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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Brandon Smith / IPB News

Republican leaders say they halted gun bills in each chamber Thursday to avoid debate on several gun regulation proposals.

Lawmakers say they plan to revive some of the language in those bills before the session ends.

David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

A Senate panel voted Wednesday to get rid of proposed alcohol regulations that would have governed where alcohol is housed in stores and who’s legally allowed to ring it up.

Some advocates decry the elimination of what they call safeguards the same day the governor signed a bill expanding alcohol sales to Sundays.

The proposed bill would have required all cashiers conducting alcohol sales to be at least 21-years-old. But a Senate committee stripped out that provision.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Health care providers across the state will be subject to new reporting requirements when it comes to complications from abortions.

That’s under legislation approved by the House Wednesday.

The bill creates a long list of potential abortion complications physicians, hospitals, and clinics must report to the state. It includes everything from blood clots and cardiac arrest to anxiety and sleeping disorders.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Legislation approved by the Senate Tuesday creates a new crime to charge drug dealers with higher penalties if the person they deliver those drugs to overdoses and dies. But some lawmakers worry the measure will ensnare otherwise innocent people.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

A Senate committee made changes Tuesday to a bill regulating autonomous vehicles. The bill’s Senate sponsor says the amendment seeks to find a middle ground between self-driving car manufacturers and those who want tighter controls on the industry.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana House lawmakers took steps Tuesday to ensure recipients of the federal immigration program known as DACA will be able to receive and renew professional licenses.

The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency recently changed its applications to better comply with a 2011 state immigration law. The move meant thousands of DACA recipients were barred from professional licenses.

Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says PLA is only following state law – but that law has serious consequences.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A bill to expand access in Indiana to baby boxes won’t advance any further this session. Baby boxes are meant to be a more anonymous way for people to drop off unwanted newborns.

Still, the expansion effort is alive and well – in a separate piece of legislation.

A 2017 measure allowed hospitals to house the devices. Last year’s law also grandfathered-in the state’s two existing baby boxes, which are in volunteer firehouses.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A House panel Monday unanimously approved legislation its author calls "the grossest bill of the session." The measure would ban the practice of eyeball tattooing.

Gene Helveston is a longtime Indiana ophthalmologist. He supports the bill to ban the practice of tattooing an eyeball – though he acknowledges he doesn’t know of anyone who does it or has had it done.

“But I think that’s because the proposition is so preposterous that nobody who I keep company with would do such a thing,” Helveston says.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

A Senate committee unanimously recommended creation of a special legislative study commission to investigate the Department of Child Services Monday.

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) authored the resolution. He says his proposed two-year commission is not meant to interfere with an ongoing, independent review of the embattled state agency.

“I think this is a great opportunity for legislators to remain engaged in this process,” Melton says.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says he has doubts about a measure to eliminate background checks at all gun purchases for some Indiana gun license holders.

His comments come amid renewed debate over gun regulations in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.