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

Right to Work took its first step towards passage Friday as a committee passed it to the Senate floor. 

A joint House and Senate committee met for more than five hours, hearing testimony on both sides of the controversial issue.  Right to Work legislation bans union contracts that require non-union employees pay fees for representation.

State Senator Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury), the bill’s sponsor, says the issue boils down to whether Right to Work is good for Indiana

Legislators are hoping a statewide smoking ban will finally get through the Indiana Senate by limiting exceptions to the rule in the 2012 version of the bill.

Only three entities would be exempt from the smoking ban: gaming floors; cigar or hookah bars currently in existence; and existing social clubs whose membership votes every two years to allow smoking. A statewide smoking ban has been passed out of the Indiana House for five consecutive years only to fail in the Senate. 

Indiana Democrats failed to show for the House of Representatives session that was called at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Republicans were in attendance, but Democrats were in caucus on the third floor of the statehouse, which began around noon.

House Democratic leader Pat Bauer said at a press conference Democrats will not attend session until they have assurances that right to work legislation will not be “railroaded” through the legislature. Bauer says the public needs time to give their input and to be educated on the issue.

State of Indiana

A Marion County judge will decide by Wednesday morning if Charlie White will remain Indiana secretary of state. 

Attorneys for Charlie White and the Indiana Recount Commission requested Judge Louis Rosenberg stay his ruling that White was ineligible to run for office - a move that would make Democrat Vop Osili, the runner-up in the election, the new secretary of state.

White’s attorney David Brooks says the ruling should be frozen until a higher court, likely the state Supreme Court, can issue its own decision.


A Marion County judge ruled Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was ineligible to run in last year’s election.

Judge Louis Rosenberg found evidence that White was not living at his 
stated address when he filed to run for office.

White defeated Democrat Vop Osili in the General Election.

The court decision now sends the case back to the Indiana Recount Commission, which previously ruled White was an eligible candidate.

Roughly 90% of state employees will be getting a pay increase in 2012.  Pay increases will range from 2-6% based on performance evaluations.

In 2009 and 2010, state employees didn’t receive a raise due to economic belt-tightening in state government.  At the beginning of 2011, they received an average increase of a little more than one percent.

Governor Mitch Daniels says the legislature budgeted for this year’s raises and they had nothing to do with recent revenue forecasts that showed an improving economy.

With the Super Bowl less than two months away, a bill to close gaps in Indiana’s human trafficking statute is on a fast track.

Attorneys general across the country have focused their attention on human trafficking in the last several months.  And Governor Mitch Daniels says the presence of the Super Bowl shines a spotlight on Indiana.

“The single worst location and occurrence for this exploitation is the Super Bowl.”

State revenues are expected to grow, though at a slow rate the next two years, according to forecasts unveiled Wednesday.  And with the addition of recently discovered tax revenue that had been misplaced, the state budget surplus could reach more than $1.7 billion next year. 


Indiana Supreme Court

Indiana's judicial branch released its 2010 Judicial Service Report and revealed the state needs about 597 judges, but only has 441.  This forces judges to work at 135%.

Chief Justice Randall Shepard says the issue of whether Indiana has enough judges for its caseload matters most to people who need to get into court in a more immediate timeframe.

“People who have a divorce or a child custody matter or some need to get injunctive relief.”

Indiana Congressman and Senate candidate Joe Donnelly is calling on Congress to pass the payroll tax cut before the end-of-year deadline.

Speaking at a diner in Indianapolis Monday, Donnelly said Congress should stay through the holidays if a deal is not reached soon.  He says the payroll tax cut is critical for families as the economy tries to improve.

“What a payroll tax cut can do is it puts us in a position where it can put almost over a thousand dollars in every family’s pocket.”