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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Indiana’s inheritance tax will be phased out over ten years under a bill heading to Governor Mitch Daniels. 

With the exception of charitable organizations and spouses, the inheritance tax is levied on people who inherit money or property.  The legislature approved a measure Friday that will phase the tax out over the next ten years.

In the end, Indiana is estimated to lose about $165 million a year in revenue.  Despite the revenue loss, bill author Eric Turner (R-Cicero) says eliminating the inheritance tax is simply good for Hoosiers.

A statewide smoking ban is headed to the governor’s desk for his approval. This, after weeks of debate and compromise have left many legislators aren’t satisfied with the results.

The final version of the ban exempts bars and taverns, gaming facilities, tobacco shops and private clubs.  And it does not prevent local governments from passing stricter bans.

Lawmakers are working on a final draft of a statewide smoking ban,  but there are still significant issues to overcome and only a few days of session left.  Let's made some legislators admit it’s possible the ban won’t get passed this year.

Legislators began work Wednesday on the final details of a bill allowing people to resist illegal police entry into their homes.  Some lawmakers want to assure law enforcement officials the legislation doesn’t put them in danger. 

The bill was introduced after concerns that a recent Supreme Court decision barred people from defending their homes even from illegal police entry.  After significant changes in the House, the legislation emphasizes that the state’s self-defense statutes – passed in 1976 and 2006 – also apply to unlawful police entry. 

Indiana House and Senate lawmakers will meet Monday to hammer out the details of a final version of statewide smoking ban legislation.  For his part, Governor Mitch Daniels says he’s willing to help the cause.

The House passed a bill with exemptions for gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars, tobacco shops and fraternal order clubs.  Bars and taverns were only exempted for the first 18 months.  The Senate added more, including a full exemption for bars, taverns and mental health and senior living facilities.

Governor Mitch Daniels says he’s spoken with legislative leaders in the last few days on what he’d like them to focus on getting done in the final days of the 2012 legislative session. 

One of the bills remaining before the General Assembly is legislation allowing people to, with force, resist unlawful police entry into their homes.  Governor Daniels says he wants to wait until he sees a final version of the bill before deciding whether to support it.

The Indiana Senate passed a statewide smoking ban Wednesday.  However, lawmakers still have work to be done before the bill can reach the governor.

The House has passed the ban six consecutive years, but Wednesday marked the first time it even got a vote in the Senate.  Opponents of the bill say it violates property rights and individual freedoms.

State Senator Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) says the smoking ban is government intrusion into business and he worries about the precedent it sets.

Ex-Secretary of State Charlie White’s permanent successor is closer to being named after the Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Wednesday.

A bill allowing people to resist unlawful police entry into their homes garnered more support from law enforcement after the House amended it Tuesday. 

Brookville Republican Jud McMillin says he worked with law enforcement to craft the amendment passed Tuesday. 

Among other minor changes, the new language limits the times when people can use deadly force against police officers. 

McMillin says the bill now has the support of the State Police and the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police.

One author of the statewide smoking ban says the legislation has been butchered by the Senate. 

The Senate passed several amendments to the smoking ban Tuesday. 

With those changes, bars and taverns would now be totally exempt from the ban, as well as senior centers. 

And social clubs who allow smoking would now also be able to allow children into the facilities. 

Oldenburg Republican Senator Jean Leising authored several of the amendments. 

She says she wants to make sure bars and taverns are on a level playing field with other businesses.