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
5:44 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Advocates Push for Spending for State Retiree Benefits

Indiana Retired Teachers Association executive director Nancy Tolson says many retired state employees need the additional benefit lawmakers cut from the new budget.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Retired Teachers Association

Members of the public Friday got their last chance to weigh in on the budget bill this session.  Retiree advocates made a plea for more spending even as a gloomy new revenue forecast has lawmakers looking to cut money out of their budget proposals.

The so-called “13th check” is an additional yearly benefit for retired public employees and teachers.  The amount can range from $150-$450. 

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Politics & Government
4:49 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Senate Votes to Repeal Common Construction Wage

Indiana Sen. Carlin Yoder authored the bill repealing the common construction wage, which passed in the Senate Wednesday.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

The Senate Wednesday narrowly approved a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage.  Legislators spent more than three hours over the past two days debating the issue of repealing Indiana’s minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.

Opponents of the bill like Portage Democrat Karen Tallian note that the common wage helps support job training programs and ensures public projects are properly built by well-trained, highly paid workers.

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2015 Session
1:00 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

High-Fenced Hunting Preserve Bill Dies in Senate

Avon Republican Senator Pete Miller opposed the hunting bill.
Credit Indiana Senate Republicans

For the second year in a row, the Senate shot down a bill regulating Indiana’s high-fenced deer hunting preserves. 

The legality of the state’s high-fenced hunting facilities has been the subject of legislative debate and  court proceedings for a decade. This year’s legislation would have limited the industry to the four  existing preserves and imposed significant regulation. 

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Politics & Government
3:42 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Thousands Protest Construction Wage Repeal

Thousands of protesters rallied at the Indiana Statehouse Monday against the repeal of the Common Construction Wage law.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Thousands of construction workers gathered at the Statehouse Monday to loudly protest a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage. It’s the latest in a battle over the future of the minimum wage in public projects.

More than 2,000 predominantly union workers and contractors filled the south lawn of the Statehouse, listening to industry leaders and lawmakers oppose a bill repealing the common wage law.

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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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