Brandon Smith

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.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Republicans override another Gov. Eric Holcomb veto. A new revenue forecast projects billions more for the new state budget. And the latest anti-abortion measure is set to become law. 

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Republican lawmakers set up a potential court fight Thursday when they overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb’s recent veto of emergency powers legislation.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana lawmakers will have about $2 billion more to use in the new state budget after an updated projection of state tax revenues was unveiled Thursday.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana’s latest anti-abortion measure will likely soon become law after House legislators sent it to the governor Wednesday.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana’s new, two-year, $36 billion state budget is headed for its final negotiation phase after the Senate approved its version of the spending plan Tuesday.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana House lawmakers debated a ban on so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports Monday.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana legislative leaders are planning to postpone the official end date of the 2021 session by several months because, they say, of delays around redistricting.

Brandon Smith/IPB News and courtesy of the governor's office

Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed legislation Friday that would allow lawmakers to call a special session during a public emergency.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill prioritizing monument protection heads to the governor. A controversial elections measure dramatically scaled back. And legislation eliminating handgun licenses shot down in the Senate.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Some Indiana Senate Republicans want the state to take over prosecution of crimes that a local prosecutor won’t charge.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Legislation approved by the Senate Monday would give more power to local city or county leaders to overturn the actions of local health officials.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered a very different State of the State address, while legislative activity was halted all week over security concerns. 

(Darron Cummings/Associated Press)

Democrats say the General Assembly is not prepared to safely conduct its legislative session in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Darron Cummings/Associated Press)

Republicans rejected an effort Tuesday to require House lawmakers to wear masks during the upcoming legislative session.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana Senate Democrats made their “last-ditch” call Tuesday for redistricting reform ahead of lawmakers redrawing legislative district lines in the 2021 session.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb insists Hoosiers are safe at polling places across the state amid the ongoing pandemic. That’s despite a record new number of COVID-19 cases, long lines at the polls and some county clerks who refuse to follow Holcomb’s mask-wearing order.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Today is the last day for Hoosiers to request a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 3 election.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb insists there is no need to reimpose statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

(Courtesy of Sen. Braun's office)

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s willingness to overturn abortion rights was not a “litmus test” for him.

(Courtesy of the governor's office)

Indiana will launch a settlement arbitration tool for Hoosier landlords and renters as it braces for a flood of evictions when the state’s eviction moratorium ends Aug. 14.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana NAACP are suing Indiana in federal court over what they say is its “unjustifiably early” deadline to return absentee vote-by-mail ballots.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Gov. Eric Holcomb reversed course Friday – the executive order establishing a statewide mask mandate will include no criminal penalty.

That comes after significant pressure over the mandate from some Republican lawmakers and local law enforcement officials.

Holcomb emphasized in his announcement Wednesday that the order wouldn’t focus on enforcement.

“The mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets,” Holcomb said.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t shed any more light Monday on how businesses can be reasonably expected to enforce new COVID-19 restrictions as they’re allowed to reopen.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana’s syringe exchange programs will get “another year of certainty” after a bill extending them was sent to the governor Thursday. 

State law would eliminate Indiana’s nine syringe exchange programs after July of 2021. And after the Senate killed a bill earlier this session to permanently extend them, many worried the programs were running out of time.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana lawmakers are trying to ensure low-income families whose children get a paid internship aren’t penalized when it comes to government benefits. 

Jasmine Burditt works for RISE Indy, an education advocacy group. She says Indiana has been emphasizing work-based learning for a few years – things like internships and apprenticeships. But she says government benefit programs haven’t adapted to that model.

Ryan Mears/Facebook

A Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that retaliates against Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears over his decision not to prosecute simple marijuana possession.

The measure empowers the attorney general to take over those cases.

The bill says if a local prosecutor makes a policy decision not to prosecute certain crimes, the Indiana Attorney General can appoint a special prosecutor to do so and charge the county to pay for it.

Parvonay Stover represents the AG.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee Wednesday.

The legislation, a priority of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s, now heads to the House floor.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb proposed a new plan to free up state dollars for teacher pay in his State of the State address Tuesday. That plan could be implemented this year – but Holcomb wants to wait for 2021.

Republicans insist that further efforts to boost educator salaries must wait until the 2021 budget session. Holcomb’s new plan (targeted for next year) would use one-time dollars to pay down part of a teacher pension fund.

In turn, $50 million a year will be generated to redirect to teacher pay,” Holcomb says.

Courtesy of Weinzapful Campaign

The race for Indiana Attorney General has a new contender.

Former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced Tuesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for AG next year.

That office is getting increased attention in the 2020 election cycle after current Attorney General Curtis Hill was accused of sexual misconduct by five women.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana’s unemployment rate remained at a nearly two decade low in October.

Indiana hit 3.2 percent unemployment in September, then remained there in October. That’s the lowest rate since December 2000. And it’s now been seven months since the unemployment rate got worse.

But the Hoosier State has lost about 5,200 total jobs this year. If that trend continues through the end of 2019, it would be the first time in seven years Indiana lost jobs overall in a calendar year.

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