Brandon Smith

IPBS Statehouse Reporter

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.

Ways to Connect

Frank Hebbert / https://www.flickr.com/photos/f-r-a-n-k/359123912

Researchers say a flat fee on electric vehicles won’t help solve declining road funding revenues, like those faced here in the state. 

Electric vehicles don’t pay into road funding the same way traditional vehicles do because they don’t pay fuel taxes. 

So, some states have imposed flat registration fees of $100-200 on electric vehicles. 

But IUPUI professor Jerome Dumortier says his study shows that plug-in vehicles account for, at most, only about 1.5-percent of the decline in fuel taxes.  And he notes that a flat fee is economically inefficient.

Brandon Smith

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg on Wednesday announced State Representative Christina Hale will join him on the ticket in the fall general election.

Christina Hale, of Indianapolis, has focused on addressing sexual assault issues during her two terms in the Indiana House.

Gregg says, if elected, the former Kiwanis International executive will be his right hand, helping run the day-to-day operations of state government. 

He says naming Hale as his running mate was a governing decision, not a political one, and that her gender wasn’t a factor.

Joey Lax-Salinas / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeybls/

A judge Tuesday denied Indiana University’s attempt to join a lawsuit by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood challenging Indiana’s new anti-abortion law. 

The ACLU of Indiana, on behalf of Planned Parenthood, filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block a new state law that bars abortions performed solely because of a fetus’ potential disability, sex or race. 

Indiana University says a different part of the law, one that bans receiving fetal tissue, will criminalize its research on Alzheimer’s disease. 

Indiana University / Facebook

The ACLU of Indiana says it has no issue with Indiana University joining its lawsuit against the state over controversial anti-abortion legislation.

But the Indiana Attorney General’s office wants to block IU’s action.

The ACLU, on behalf of Planned Parenthood, filed suit last month seeking to block legislation that bans abortions performed solely because of a fetus’ potential disability, gender or race. 

Indiana University also wants to challenge the law, specifically, a section that criminalizes the receiving of fetal tissue. 

Corey Templeton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/coreytempleton/

Some Indiana Senate lawmakers are hoping for a study committee that will focus on a program to reduce food deserts.

First, they must convince legislative leaders to direct a committee to examine a potential program to make fresh food more accessible.

Republican Senator Randy Head, R-Logansport, authored a bill last session to reduce food deserts, or areas where fresh food accounts for less than 10 percent of accessible and available food.

Christian Schnettelker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/manoftaste-de/

Citizen advocacy groups want the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in a case involving the House Republican caucus and the state’s public records law.

The groups filed a lawsuit last years to gain access to emails between a House Republican lawmaker and utility companies.

Thibaud Saintin / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thibaud_saintin/

Federal, state and local law enforcement are increasing public awareness and enforcement efforts surrounding human trafficking as Indiana prepares for the Indianapolis 500. 

Officials say Indiana is a “hub” for human sex trafficking because of the large sporting events it often hosts.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children wants to refocus its efforts on improving child welfare by developing a new strategic plan. 

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children was formed by the General Assembly in 2013 and received a progress report from a national child welfare consultant group.

Consultant Holly Merz says the commission has made great strides in relationship-building in a child welfare system that’s spread in some cases across a dozen different agencies.

Derek Key / https://www.flickr.com/photos/derekskey/

An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis study of California’s prison realignment – directing more offenders into probation, community corrections and local jails – shows no significant impact on public safety.  

But some Indiana experts say it's too soon to conclude whether similar reforms in the Hoosier State will have the same effect. 

California’s Realignment Act was passed in 2011. 

A study led by IUPUI professor Jody Sundt looked at crime rates in the three years following its passage.  

State of Indiana / http://www.in.gov/fssa/hip/

 The Indiana Department of Correction says it has reached a milestone by enrolling thousands of released offenders in HIP 2.0 and Medicaid.  

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