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.

Legislation regulating how abortion clinics dispense abortion-inducing drugs no longer requires an ultrasound after the drug is taken. But Democrats say an amendment made to the bill Monday isn’t good enough.

House Democrats offered their own budget proposal Thursday, including increased K-12 education funding and a progressive tax cut.  But the House rejected the proposal with a vote along party lines.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said at the start of session one of the minority’s responsibilities was to provide alternatives to Republican initiatives. 

Governor Mike Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut was denied an up-or-down vote on the House floor Thursday when House Republicans used parliamentary procedure to deny a Democratic amendment.

Proposed legislation that passed a Senate committee Wednesday places stricter regulation on the dispensing of the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486 and the clinics that provide it. 

State lawmakers hope the third time’s the charm as they seek to eliminate the sale and use of synthetic drugs, often referred to as bath salts.

This year marks the third consecutive session with legislation outlawing synthetic drugs.  But Indianapolis Republican Jim Merritt – who has shepherded the effort in the Senate all three years – says state lawmakers and law enforcement know much more now and believe they’ve hit on a lasting solution. 

The House Ways and Means committee approved the House GOP budget proposal Monday and is expected to move the budget bill to the full House Tuesday.  But Democrats say there’s still more work to do.

The House Republican budget does not include Governor Mike Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut. But House Democratic leaders are promising the cut will get an up or down vote on the House floor.

The House GOP budget, which will be publicly presented to the Ways and Means committee Monday, includes significant increases in education and roads funding.  But it leaves out Governor Pence’s tax cut, and does not assume there will be any taxpayer refund at the end of the budget cycle. 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Indiana needs to take the lead in assembling a constitutional convention of the states in an effort to rein in the federal government’s power.   Long’s effort aims to produce an amendment to the Untied States Constitution.

To amend the Constitution in a state-initiated way, two-thirds of state legislatures must agree to convene a constitutional convention, at which the amendment is drafted.  Three-fourths of the states must then approve the amendment for it to be ratified. 

Legislation aimed at helping the Indianapolis Motor Speedway renovate the historic track and make up for recent attendance losses is headed to the Senate floor.

As lawmakers work to create the Indiana Career Council, meant to coordinate the state’s workforce development efforts, they’re placing a special emphasis on addressing unemployment among recent veterans. 

The unemployment rate for Indiana’s post-9-11 veterans is 20%, more than double that of the average Hoosier.  Indiana National Guard Employment Coordination Program manager Catalina Carrasco said part of the reason so many young veterans are unemployed is a disconnect between veterans and employers.

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