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.

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Indiana continues to struggle in its new fiscal year as revenues came in below expectations in August.

Total state tax collections came in about $18 million off the mark in August. That puts the state more than $40 million behind projections this fiscal year.

Sales and corporate tax revenues continue to struggle. Corporate taxes in particular suffered last month, $31 million less than expected, which is about 700 percent below target.

Indiana’s unemployment rate rose last month for the first time in five months even as the state’s private sector added jobs.

The Indiana unemployment rate went up 0.1 percent rising to 3.1 percent in July. That’s the first increase since February. But it still keeps the unemployment rate well below the national average and lower than all neighboring states.

Indiana lawmakers want schools to develop more robust suicide prevention policies while teachers get training on the issue.

Rep. Julie Olthoff’s (R-Merrilville) bill requires several new steps to create suicide prevention programs. And Olthoff says the first step is creating a statewide suicide prevention coordinator.

“And then they’ll be able to disseminate information and hopefully prevent them,” Olthoff says.

Global tech firm Infosys will bring 2,000 jobs to Indiana in what Gov. Eric Holcomb calls a “game-changing announcement.”

Infosys plans to open four hubs across the U.S. in the next few years, hiring 10,000 Americans. One of those hubs – and 2,000 of those jobs – will be in Indiana. Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka says the company’s plans are aimed at stressing local hiring as it adjusts to a constantly evolving tech world,

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Indiana Senate Republicans rolled out their legislative agenda Tuesday.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, the caucus’ top priorities include a long-term road funding plan, replacing the ISTEP test and addressing vaping liquid regulations.

On road funding, Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says debate will center on the type and level of tax and fee increases necessary to cover current costs.

In education, the Senate GOP wants to replace the state’s ISTEP test, as does every other caucus.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

2016’s Statehood Day celebration looked a lot like those in years past: there was the choir singing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” an actor playing President Benjamin Harrison, and a student reading her winning submission from the annual essay contest.

This time, it was Jillian Stemler of New Albany, for her entry “Bicentennial Travels.”

“It was fun to celebrate Indiana’s birthday by traveling," Stemler says. "In the future, there might be a new state park to explore or maybe Indiana’s first female governor – me.”

Indiana Department of Child Services / http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/DCSLog150.jpg

The Department of Child Services wants the legislature to help improve the process of reporting child abuse and neglect to the agency. 

Department of Child Services legislative director Parvonay Stover says state law requires anyone to report potential child abuse and neglect without delay. And she says the agency wants state law to help ensure that when it comes to schools’ internal policies.

Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republicans in both the Indiana House and Senate retained their supermajorities in Tuesday night’s GOP wave.

House Republicans poured hundreds of thousands of dollars in the final weeks of the campaign into races in northwest Indiana.

They were concerned about losing at least two or three seats there, possibly even more.

When the dust settled, they’d lost only one – Democrat Mara Candelaria Reardon took back a seat from Republican Bill Fine she’d lost in 2014.

The House GOP will return in January with a 70-30 majority, down from 71-29.

Nathan Gibbs / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/

The tone of Indiana’s Senate race turned sharply negative essentially since Evan Bayh joined the campaign in July.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith talks to some of the candidates about that tone and explores what impact it will have as the race enters its final stretch.

If you’ve watched TV or listened to the radio in Indiana the last few months, you’ve probably heard an ad like this:  “Bailout Bayh. A sellout, not a senator.”

And this: “Congressman Todd Young will hurt our families.”

Nathan Gibbs / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/

An Indiana University law professor says state officials’ handling of a possible voter fraud investigation threatens the legitimacy of the election. 

An investigation into a group called the Indiana Voter Registration Project has led to accusations of voter fraud from the State Police and Secretary of State.

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