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
4:38 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

New Proposal Would Limit State Agency Rulemaking

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A House committee Tuesday approved legislation that opponents say will prevent state agencies from enacting much-needed protections.  But proponents argue it will help ensure agencies don’t overstep their rulemaking authority.

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News
5:47 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Pence Administration Responds to JustIN Criticism

Credit State of Indiana

Pence administration officials say they’ll work with press organizations to carefully evaluate the  proposed state news service before it’s unveiled to the public. 

Pence communications director Christy Denault says the original intent of the Just IN news service was  to serve as a clearinghouse, a “one-stop shop,” for press releases from all state agencies. She says the  current system, a state news calendar, didn’t display releases from nearly half of the state’s 90 agencies.  

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News
5:26 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Pence's HIP 2.0 Approved

Governor Mike Pence announces the approval of HIP 2.0 Tuesday.
Credit Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence Tuesday announced that federal officials have approved his healthcare expansion  plan known as HIP 2.0. Pence says it’s an effort  that will reform and improve Medicaid in what he calls “the Indiana way.” 

Federal officials approved essentially everything Governor Pence asked for. The program includes HIP  Basic, a default plan for poorer Hoosiers that doesn’t require them to pay into a health savings account  but comes with fewer benefits and includes co-pays. 

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Lawmakers Ready to Settle Debate on High-Fenced Hunting Preserves

Advocates for high-fenced deer hunting preserves want lawmakers to finally end the debate over their existence in a battle that goes back a decade.  A House committee heard testimony on the bill Monday.

Legislation to legalize and regulate high-fenced deer hunting preserves has failed in past sessions.  But Shelbyville Republican Representative Sean Eberhart, the bill’s author, is more hopeful for success after a summer study committee recommended its passage. 

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Utilities
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Committee Approves Energy Efficiency Program

Citizens Action Coalition executive director Kerwin Olson testifies before an Indiana Senate hearing Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislation a Senate committee approved Thursday creates a new Indiana energy efficiency program to replace the one lawmakers eliminated last year.  But critics say the bill unfairly favors utilities over ratepayers.

Indiana’s previous program set energy efficiency goals utility companies were expected to meet.  Legislation proposed by Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt – and crafted by Governor Mike Pence’s office – allows utility companies to set their own savings goals.  The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission would then approve the utilities’ plans. 

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Politics & Government
10:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Senate Bill Would Extend Statute of Limitations on Rape Cases

The Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A Senate committee Tuesday approved legislation expanding the statute of limitations in rape cases.

Under current law, the statute of limitations to prosecute for rape is five years.  Jenny Ewing, a former Indiana resident, says she was raped in 2005 but, in her words, “made the mistake” of not reporting it. 

Her attacker recently confessed to police, but because the five-year statute of limitations had expired, authorities were unable to prosecute him. 

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Proposal Would Expand In-State Sales Limit for Craft Brewers

Three Floyds is one of two Hoosier breweries nearing the limit for in-state sales.
Credit Courtesy / Three Floyds

Indiana’s craft breweries are urging the legislature to expand the amount of beer they can make each year to sell in the state.

Indiana law regulates how much beer Indiana’s small brewers can make each year and sell in-state.  The current limit is 30,000 barrels.  Most businesses aren’t even close to that. 

But Sun King Brewery out of Indianapolis and Munster’s 3 Floyds Brewing Company are both near that mark. 

Sun King co-founder Dave Colt says if the legislature doesn’t raise the ceiling, Sun King will be forced to make difficult decisions.

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Politics & Government
4:23 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Study Redistricting Reform

A bipartisan bill introduced this week would create a study committee to investigate how Indiana redraws legislative districts.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Business Research Services

Changes to Indiana’s redistricting system likely won’t take place until at least 2017 under a new proposal from House legislative leaders that would create a redistricting study committee.

The committee would be charged with studying redistricting for the next two years, with a report due in December 2016.  Under the bill, the committee would consider several issues, including state and federal redistricting laws, the cost of a reform effort, and redistricting systems in other states. 

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2015 Session
4:14 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

State Aims to Reduce Infant Mortality Rate

The public awareness campaign Labor of Love aims to educate new and expectant mothers.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The State Department of Health is spending the next year reaching out to new and expectant mothers in  an effort to curb the state’s infant mortality rate. The public awareness campaign called Labor of Love was launched Wednesday.

Indiana’s rate of infant deaths is one of the worst in the country. First Lady Karen Pence says the Labor  of Love campaign, meant to reduce that rate, will be carried on all major TV stations, at bus depots,  in radio ads, and in a variety of publications. 

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2015 Session
5:15 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Pence Budget Would Boost K-12 Funding by $200 Million

OMB Director Chris Atkins (center) and Budget Director Brian Bailey presented Gov. Mike Pence's budget to the state budget committee Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants the 2015 meeting of the General Assembly to be an “education session,” and the budget Pence proposed Thursday shares that focus.

The proposal contains a $200 million increase in K-12 school funding over the next two years. That includes about $41 million more specifically set aside for charter schools. 

Office of Management and Budget Director Chris Atkins says that money would be used to increase per-pupil funding by $1,500 and would reduce inequity between funding of charters and traditional public schools.

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