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 / IPBS

Democrats say Indiana Republicans are putting party over country by refusing to withdraw support for presidential candidate Donald Trump over his remarks about sexually assaulting women.

Democrats call it the GOP’s “deafening silence.”

Republican candidates for federal and statewide offices condemned Donald Trump’s remarks from a 2005 video in which he talks about kissing and inappropriately grabbing women without their consent.

Judy Baxter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/judybaxter/

Indiana’s registration deadline to vote in the November election is Tuesday.

And, more Hoosiers are registered this year than in any election during the past decade.

The total number of registered voters is approaching 4.8 million as the registration deadline nears.

That’s about 200,000 voters more than any election since at least 2002.

Downs Center for Indiana Politics director Andrew Downs says the surge is in part new voters.

But, often he finds people don’t realize they’re already registered.

Governor Tom Wolf / https://www.flickr.com/photos/governortomwolf/

Attorney General Greg Zoeller Wednesday announced another round of grant funding to distribute the overdose intervention drug naloxone to first responders around the state. Zoeller says a more sustainable funding source is necessary.

Previous grants for naloxone provided kits of the drug to law enforcement and first responders in about 45 counties.  Zoeller says new funding – $400,000 – will expand that further, with the eventual goal of statewide supply.

flickr.comphotos10333133N03875582123

Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb seemed to break with his boss, Governor Mike Pence, Monday on the issue of Pence’s move to block Syrian refugees from the state.

The comment came during the second gubernatorial candidate debate between Republican Holcomb, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rex Bell.

The primary focus was on jobs and the economy.

But the refugee question was posed after a Monday federal appellate court decision to uphold a lower court ruling blocking Pence’s directive to suspend Indiana’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees.

in.gov/greggforgovernor.com

Indiana governor candidates typically have about six months between the primary and general elections to introduce and define themselves to the electorate. And they’re already spending millions to do so.

But 2016 isn’t a typical election cycle. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports on how identity plays a role in this year’s race for governor.

There are 188 days between Indiana’s May primary and the general election.

in.gov/greggforgovernor.com

A leading Indiana environmental organization won’t endorse in the gubernatorial race because it doesn’t have “enthusiastic support” for plans put forward by either Republican Eric Holcomb or Democrat John Gregg.

Steve Francis is the political chair of the Hoosier chapter of the Sierra Club. He says Indiana’s environmental issues – for instance, its reliance on coal and health issues created by poor air quality – have been ignored by the current administration.

Lee Coursey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leeco/

A debate over a specific way to generate transportation funding dollars resurfaced during the third meeting of the state roads task on Thursday.

The discussion focused on funding sources. And an idea promoted by a Purdue expert testifying before the panel provoked debate among its members: specifically, the value of vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, fees.

In a VMT system, people pay for how many miles they drive.

Republican Sen. Brandt Hershman, (R-Buck Creek), says he has issues with using that type of fee to pay for roads.

Indiana lawmakers are exploring changes to the way money is dispersed from the state’s Military Family Relief Fund.

Debate in a study committee hearing Monday centered, in part, on whether some veterans can be “trusted” with the money.

The Military Family Relief Fund helps combat veterans and their immediate families who are struggling financially. The fund subsidizes food, housing, utility, transportation and medical bills.

Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles

A new image will adorn Indiana’s standard license plate -- and it’s an icon of the state’s rural past.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles unveiled three potential designs for the new plate in August: one featured the state outline with a torch surrounded by stars inside it; the second had a yellow banner on the bottom reading “Crossroads of America.”

The third, the most colorful, featured verdant scenery with a red covered bridge under the center of the plate.

Courtesy Governor Mike Pence

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb unveiled the first policy proposals of his campaign, including economic development, infrastructure and energy initiatives.

The proposals were short on the specifics of funding:

Many of Lieutenant Governor Holcomb’s proposals are the continuation of initiatives begun by Gov. Mike Pence.

This includes a $1 billion entrepreneurship plan, a new port, a new bridge over the Ohio River, and growing the Regional Cities program.

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