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

Pictures of Money / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/

Indiana’s fiscal year is off to a slow start, with its first two months coming in below expectations.

August tax collections came in more than $25 million less than expected – following a July return of more than $7 million below projections.

That leaves the state already 1.5-percent off the mark through the first two months of the new fiscal year.

Corporate taxes fared well in August, more than 40-percent better than expected.

But individual income taxes scuffled after a strong July and sales taxes performed poorly again, more than $20 million off the mark.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The United Auto Workers union is criticizing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Young for his past comments on the auto industry bailout.

UAW officials gathered in three union halls around the state Thursday to publicly attack Young.

The events coincide with a new ad from the Evan Bayh campaign. Both criticize Young for comments he made during his first congressional run in 2010, calling the federal auto industry bailout a “waste.”

courtesy State of Indiana

State officials announced a potential 50-year deal Tuesday to lease unused state cell towers and use the money to pay for the Bicentennial projects.

The Indiana Finance Authority approved an agreement on a potential 50-year lease – renewable after the first 25 years – for unused cell tower capacity between the state and Ohio-based Agile Networks.

The deal is expected to yield the state $260 million over the next half-century.

Agile will pay $50 million up front and share a percentage of the revenues generated by the towers with the state.

Parkview Hospital / http://www.parkview.com/en/locations/Parkview-Regional-Medical-Center/Pages/default.aspx

The Indiana Supreme Court is weighing arguments over whether a hospital has to turn over a list of discounted rates it gives insured patients. 

Thomas Frost was a patient at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne for months following a motorcycle accident. He was uninsured and his bill from Parkview was ultimately more than $600 thousand.

ecos systems / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecossystems/15915563685

Indiana’s Supreme Court justices will weigh whether an Indianapolis police officer can sue over what he calls the gun store’s “unlawful actions.”

Indianapolis police officer Dwayne Runnels was shot with a handgun he alleges was purchased at the store KS&E Sports through what’s called a “straw sale.”

The shooter couldn’t legally buy a gun because he was a convicted felon. So another man bought it instead and sold it to the shooter.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support – and its money – behind Todd Young (R-9th) in Indiana’s U.S. Senate race.

The U.S. Chamber’s endorsement comes with a seven-figure ad buy throughout the state.

Chamber Vice President Rob Engstrom says the decision to endorse Young was simple: the Republican voted with the Chamber 91-percent of the time. Engstrom compares that to Evan Bayh’s (D-IN) 55-percent Chamber voting record.

LuAnn Snawder / https://www.flickr.com/photos/luann_snawder_photography/

  A former federal immigration official testified Wednesday before an Indiana Senate panel on immigration, and he painted a bleak picture of the U.S. immigration system.

Michael Cutler worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for 30 years before leaving the agency two decades ago. He’s now affiliated with a private think-tank that advocates for limiting all immigration – including legal immigration.

Testifying before the study committee, Cutler warned of what he sees as the dangers posed by illegal immigration.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease/

The Indiana State Fair sold alcohol for the first time since the 1940s in 2014 – but only at a beer and wine exhibition closed to anyone under 21. And patrons couldn’t carry alcohol out.

The second year, the Fair added sales at concerts in the Coliseum.

This year, alcohol is sold at Free Stage concerts. Representative Ed Clere (R-New Albany) co-sponsored the 2014 bill and says he trusts Fair officials to balance higher revenue with the right atmosphere.

“The balance is making sure that it stays family-friendly," Clere says.

Brandon Smith, Indiana Public Broadcasting

As the state decides how and where to spend future transportation funding dollars, determining the conditions of Indiana’s infrastructure is a vital piece of the puzzle.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports on efforts within the state that aim to improve this process for Indiana and the nation.

At first look, the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection and Training Engineering Center, or S-BRITE Center, commonly called the bridge gallery, isn’t remarkable.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Republican precinct committeemen in Indiana’s 4th and 5th congressional districts voted Saturday to return Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks to their reelection campaigns.

U-S Representatives Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita each withdrew from their House races last month to vie for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, vacated when Mike Pence joined the presidential ticket.

When Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb got the nod, Brooks and Rokita immediately announced their intentions to return to their reelection campaigns.

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