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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News
6:24 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Pre-K Bill Sent to Study Committee

A pilot program aimed at providing pre-kindergarten educational opportunities for low-income Hoosier  kids was stripped out of a bill in a Senate committee Wednesday. The program – a major initiative of Governor Mike Pence – was replaced with a  mandated study of the issue.

Proposed legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House created a framework for a preschool pilot  program. It would have served about a thousand four-year-olds in five counties, with funding to kick  in next year.

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Politics & Government
12:57 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Scales Back Drug Testing Bill

Indiana Sen. Michael Young and Rep. Jud McMillin testify before a Senate committee Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A Senate committee Wednesday dramatically scaled back the scope of a bill creating a drug testing program for welfare recipients.

Brookville Republican Representative Jud McMillin’s bill originally required all welfare recipients to take a written pre-screening test meant to determine a likelihood of addiction.  Recipients who showed that likelihood were then eligible to be randomly drug-tested – with their welfare benefits potentially at risk after several failed tests. 

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Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Senate Passes Amended Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis.

The proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage known as HJR-3 survived the 2014 session but not unscathed, losing its controversial second sentence.  And it won’t be on the ballot this fall.

HJR-3’s second sentence, which banned civil unions, was removed by the House because of concerns it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits.  The Senate opted against reinserting it.  And the Senate ended debate on the issue this year Monday, passing HJR-3 32 to 17. 

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News
5:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

HJR-3 Passes Without Second Sentence

Opponents of HJR-3 are celebrating what they call a huge victory after the Senate Thursday failed to  reinsert the measure’s controversial second sentence.

HJR-3 is the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. HJR-3’s second sentence, which banned civil unions, was removed by the House after concerns it would  prohibit domestic partnership benefits.

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News
4:39 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Bill Would Allow Alcohol Sales at State Fair

Indiana State Fair officials say allowing alcohol sales at the annual Fair gives customers what they want,  helps the Fair broaden its agricultural showcase and could generate more revenue. 

Alcohol is sold at the State Fairgrounds 348 days out of the year – with the only exception being during  the State Fair itself, which has been dry since 1946. Legislation proposed by Indianapolis Republican  Senator Jim Merritt –who’s a member of the State Fair Commission – would repeal that prohibition.

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News
6:31 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Young Proponents of Same Sex Marriage Ban Arrive at Statehouse

Members of the group Young Hoosiers for Marriage speaking at the Statehouse.
Credit Brandon Smith

Supporters of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, are beginning  to show up in large numbers at the Statehouse as the debate over the measure continues in the Senate.  

The House passed HJR-3 two weeks ago after removing the measure’s second sentence, which would  ban civil unions. Monday, it passed a Senate committee.

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Politics & Government
2:13 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Senate Committee Approves HJR-3

Supporters of HJR-3 rally at the statehouse Monday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A Senate committee Monday approved HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.  The debate surrounding the measure shifted during Monday’s hearing, focusing more on the restoration of the amendment’s controversial second sentence.

The House removed HJR-3’s second sentence, which bans civil unions, after concerns were raised it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits.  Proponents of the measure, including Governor Mike Pence, are calling on the Senate to reinsert that language. 

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Politics & Government
5:30 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Blight Elimination Program Aims to Reduce Foreclosures

The State of Indiana is diverting federal money to help local communities demolish abandoned homes.  Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the program will help stabilize neighborhoods and reduce foreclosures.

Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country, with estimates of more than 50,000 abandoned homes statewide.  The state received approval from the federal government to divert $75 million from its Hardest Hit Fund – which helps Hoosiers avoid foreclosure – for a Blight Elimination Program.

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News
5:24 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Pence Wants to Change Same Sex Marriage Proposal

Governor Mike Pence says he wants HJR-3’s second sentence put back in the amendment after House  lawmakers removed it this week. Pence’s  comments could impact the future of the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex  marriage.

In comments made to WISH-TV in Indianapolis this week, Governor Pence was clear. He wants  lawmakers to end the marriage debate this year and reinsert HJR-3’s second sentence, which outlaws  civil unions.

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News
5:41 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

HJR-3 Assigned to House Rules Committee

Senate President Pro Tem David Long announced Thursday he will assign HJR-3 to the House Rules Committee and hopes to get it to the floor without changes.  HJR-3 is the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.

 

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