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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Agriculture
3:51 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Organization Shines Light On Sexual Assault Among Farmworkers

As many as 90 percent of female farmworkers report being sexually harassed on the job, which includes being sexually assaulted, but efforts are underway in Indiana to help that underrepresented population.

Kimber Nicoletti is the director and founder of Multicultural Efforts to End Sexual Assault.  Based at Purdue University, MESA aims to help underserved communities, which includes Indiana’s migrant farmworker population. 

Nicoletti says women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence for many reasons, including their isolation.

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Politics & Government
4:46 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Casino Owners Call for Move to Land-Based Gaming

Casino executives asked lawmakers at a study committee hearing Wednesday to allow at least some land-based gaming in Indiana. Currently, Indiana only allows casinos to operate on riverboats.
Credit Courtesy / Pinnacle Entertainment

The future of land-based casinos in Indiana could come down to the definition of “footprint,” according to the debate at a legislative study committee meeting Wednesday.

Some of Indiana’s riverboats say permitting land-based casinos allows them to build better facilities and strengthens their ability to compete with the growing number of casinos in other states. 

Pete Liguori is the CEO of Majestic Star Casinos in northwest Indiana.  He says allowing riverboats to move on land has positive benefits for the community.

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News
2:48 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

7th Circuit Ruling Stands, Same Sex Marriage Legal in Indiana

Several same sex couples who took part in the lawsuits challenging Indiana’s gay marriage ban gathered at ACLU-Indiana’s office in Indianapolis just hours after the news came down that their marriages were once again legal. From L to R: Candace Batten-Lee,Teresa Welburn, Steven Stolen and Rob MacPherson. Standing in back is Kyle Megrath, marriage coordinator for Hoosiers Unite for Marriage.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied requests to hear five same sex marriage cases, including Indiana’s, allowing lower court rulings on the issue to stand.  That means same sex marriage is once again legal in the Hoosier State.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling striking down Indiana’s gay marriage ban is therefore in effect; the federal court will issue an official order soon.    

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says county clerks will then be required to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.    

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Politics & Government
6:40 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Pence Wants to Talk HIP 2.0 With President Obama

Governor Mike Pence says he wants to meet with President Obama to discuss what he calls increasing frustration over a lack of progress in getting approval for his proposed healthcare expansion. 

Pence sent the president a letter requesting a meeting during his visit to Indiana Friday where he’ll discuss improvements in the economy.

The governor says he wants to deliver a message that the proposed expansion of the state’s health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers is not an idea; it’s a proven program. 

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News
6:32 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Statewide HopeLine Initiative Supports Domestic Violence Victims

Indiana first lady Karen Pence and Verizon Wireless Indiana Vice President Neil Krevda.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana First Lady Karen Pence is urging Hoosiers to donate old and unused cell phones so they can be  used to support domestic violence victims. October is National Violence Awareness Month.

Verizon’s HopeLine program has been in place since 2001, collecting nearly 11 million donated cell  phones nationwide. The company refurbishes the phones and loads them with 3,000 minutes  of wireless service.

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Education
4:47 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Counties Piloting Pre-K Program Meet to Discuss Implementation

The five counties in Indiana’s preschool pilot program met face-to-face with state officials for the first time Wednesday as they prepare to begin implementation.  Governor Mike Pence says four of the five are prepared to start their programs in January.

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News
4:44 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Lawmakers Stand By Elimination of Energizing Indiana

Credit Energizing Indiana

Lawmakers say they stand by the decision to eliminate the state’s energy efficiency program known  as Energizing Indiana. That’s despite a report  presented to a study committee Tuesday that says the program was providing millions in benefits.

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Justice
5:24 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Council Calls for More Funding to Represent Juveniles

The Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges says the state needs to put more money into providing public defenders for juveniles.  The announcement comes ahead of a new rule that will create a greater need for those lawyers.

Indiana Criminal Rule 25 mandates that juveniles in the court system must be provided a lawyer – often a public defender – in certain circumstances. 

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Energizing Indiana
4:47 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Study Committee Will Hear Report on Energizing Indiana

Environmental and consumer advocates say they’re skeptical about whether lawmakers will take seriously a report providing a positive evaluation of the state’s now-eliminated energy efficiency program.

Last session, the legislature passed a bill eliminating the state’s energy efficiency program known as Energizing Indiana.  It also mandated the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission create a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

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News
5:19 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

State Withholds Some Domestic Violence Prevention Funds

Domestic violence prevention advocates say they won a small victory Friday when state officials  approved funding for prevention programs at the same dollar amount as last year. But more than a million dollars is still being withheld as the state asks  shelters to provide “additional information.”

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