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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

Bill would change law so people can get passports more easily

Last November’s Miller County audit exposed a problem other Missouri counties didn’t know they had — current state law only allows circuit clerks to handle U.S. passport applications.

Bill seeks extra marshal in Fulton

Callaway County needs another marshal at the courthouse.

Lawmakers asked to require some judges to recuse themselves from some cases

Under current Missouri laws and Supreme Court rules, lawyers for each side in a court case are entitled to ask for one change of judge.

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Schweich's spokesman an apparent suicide, too

Police: Spence Jackson left note after shooting himself at Jefferson City home

Within hours of the one-month anniversary of his boss’ death, state Auditor spokesman Robert “Spence” Jackson, 44, apparently took his own life this weekend.

Lawmakers begin home stretch

Mid-Missouri legislators still pushing to get state pay raises into budget

Gov. Jay Nixon didn’t propose any raises this next year for Missouri government employees.

Passing budget is first priority when lawmakers return this week

The Missouri House has already passed a state budget, and a Senate committee is reviewing the bills to see what changes, if any, the Senate wants to make — before conference committee members negotiate a compromise version to send to the governor.

Century-old agency takes new name

Jeanette Mott Oxford had to re-send a news release — because the first one she sent identified her as with the Missouri Association for Social Welfare. But the group this year changed its name to “Empower Missouri,” which the rest of the release included.

JC woman charged after Thursday high-speed chase

A Jefferson City woman was released Friday after posting a $25,000 bond, following the filing of formal charges in a case that included a high-speed chase along parts of U.S. 54 in Miller and Cole counties.

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Long chase ends in Jefferson City

Lone woman arrested as officers stop vehicle for Kansas

A woman driving a car thought to be involved in a Kansas home invasion was arrested as she headed into Jefferson City Thursday afternoon.

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Westboro protesters back in Mid-Missouri

Four local churches targeted; members urged to ignore pickets

For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is a day to remember that day nearly 2,000 years ago when Jesus entered Jerusalem, cheered by palm-waving crowds.

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Former lawmaker has ‘good attitude’ about cancer

Carl Vogel thought he had flu before going to hospital

Jefferson City businessman and former state lawmaker Carl Vogel said Thursday he’s got “a good attitude” about his now three-week battle with pancreatic cancer.

Carl Vogel has 'good attitude' about cancer

Vogel, 60, is undergoing chemotherapy and has 'confidence' in his doctors

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JC school board candidates answer questions at forum

Five candidates seeking to win one of two Jefferson City school board seats faced and answered a dozen question over a two-hour period Tuesday night.

Audit questions AG financial procedures

A state audit said Missouri’s attorney general needs a stronger conflict of interest policy when it comes to taking or rejecting campaign contributions from people or companies the office is dealing with.

Auditor questions AG financial procedures

Audit report includes comments on conflicts of interest and campaign donations

Mid-Missouri lawmakers pleased with session, so far

Mid-Missouri lawmakers generally are pleased with the progress made so far, in the General Assembly’s 2015 session.

Heartland Institute says Missouri has lowest ‘welfare reform’ grades

Claims of ‘dreadful welfare system’

When it comes to welfare reform, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said Thursday, Missouri earned four “F”s and two “D”s — and ranked last in the nation, down from 49th in the institute’s 2008 report.

Senator wants Missourians to add ‘parenting rights’ to Constitution

Voters would be asked to protect choice in raising, schooling kids

It’s already a part of state law, but a Missouri senator wants the state’s voters to guarantee “the right and duty of parents to raise and educate their children” as they see fit.

Businessman challenges state law on political ads

‘Paid for by’ under attack

Like them or hate them, Missourians know who’s behind political ads and materials. But a businessman said in a federal lawsuit that the “paid for by” requirement violates his free speech right to back a candidate anonymously.

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Civics test urged for graduation in Missouri

Former teacher Riddle helping lead push

Missouri students would be required to pass a civics test before they could graduate from high school or receive the equivalent General Education Degree (GED), under the terms of two bills discussed in the state Senate’s Education Committee Wednesday.

Mo. Senate backs state probes of child-on-child abuse

Missouri senators on Tuesday endorsed a bill giving the state’s Children’s Division more authority to investigate complaints that a juvenile has molested or abused another child.

Babysitter sentenced for endangering welfare of child

Shelley Richter was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for her conviction of endangering the welfare of a child.

