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

The Indiana Election Commission ruled Friday that Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jim Wallace will not be on the ballot in the primary. 

To be on the primary ballot for governor in Indiana, a candidate must have 500 certified signatures from each congressional district.  Businessman Jim Wallace only had 486 signatures affirmed in Marion County.  But Wallace argued that Marion County’s system was flawed and failed to certify signatures that were valid.  Election Commission chairman Dan Dumezich says Wallace didn’t do enough to prove that.

Two bills making their way through the General Assembly this session would make changes to the state’s inheritance tax, and its elimination may be the ultimate result.

A bill in a Senate committee would establish a new center for deaf and hard of hearing education.  However, some in the deaf community are pushing back against the idea.

An Indiana House committee made changes to a Senate bill Thursday dealing with the state’s automatic taxpayer refund trigger. 

The current trigger for an automatic taxpayer refund is 10% of the state budget. That currently equals about $1.4 billion.  The Senate bill raises the trigger after this year to about $2 billion, which is about 15% of the state budget.  House Ways and Means committee chair Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) says he’s open to the concept of raising the threshold.

A bill in the Indiana Senate would boost compensation to State Fair stage collapse victims and give more money to full-day kindergarten.  The money comes from recently-discovered state revenues.

The bill would distribute $5 million among the victims on top of the $5 million already disbursed through the state’s tort claim fund.  The money would be given to the estates of those who died and fully-reimburse the medical expenses submitted by the other victims.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Governor Mitch Daniels does not need to testify in a suit between the state and IBM. Lawyers for both sides presented oral arguments Monday morning.

Indiana contracted with IBM to process welfare applications.  But Governor Mitch Daniels canceled the contract in 2009 after citing problems with the process.  IBM and the state are now suing each other, trying to reclaim costs.

Under a bill currently in the state Senate people who commit Class D felonies could have their crimes converted to misdemeanors 3 years after conviction. 

The legislation would allow offenders with non-violent, non-sex related D felonies to apply to a judge for conversion to a Class A misdemeanor. That change means they could truthfully say they hadn’t been convicted of a felony when applying for a job.

Congressman Dan Burton will not run for reelection in the 5th Congressional District.  He made his announcement on the floor of the Indiana House Tuesday. 

 

Burton has served in Congress since 1983, but earlier in his career he held seats in both the state House and Senate.  He says he wanted to announce his decision not to run again at the place where his political career began.

Looking back at his career, Burton says he’s been proud of his work as a legislator.

 

The Indiana House has added more exemptions to its statewide smoking ban, but supporters still think the bill can pass the General Assembly.

The bill originally exempted the gaming floors of gambling facilities, cigar and hookah bars, tobacco shops and social clubs.  But in order to help facilitate its passage, bill author State Representative Eric Turner (R-Cicero) expanded the gambling facility exemption to incorporate the entire property, including any bars, hotels or restaurants.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is calling on the General Assembly to get a human trafficking bill passed in time for the Super Bowl, February 5. 

A bill closing gaps in Indiana’s human trafficking laws has been on a fast track through the Assembly.  The Senate passed it unanimously, but it’s been held up by unrest in the House.  Now, with Super Bowl festivities arriving in Indianapolis, Zoeller is urging the legislature to act quickly.

Pages