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 / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana is one of only five states in the country without any bias or hate crime language in its laws. A democratic state senator wants to change that, proposing a bill that goes further than a failed proposal from the 2016 session.

Brandon Smith, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Two candidates for Indiana Lieutenant Governor met Tuesday in a debate that touched on topics ranging from rural and agricultural issues to infrastructure, government regulation, and annexation.

An oft-mentioned issue was the need for greater broadband accessibility in rural Indiana.

Republican Suzanne Crouch says more private grants are becoming available to address that issue.

Eric J Paparatto / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ejpphoto/

Indiana’s new fiscal year got off to a slightly underwhelming start, continuing the streak of lackluster beginnings to its fiscal years under Governor Mike Pence.

In the four starts to a fiscal year during the Pence administration, the state’s tax collections came in less than projected each year.

It’s a slim margin this year – a little more than $7 million off the mark and less than one percent less than expected.

Individual income taxes did well in July, nearly $20 million better than projections.

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Indiana’s race for U.S. Senate between Republican Todd Young and Democrat Evan Bayh is going negative, with no end in sight.

Almost immediately after Evan Bayh entered the race a few weeks ago, the Young campaign and its national Republican backers began their attacks, focusing on whether Bayh lives in Indiana.

The negativity permeates the two candidates’ personal interactions.  Here’s Bayh and Young greeting each other at the State Fair last week.

Bayh: “Hey Todd, how are you?”

Young: “Did you just fly in this morning?”

Indiana Public Broadcasting

Educating young people about Indiana’s Lifeline Law has a new focus this year – text to 911.

The Lifeline Law provides immunity from underage drinking charges to minors who seek help for themselves or others. And it applies not just to those who call 911, but those who text it as well.

State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell – who chairs the Statewide 911 Board – says texting allows dispatchers to more easily follow up on 911 hang-ups, citing a recent example:

State of Indiana

Hoosiers have four weeks to help decide what the state’s next license plate will look like.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles unveiled three options for the design that will replace the Bicentennial plate.

One features the torch and stars from the state flag placed inside a blue image of the state.

The second simply has a yellow banner highlighting the words “Crossroads of America” at the bottom of the plate.

The third is the most colorful, with a green landscape beneath a covered bridge painted red, and blue sky above.  

SEIU Local 1 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/seiu1/

Representatives from business, hospitality, agriculture and construction industries are calling on Congress to reform the nation’s immigration system, and those groups want to bolster that call by highlighting contributions made by immigrants to Indiana.

Immigrants living in Indiana earned more than $8 billion in 2014 and paid more than $2 billion in taxes, according to a report released by the Reason for Reform Campaign, which works to underscore immigrants’ contributions to the economy.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Indiana Republican Party’s gubernatorial ticket is now set, with Eric Holcomb and Suzanne Crouch running for governor and lieutenant governor.

Crouch is looking to make another move up the political ladder. The current State Auditor has been a county auditor, county commissioner and state representative. And she says those experiences will help inform her run for lieutenant governor.

“I understand local government,” she said today. “I’ve walked in their shoes and I know how important sound fiscal management is to the success of all of us.”

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The Indiana GOP state committee will officially nominate gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb’s pick for lieutenant governor Monday.

As Holcomb was announced as the Republican Party’s candidate for governor, he discussed what he’s looking for in a partner on the ticket. He says primarily he wants someone who can run the state. Bowen Center for Public Affairs director Joseph Losco notes that the last two governors have run with women on their tickets:

Republican National Convention/ABC 15 Arizona

Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb is the Republican  candidate for governor. 

The Republican State Committee chose Holcomb over 4th District Congressman Todd Rokita, 5th District Congresswoman Susan Brooks and State Senator Jim Tomes, of Posey County.

The 22-member state committee convened at 10 a.m. Tuesday to fill the ballot vacancy created when Governor Mike Pence withdrew to be Donald Trump's running mate.

A little after 1 p.m., Republican party leaders announced Holcomb will top the statewide ticket.

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