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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

St. Louis judge: August amendment means some felons can carry weapons

Just two days after Missouri’s Supreme Court was asked to order a new election on an amendment that voters approved last August because of challenges to its ballot title, a St. Louis City circuit judge ruled Friday that the amendment changed the state’s law prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms.

Bonds pushed as way to fund more projects

What would you build or repair if you had an extra $200 million available for projects? That’s a question raised last week in the Missouri Senate.

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Capitol remembers Schweich in brief prayer service

About 15 minutes after Auditor Tom Schweich’s office announced his death early Thursday afternoon, Gov. Jay Nixon, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, lawmakers from both parties and both houses, Capitol staff and some lobbyists gathered in the House chamber for a brief prayer service.

Governor to fill vacancy in auditor’s office

State Auditor Tom Schweich’s death Thursday means Gov. Jay Nixon soon will be naming a new auditor.

Scrambled California law hurts Missouri farmers

Kehoe resolution would send message to California, HSUS

State Sen. Mike Kehoe wants to send a message to the state of California and the Humane Society of the United States: Missourians don’t like your new regulations.

Missouri's farming, gun rights challenged

Supreme Court asked to order new elections on 2 amendments passed last August

Missouri’s Supreme Court judges were asked Wednesday to order new elections, with new ballot language, for two constitutional amendments voters approved last August.

Appeals court ruling explains prison release calculations

Missouri state probation officials must make different calculations for determining when an inmate is eligible for conditional release or parole from a prison sentence, the state appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Green blocks state Common Core payments to consortium

Missouri government cannot make any payments to the California-based Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) because it is “an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented,” Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Tuesday.

Senate committee hears 2 proposals on sentencing juvenile killers

Nearly everyone agrees that, when it comes to sentencing teens convicted of first-degree murder, Missouri’s sentencing law is unconstitutional, because of a couple of U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Schaefer asks AG to get involved in Texas immigration suit

It was a quick hearing Tuesday morning, when Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, presented his proposed resolution telling Attorney General Chris Koster to join in Texas’ lawsuit against the implementation of President Obama’s immigration executive order.

McCaskill: Time for US to end Cuban embargo

Just back from a special trip to Cuba, Missouri’s U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters Monday it’s time to end the United States’ half-century trade embargo with the Caribbean island nation.

State Technical College buys some adjacent land

The State Technical College of Missouri last week bought a half-interest in about 107 acres of farmland just east of the campus, a mile east of Linn.

Senate committee hears 2 versions of Voter Photo ID proposals

A Missouri Senate committee heard almost an hour’s worth of testimony Monday about two bills that would allow the Legislature to require voters to show specific forms of photo identification before they could vote at the polls.

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Missouri facing transportation funding options — with no clear favorite

Like many other states, Missouri is trying to figure out how to pay for future road and bridge repairs and construction.

Missouri Senate prepared to OK change in courts’ handling of ballot issue cases

The Missouri Senate could vote today on a bill requiring the courts to speed up work on challenges to ballot issues.

Lawmakers again asked to allow some older retirement plans to join LAGERS

Missouri lawmakers are being asked again this year to allow some local retirement plans to join Missouri’s Local Government Retirement System — if other employees of that local government already are covered by LAGERS.

US Sen. Blunt, Mo Rep. Curtman promote ‘transparent’ government ads

At the bottom of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s news release are the words: “This release was sent by the office of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), and therefore paid for by taxpayer dollars.”

Missouri lawmakers consider federal balanced budget amendment

Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer wants Missouri lawmakers to discuss joining a national movement to get a federal balanced budget amendment.

Government relations firms announce merger

Andy Blunt and Jim Moody announced the merger of James R. Moody & Associates with Schreimann, Rackers, Francka & Blunt (SRFB) last week, calling the result “a new strategic alliance that will expand the scope of services and capabilities for” their clients.

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Nixon says he and lawmakers cooperate more than most believe

Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday he and the Republican-controlled General Assembly have worked more together and “made solid progress” more often than many Missourians might believe.

KC area senators seek crime lab money

Nixon says the state doesn’t have it

Two Kansas City area senators on Wednesday urged Gov. Jay Nixon to release $1.3 million that’s being withheld, so the Missouri Highway Patrol can take over the crime lab in Independence.

Missouri Senate advances municipal courts reform

Legislation would limit local revenues from traffic fines

One-third of the 27 Mid-Missouri communities with municipal courts could be affected by a proposed law the state Senate approved Tuesday. A final vote is needed before the measure can be sent to the House.

State pressed to pay more for county prisoners

2 bills improving Missouri sheriffs’ operations get support, no opposition

Cole County Sheriff Greg White and Callaway County Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer testified Tuesday afternoon in favor of two proposed laws seeking to improve sheriffs’ operations.

Chairman justifies MoDOT plane use

When the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission met in Jefferson City last week, no one mentioned a recent state audit report critical of the Transportation department’s use of aircraft.

