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

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.

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.

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