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
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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2015 Session
3:25 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Senate Democrats Push for Minimum Wage Hike in 2015

Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane spoke to the press Wednesday about the Democrats' agenda in 2015.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Senate Democrats say a budget session is all about prioritizing – and their priority is to help working class Hoosiers.

The top item on the Senate Democrats’ agenda is what they call “giving Hoosier families a raise.”  Portage Senator Karen Tallian says that begins with increasing the state’s minimum wage. 

She notes 29 states have a higher minimum wage than Indiana.

“If you work 40 hours a week, you should not be below the federal poverty level,” Tallian said. “Indiana has a household income problem.”

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Transportation
5:25 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Pence Urges Lawmakers to Release Road Money

Gov. Mike Pence has asked the State Budget Committee to release the rest of the Major Moves 2020 money.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants the State Budget Committee to release the second half of the Major Moves 2020 fund.  That would amount to $200 million dollars for road projects.

Two years ago, lawmakers put aside $400 million into what they called the Major Moves 2020 fund.  It was meant for long-term, future projects.  Pence last year secured the release of half of the fund to add lanes to major interstates.  The governor Tuesday announced he will ask the State Budget Committee to approve the transfer of the remaining 200 million.  He says it will be used for capacity building.

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Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

First Lady Weighs in on the Family Impact of a Possible Mike Pence Presidential Run

Indiana First Lady Karen Pence.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

A recent book detailing Mitch Daniels’ near-presidential campaign makes it clear that Cheri Daniels and their kids were the biggest factor in the former governor opting against a run for the White House.  As speculation swirls about a potential Mike Pence presidential run, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith talked to Indiana First Lady Karen Pence about what she thinks about the issue.

Hoosier First Lady Karen Pence says the struggles of being a family in politics are something she thinks about. 

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Politics & Environment
2:58 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Calls Come from Different Corners for Water Policy Reform

Environmental and business groups are starting to sound the alarm bells on the need for comprehensive water policies in Indiana.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce recently released a report detailing the critical need for a state-driven water plan to identify resources and develop ways to deliver water to underserved areas.  

Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda says there are plenty of ways to help serve future water needs.

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Politics & Government
1:45 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Statehouse Leaders Weigh-in on Redistricting Reform

Indiana's current congressional districts. Some advocates are pushing for a bipartisan approach when the next maps are redrawn
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Voices calling for Indiana to create an independent redistricting commission are getting louder this session.

Last session, Speaker Brian Bosma coauthored legislation creating a redistricting commission, with members appointed by legislative leaders of both parties.  While that bill passed the House, it never received a hearing in the Senate. 

Bosma says he will offer the bill again, but notes both chambers need to buy-in this time.

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