MoDOT pleased with weekend Expressway work

State Transportation officials said Monday the weekend project to remove two bridges over Jefferson City’s U.S. 50-63 Expressway “went extremely smoothly.”

National Federation of the Blind to lobby lawmakers

Missouri was one of seven states represented in 1940 when the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) held its first gathering.

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Downtown Jefferson City store wall collapses

A woman cut her hand, but no serious injuries were reported in downtown Jefferson City Saturday afternoon when part of the facade over a brick wall collapsed.

LU growth better than expected

Jefferson City-based Lincoln University is about to launch a marketing campaign aimed at about 80,000 potential students around the country, LU President Kevin Rome reminded the board.

Blosser resigns from LU Curators board

“That was my last Curators meeting,” Cynthia Blosser told the News Tribune Thursday morning. Blosser resigned from the board as of Friday, she told Gov. Jay Nixon in a letter delivered Thursday.

MoDOT’s new ‘Tough Choices Ahead’ plan won’t help most of system

The Missouri Transportation department’s new austerity plan, named “Missouri’s 325 System — Tough Choices Ahead,” will concentrate on 8,000 miles of a primary road system, which carries about 75 percent of the state’s traffic.

Marriage retreat has helped Jefferson City couples for generations

Marriage Encounter — Growing stronger as a couple

Marriage Encounter has been in Jefferson City for 40 years and is now reaching a third generation in some families to strengthen couples’ relationships.

LU observes 149th anniversary of its founding

What makes a person — or a place or an institution — great?

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Whitton Expressway closes tonight for the weekend

MoDOT to demolish 2 bridges as part of Lafayette interchange work

State Transportation officials issued one more reminder Thursday: Make sure you know the Rex Whitton Expressway will be closed this weekend, between Madison Street and Clark Avenue.

LU Curators adopt, change several policies

Lincoln University Curators on Thursday adopted several new policies and modified some existing ones.

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Consultant approved to design Wellness Center project

Boy and Girls Club also plans move to Lafayette Street location

Lincoln University’s curators approved a new consultant’s contract Thursday with Jefferson City-based Architects Alliance to design the new University/Community Wellness Center that Lincoln and the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry department have been discussing as a joint project.

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Work begins in main Jefferson City Post Office building

Demolition and renovation work began this week on the two floors above Jefferson City’s Main Post Office, 131 W. High St.

Commission approves MoDOT ‘325’ austerity plan

Bumpy roads ahead

With very little discussion, and a 5-0 vote, Missouri’s Highways and Transportation Commission on Wednesday approved the austerity plan called “Missouri’s 325 System — Tough Choices Ahead.”

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.

Court upholds Hosier murder conviction, death sentence

Missouri's Supreme Court this afternoon upheld David Hosier's conviction and death sentence for the Sept. 28, 2009, murder of Angela Gilpin, 45.

Senators: Ethics bill unlikely to limit finances

The Missouri Senate should debate Majority Leader Ron Richard’s ethics bill this week — perhaps as early as today.

State workers one focus of anti-pay raise debate

Missouri state employees’ paychecks — and the lack of substantial raises to those checks in recent years — were at the top of the list in the last couple of weeks, as lawmakers debated whether to accept proposed raises for themselves and the statewide elected officials.

Senate budget leaders challenge Nixon to release ‘Cyber crimes’ money

Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer and some other state lawmakers want Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to release money for Cyber Crimes Task Forces around the state.

Judge stays Dixon license revocation

Dixon can continue serving as sheriff while he appeals Public Safety department's license revocation.

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Senate approves $400 million in building repairs

Capitol overhaul, LU and Linn State top area projects

Sometime in the next couple of years, the Thomas Jefferson statue, the Capitol’s south steps and the protective roof all will disappear so work crews can repair major problems with the Capitol’s foundation.

Senate rejects pay raise for lawmakers, officials

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

Pay hikes go into effect unless senators pass resolution today

Senate skipped vote Wednesday on rejecting own raises

Unless state Sen. Rob Schaaf changes his mind and makes another attempt this morning to get a Senate vote, Missouri’s senators have allowed pay raises for lawmakers and the six statewide elected officials to go into effect because they took no vote on Wednesday.

Lawmakers, state officials to receive pay raises

Missouri state lawmakers and statewide elected officials will be getting a pay raise, after two senators launched a mini-filibuster blocking the resolution that would have blocked the raises.

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Osage County commissioners seek Dixon ouster

The Osage County Commission wants Sheriff Michael Dixon out of office after the state Public Safety department on Monday revoked his license to be a law officer.

Rural prosecutors oppose bills to restructure offices

State Sen. Bob Dixon wants to give counties the option of joining together and sharing one full-time prosecutor rather than having part-time prosecutors with private law practices.

Dixon's law officer's license revoked

Osage County sheriff has 30 days to appeal

Missouri’s Public Safety department revoked Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon’s peace officer’s license Monday.

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