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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

Changes eyed to state worker health plan operations

State Sen. Rob Schaaf thinks Missouri government can save money by changing the way it runs its employees’ health care plan.

Senate backs Conservation Commission changes

State Sen. Brian Munzlinger thinks the Missouri Conservation Commission needs to represent the entire state better than it does now.

Senators asked to update Missouri's deadly force laws

When is it appropriate for a law officer to use “deadly force” against someone?

Senate panel hears passion about sentencing teen criminals

A St. Louis woman urged Missouri senators Tuesday afternoon not to be too lenient when it comes to requiring a prison sentence for teen killers.

Photo voter ID arguments renewed

In August 2010, current Missouri House Majority Whip John J. Rizzo, D-Kansas City, won his primary election by one vote.

Senate committee hears bills on clearing felon records

Missouri lawmakers are being asked to help some convicted felons get their records cleared from public view.

Senate won’t delay on voter ID issue

A Missouri Senate committee already has taken testimony on Sen. Will Kraus’ proposal to require voters to show a photo ID when they go to vote at the polls.

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Nixon pitches state pay raise, Medicaid expansion, education funds

Governor's budget hits close to home

Among the proposals in his last state budget proposal, Gov. Jay Nixon wants lawmakers to approve a 2 percent pay raise for all state employees, starting July 1, and add more money for education, mental health services and economic development programs.

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MoDOT, lawmakers look at funding options for improving state’s highways

Missouri lawmakers said last week they will talk about more funding for the state’s highway system — although they don’t know what final proposal might succeed.

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Nixon proposes shorter legislative sessions as part of ethics bill

Missouri lawmakers could begin debating changes to the state’s ethics laws as early as this week, the Legislature’s leaders said as the 2016 General Assembly opened last week.

Rod Chapel elected state NAACP president

After falling one vote short in October 2011 and in January 2012, Nimrod (Rod) Chapel Jr. is the NAACP’s new state president in Missouri.

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Decisions in Hall of Fame football career used as lesson at Prayer Breakfast

Aeneas Williams preaches unity

Faith in God helps people live through and survive challenges, the Rev. Aeneas Williams told about 800 people attending the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.

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Fast start predicted at Capitol

Debate on ethics reform could begin as early as next week

Missouri lawmakers could debate some bills as early as next week, the Legislature’s leaders said Wednesday afternoon.

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Nixon: 2016 is the year for ethics reform

This is the year for Missouri lawmakers to pass “ethics reform,” Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

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Let the lawmaking begin

2016 Missouri General Assembly begins at noon Wednesday

Wednesday at noon. That’s when Missouri lawmakers officially begin the 2016 General Assembly session to consider a new state operating budget for the business year that begins July 1 and to debate proposed new laws and changes to existing statutes.

Mid-Missouri senators’ early legislative packages

Mid-Missouri’s four state senators pre-filed 13 bills for lawmakers to consider this year, under the state Constitution’s provision allowing bills to be pre-filed on or after Dec. 1.

Missouri lawmakers facing ‘REAL ID’ challenge

Just four days after the General Assembly begins its 2016 session, Missouri citizens likely will begin having trouble using their state-issued driver’s licenses to get into some federal government facilities.

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Missouri’s presidential primary finalized

In just 76 days, Missouri voters can have a say in who should be the political parties’ candidates to be the next U.S. president.

Who decides child's fate?

Appeals court rules juvenile court, not Children’s Division, responsible for end-of-life decisions

Sooner or later in this modern era, people are asked to make decisions affecting when a relative might die. But who has that power if the decisions involve a sick child who has been placed in the custody of the State of Missouri's Children’s Division?

Missouri's Catholic bishops support Syrian refugees

Bishops John Gaydos of the Jefferson City Diocese, James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Thomas E. Reidy of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis expressed their "solidarity with all those terrorized by ISIS and other violent extremists."

GOP candidates to Nixon: Say No to Syrian refugees

Republicans say Nixon should block Syrian refugees without federal security clearances; Governor agrees state's security is vital.

Day-after-Thanksgiving declared state holiday

Gov. Jay Nixon issued an executive order to close state offices.

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MoDOT tabs New Hampshire man for director's job

Patrick McKenna will start Dec. 7.

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House fails to override right to work veto

Hundreds of labor union members cheered when the vote was announced — the Missouri House fell 13 votes short of overriding Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a controversial right to work proposal.

Druzenko last person to plead guilty in marriage frauds case

Druzenko will be sentenced later this year, along with three others who pleaded guilty this month.

Appeals court upholds Plunkett conviction

Three-judge panel rejects Plunkett's arguments that Callaway County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler wrongly admitted financial records into the 2014 jury trial.

DESE releases statewide MAP scores

Missouri students did well on last spring's math and English language arts MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) tests.

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Hospital plan rejected

It’s back to the planning stage for supporters of a plan to build a 10-bed hospital in southern Columbia.