Proposal would require paper copy of every election ballot cast

Although many people talk about technology leading us to a “paperless” society, freshman state Sen. Bob Onder wants to make sure our elections have plenty of paper.

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Fiber retreat brings variety of art, artists to LU farms

This year’s Fiber Retreat is an annual festival that attracts people from throughout the Midwest, to learn more about knitting, weaving, spinning, crocheting, making dyes and soap, caning chairs and even basket weaving.

State Senate ready to work on budget

Now it’s the Senate’s turn to work on the Missouri government’s $26 billion state budget.

‘Progress Missouri’ threatens lawsuit over video at Senate hearings

A group that supports liberal issues has threatened to sue the Missouri Senate if it’s not allowed to record proceedings in some state Senate committee hearings.

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Hancock plans to work at improving Missouri GOP

Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock not only has no plans to step aside from the job he won three weeks ago, but has promised to improve the party and its operations.

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No state worker pay raises in budget

Missouri lawmakers say hopes pinned on Senate

State Rep. Jay Barnes voted against one of the 13 budget measures the House passed Thursday and sent to the Senate.

Senators comment on Ferguson shootings

2 have announced plans to run for attorney general

Even before all the information was known about the early Thursday shootings of two police officers in Ferguson, before the officers had been released from the hospital, several Missouri state senators took debate time to talk about the shootings and their potential impact.

DESE appeals ‘Common Core’ ruling

Missouri has appealed last month’s ruling that payments to the “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium,” or SBAC, are unconstitutional.

Silver Haired Legislature members push 5 priorities

About four dozen older Missourians walked the Capitol halls Wednesday, meeting with lawmakers and encouraging them to pass the five priorities of Missouri’s Silver Haired Legislature.

Schaaf promotes merging local state data centers

State government could save money and have safer technology access if it merged all data centers into one location, state Sen. Rob Schaaf told a Senate committee Wednesday.

Ferguson wins his lawsuit against LU

A Cole County jury decided Tuesday that Lincoln University discriminated against Kenneth Ferguson when it terminated his job in August 2012 — and the Jefferson City school owes Ferguson $104,901.

Appeals court: Kinder correct in Reynolds 20-year sentence

Now-retired Senior Judge Byron Kinder didn’t make a mistake in December 2012 when he allowed the prosecutor to use screenshots of a cell phone’s call logs during Terrill Reynolds’ trial, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Court hearing local man's case against LU

Former councilman says age discrimination led to dismissal

Lincoln University officials could begin presenting their case today, the second day of former Jefferson City councilman Kenneth Ferguson’s age discrimination lawsuit.

Tort reform back in Senate

Missouri’s Senate this week will debate changes to the state’s civil lawsuits rules.

No wrecking ball in old SMHC future

SSM Health intent on finding a buyer for hospital complex

At this time, SSM Health has no plans to tear down the old St. Mary’s Hospital facility.

John Hancock’s GOP chairmanship apparently not in trouble

Almost as soon as the word spread Feb. 26 that Tom Schweich had died, people began talking about why a man would kill himself only weeks after declaring himself to be a candidate for governor in next year’s elections. One of the reasons getting a lot of traction is an allegation some top Republican officials were trying to block his race for the chief executive’s job.

Nixon urges Bar to help with municipal court reform

Although there are only a few problem courts in the state, Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday, the problems highlighted by the unrest after last summer’s killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and this week’s Department of Justice report on that North St. Louis County town show Missouri’s municipal court operations need some changing.

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Malkin: Vitae helps save lives

Conservative voice uses family story to set stage for fundraiser

Michelle Malkin - author, blogger and regular TV guest who “unapologetically” describes herself as a “conservative journalist” - was raised to be pro-life, she told about 200 Vitae Society supporters at a luncheon Thursday.

Senate sends LAGERS bill to House

Bill gets support from JC firefighters group

With no negative votes, the Missouri Senate on Thursday sent the House a bill allowing local governments to ask the Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) to take over older retirement plans.

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JC woman: State needs power to investigate child-on-child abuse

More than four years ago, Becky Wekenborg’s daughter came to her and reported that a boy was “sticking his hands down her pants and touching her inappropriately.”

4 senators pitch idea of amending U.S Constitution

Four Missouri state senators think it’s time Congress calls a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Parson wants clean politics

Challenges lawmakers, officials to change political process

State Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar and a former Polk County sheriff, urged Missouri lawmakers to change the political process in the wake of State Auditor Tom Schweich’s death last week.

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.