 Session
2:09 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Bill Repealing Common Construction Wage Goes Forward

Buck Creek Republican Senator Brandt Hershman authored an amendment to the bill, saying it ensures workers are well trained and public projects well done.
Credit Indiana Senate Republicans

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill repealing the state’s common construction wage while also adding new requirements for contractors on public projects. The legislation eliminating the minimum wage for public construction projects heads to  the Senate floor.

An amendment added in committee would require contractors to have training programs and liability  insurance, and bars them from paying employees in cash. It also prohibits local governments from  passing their own version of the common wage. 

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2015 Session
6:40 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Pence Signs RFRA "Fix"

Credit State of Indiana

Exactly one week after signing Indiana’s religious freedom bill into law, Governor Mike Pence Thursday signed a follow up bill meant to quell the firestorm of controversy that erupted over the  measure.

The follow up bill explicitly states that the recently-passed law known as RFRA can’t be used to deny  service to anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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2015 Session
6:20 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Conservative Groups Oppose New RFRA Language

Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law last Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Some of the staunchest supporters of Indiana’s religious freedom bill say the “clarification language”  crafted by Republican legislative leaders will destroy religious protections the controversial law created. The legislative fix comes after concerns the  measure would be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

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Politics & Government
2:58 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Bosma, Long Say RFRA Clarification is in the Works

Senate Pres. Pro-Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (right) say the intent of RFRA was never to allow discrimination. The legislative leaders spoke Monday morning.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republican legislative leaders say they want to help turn the tide against the backlash that’s erupted over Indiana’s so-called religious freedom bill.  They say that will involve making it clear the law does not allow discrimination.

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News
4:14 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Holcomb Announces Bid to Replace Coats

Eric Holcomb announced his candidacy for Dan Coats' Senate seat Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Just two days after U.S. Senator Dan Coats announced he won’t seek reelection next year, a contender  is throwing his hat into the ring. 

Eric Holcomb steered former Governor Mitch Daniels’ 2008 reelection campaign, led the Indiana  Republican Party and most recently served as State Chief of Staff to Senator Dan Coats. 

But Thursday,  Holcomb announced a personal first: a run for office.

“And that’s why today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud, I’m excited," says Holcomb, "to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.” 

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Politics & Government
4:03 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Pence Signs Controversial RFRA Measure into Law

Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday. Opponents worry the measure could be used to sanction discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers and others.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says concerns about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act come from a misunderstanding of the law, for which he at least partly blames the media.  Pence signed the controversial bill into law Thursday.

RFRA establishes a judicial test that courts will use to decide when the government can infringe on a person’s religious beliefs and practices. 

Many groups say they’re concerned it will be used to sanction discrimination, particularly against LGBT Hoosiers. 

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Committee Decision Delays Implementation of "Baby Boxes"

Indiana Rep. Casey Cox (left) and Sen. Jim Merritt (right) spoke before an Indiana Senate committee Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Senate lawmakers Wednesday added a hurdle to a bill that would have allowed newborn incubators, or “baby boxes” to be placed at Safe Haven sites.  The legislature would now have to pass another bill next year to authorize the boxes.

Baby boxes are installed into the walls special locations – like hospitals and police and fire stations. They’re meant to provide mothers an extra layer of anonymity when dropping off unwanted newborns. 

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Congress
5:47 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Coats Will Not Seek Re-election in 2016

Sen. Dan Coats announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election in 2016.
Credit Courtesy / Dan Coats

U.S. Senator Dan Coats Tuesday announced he will not run for re-election in 2016.

Coats had spoken in recent months about whether to run again, noting that how Congress functioned with Republican majorities would play a major role. 

In a video statement Tuesday, the Hoosier Senator said choosing not to run was not an easy decision. 

“While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders,” he said.

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Politics & Government
5:36 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

RFRA Passes House, Heads to Governor's Desk

The Indiana House overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Monday. Gov. Mike Pence says he will sign the bill into law.
Credit Andrew Downs / For WBOI News

The Indiana House Monday approved a bill that supporters call a shield protecting people of faith.  But opponents believe the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, commonly known as RFRA, a license to discriminate.

RFRA creates a judicial test for Indiana courts that ensures a government can only restrict religious practices if it has a compelling reason and does so in the least restrictive way. 

Supporters, such as Inglefield Republican Representative Tom Washburne, say the bill helps ensure Hoosiers live in harmony with each other.

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