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State curbs boat speeds on high waters at Lake of the Ozarks

Temporary ban will stay in place as long as lake levels are way up

Lake of the Ozarks visitors also shouldn’t count on water skiing, or ride jet skis or do anything else that causes a wake — because the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Water Division has ordered a Lake-wide No Wake zone, thanks to the high water levels.

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Beetem hears Dixon argument to keep his law officer’s certificate

One year to the day after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon was back in court in Jefferson City on Wednesday in a battle to keep his Missouri law officer’s certification.

License office ‘pay-to-play’ in jeopardy

Senate debates issue day after judge rules it’s illegal

Missouri lawmakers apparently are reaching the same conclusion as Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green: Awarding Revenue department fee offices based on a promise to pay the state a portion of the office income is illegal.

Mid-Missouri lawmakers not happy with PSC decision

Noranda gets rate cut, other Ameren consumers see increase

Four Jefferson City area lawmakers said Wednesday the Public Service Commission (PSC) made a bad decision in its Ameren Missouri rate case ruling. Read for reaction from Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, and Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit.

Auditor names 2 top staff members

New Auditor Nicole Galloway announced the appointment of two stop staffers to her new administration.

Nixon tabs Boone County treasurer as next auditor

Nicole Galloway will become Missouri’s 38th auditor when she takes the oath of office during the week of April 27.

Audit chastises MoDOT

Agency accused of misspending millions meant for road work

State Transportation officials disagree strongly with a state auditor's report that MoDOT may have violated the state Constitution in some of its spending.

Bill seeks extra marshal in Fulton

Callaway County needs another marshal at the courthouse.

Auditor questions AG financial procedures

Audit report includes comments on conflicts of interest and campaign donations

Supreme Court asked to reduce Coleman’s bank robbery conviction, sentence

Question involves stealing vs. robbery

Gary Leland Coleman admitted taking money from New Bloomfield’s Bank Star One branch at 9:18 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2012. So, attorney Amy Bartholow told the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday that Coleman should be convicted of “stealing,” not second-degree robbery.

Missouri Senate rejects pay raise for lawmakers, officials

The Missouri Senate voted 31-3 this morning to reject pay raises proposed last November by the Missouri Citizens Compensation Committee.

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Auto dealers sue Revenue department over Tesla 'dealer' license

Osage Industries of Linn and 380 Missouri auto dealers sue over Revenue department's granting dealer license to electric car maker.

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Majority at PSC hearing oppose Ameren rate increase plan

Power of the public

A few Mid-Missourians supported Ameren Missouri and its operations, but most of the 13 people who testified Wednesday night at a public hearing urged the five-member Public Service Commission to reject the utility’s latest rate increase request.

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Michael Brown’s mother makes impassioned plea for justice

Lesley McSpadden: ‘All lives matter’

Michael Brown’s mother told the NAACP’s “Journey for Justice” crowd during Friday’s Capitol rally that she and her family are grateful for the support and love they’ve received, since her son was killed in Ferguson on Aug. 9 by then-police officer Darren Wilson. Lesley McSpadden had not been scheduled to speak at the rally to end the week-long march from Ferguson to the Capitol — but rally organizers quickly adjusted their plans so the crowd could hear her. “We’ve watched this play out, unfairly and non-transparent, for months,” McSpadden said. “We’re here to ask the government, and the governor, to live up to what we expect them to do for the people.”

Blunt increases effort to block EPA ‘Clean Power’ regulations

Last week’s EPA news release announcing new smog standards just added to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s unhappiness with the federal agency.

Green blocks state Common Core payments

Temporary restraining order effective only 15 days from Nov. 25

Death sentences affirmed in 2006 New Bloomfield murders

Missouri’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences Brian Dorsey received

For the second time in five years, Missouri’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences Brian Joseph Dorsey received for the 2006 murders of his cousin and her husband. The court’s Wednesday ruling on Dorsey’s second appeal rejected several complaints for ineffective counsel during the original case.

Missing man found dead in Three Creeks Conservation Area

Victim told authorities he'd fallen from bluff in Three Creeks Conservation Area between Ashland and Columbia

Public Service Commission holds hearings this week to determine if Ameren Missouri earned too much money

If the Public Service Commission based its decisions only on public comments and testimony submitted in a case, the commission would order Ameren Missouri — the state’s largest regulated electricity provider — to reduce the rates customers pay after finding that Ameren earned more money than it should have, based on the “return on equity” (ROE) the PSC said the utility could earn in its most recent rate case.

3rd Congressional District Democrats see issues differently

Jefferson City Democrat Velma Steinman said she wants to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives “because I feel that our nation’s and state’s veterans need a strong voice in Washington, D.C. — Washington is broke and needs to be fixed.

Judge acquits New Bloomfield woman of trespassing at Columbia clinic

Kathy Forck was not guilty of trespassing on Planned Parenthood’s Columbia clinic property, Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler ruled Thursday.

Koster announces support for ‘Right to Farm’ amendment

Nixon says he’s leaning against the amendment

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Wednesday he supports the “Right to Farm” amendment that voters will decide on next month.