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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

Man charged following search of Russellville home

A Russellville man is in the Cole County Jail this weekend, facing three charges after being arrested Thursday night during a search of his home at 13006 Minnie Drive.

Sheriff reports weapons and drugs seized at Russellville home

One man held for drug trafficking

Phelps' church protested several times in Mid-Missouri

Kansas pastor dies at age 84

Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church members brought their special protest message and prophecy to Mid-Missouri for at least four funerals in the past 15 years. Phelps has died at age 84.

Criminal Code changes inch forward as some question size

For only the second time in Missouri’s history, the General Assembly is being asked to rewrite the entire Criminal Code section of state law.

Proposed ‘Sunshine Law’ changes hit heavy traffic

For the second year, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s effort to “make the Sunshine law better” ran into opposition from some of the government agencies affected by his changes.

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Suit over 'wrongful death' of Elizabeth Olten still ongoing

Elizabeth Olten, 9, was killed in 2009. Confidentiality of the defendant's patient records may have doomed Patricia Preiss’ wrongful death lawsuit.

Senator wants to change two primaries

State Sen. Will Kraus wants Missouri lawmakers to move two primary election dates permanently.

Lawmaker wants to modify state employee retirement

State government would pay less and new employees would pay more toward their retirement benefits, under a proposed law discussed Thursday in the Missouri House Retirement Committee.

Marriage license change advances

A bill allowing inmates to apply for marriage licenses using an affidavit cleared the Missouri Senate on Thursday and now is in the House.

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Green delays sentencing in Everhart arson case

In two weeks, Kurt Steidley will know whether he’s getting a new trial or being sentenced on his jury conviction for second-degree arson.

Senators asked to change death penalty

Three bills seeking to eliminate, or at least control, the state’s use of the death penalty were discussed in a Missouri Senate committee on Wednesday.

Bill would put the squeeze on political ethics

State Sen. John Lamping has a number of ideas for improving state government operations. And one of those is tighter ethics rules on Missouri lawmakers and the people they work with in the Capitol.

Housing tax credit program 'inefficient'

A sometimes controversial low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) program has helped provide thousands of affordable housing units for low income Missourians, but still could be improved, State Auditor Tom Schweich said Monday.

State developing plans for new Fulton State Hospital

Sex offender program needs more facilities

State mental health officials and the Office of Administration are moving forward with planning and design for the Fulton State Hospital, even as state lawmakers still debate how to pay for it.

Auditor says improvements needed in controversial tax credits program

Less than half of tax credits money pays for housing construction

Lincoln lawsuit lingers

Former vice president suing for discrimination

Lawyers for both sides told Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem last week they’re still moving forward on plans to go to trial Sept. 29, on Annette Digby’s claim she was forced out of Lincoln University because she’s Caucasian.

Senator seeks distance from federal laws

State Sen. Brian Nieves doesn’t think lawyers or the courts have the only right to determine whether a federal law is constitutional. He wants Missouri voters in November to change the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Richard: 'Previous question' possible in Senate abortion debate

Ron Richard appears to be frustrated. After the state Senate spent about four hours Wednesday night discussing a bill about abortions — without taking any votes — the Senate’s floor leader said Thursday he’s thinking about using the “previous question” motion to force a vote.

Should schools get A-B-C-D-F grades, too?

Senator urges ‘letter grades’ for school district report cards

Many students know the letters: A means you’re a good student; B means you’re pretty good; C means you’re average; D means you’re in trouble. And F means you’re failing the class.

JC schools, administrators dropped from federal suit over teacher

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey this week dismissed the Jefferson City Public School District and two of its high school administrators as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed last summer.

Revised criminal code gets new push

Missouri’s prosecuting attorneys and representatives of several victims’ advocate groups spent Tuesday afternoon visiting with Missouri senators — urging them to support the proposed rewrite of the state’s entire criminal code.

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Quest for state space

3 area lawmakers pleased by release of funds for capital improvements

Three Mid-Missouri lawmakers are pleased with Gov. Jay Nixon’s release last Friday of $132.5 million in capital improvements money.

Regulation sought on new kind of ‘loan’

Perhaps you’ve seen a TV ad for a company willing to lend you money while the courts deal with your lawsuit for damages because of an accident?

Senators introduce 42 measures on filing deadline day

Missouri senators are being asked to consider nearly 570 law changes, constitutional amendments and resolutions this session.

Nixon releases capital improvements money

Released money includes Capitol repairs

Sewer permits water testing bill heads to House

Missouri state senators approved a bill Thursday that would require water testing before the Clean Water Commission could impose tougher sewer permit requirements.

Foreign laws targeted again

State Sen. Brian Nieves wants lawmakers this year to pass a rewritten version of his law telling Missouri courts they can’t enforce foreign laws that don’t have the same rights as Missourians have under the state and U.S. constitutions.

Senate committee hears two proposals to change damage awards

It might have been called “Businesses vs. Attorneys” at a committee hearing this week on two bills intended to change the way that damages are awarded in lawsuits.

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Area seats draw candidates

Six Mid-Missouri Republican incumbents, including all three Jefferson City lawmakers, drew no opposition on the first day of state candidate filings.

Senators hear bill to resolve inmate marriage license issue

The court-ordered solution in three separate federal cases involving inmates’ marriage licenses could become part of Missouri law, under bills introduced in the Legislature this year.

Firefighters' pension board pushes for LAGERS

For the second time in as many months, Jefferson City’s Firefighters Pension Board has urged lawmakers to let LAGERS — the state’s Local Government Employees Retirement System — take over management of older pension funds.

Lawmakers consider sentencing changes for juvenile murderers

Because the U.S. Supreme Court last year said it’s unconstitutional to sentence juveniles convicted of murder to life in prison without parole, Missouri lawmakers are looking at changing existing state law.

St. Louis senator seeks tougher penalties for voter fraud

People who commit some voter fraud would face stiffer penalties under state Sen. Scott Sifton’s proposed law.

LU to host discussion on taxes Wednesday

Taxes. That’s a major discussion topic each year at Missouri’s Capitol, with some arguing our current tax system needs to be tweaked, others saying it needs to be overhauled, and still others pushing to scrap it all together.

State health plan opening clinic soon

Three weeks from now, the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan expects to open a new health clinic — in the Truman State Office Building.

Emery renews call for eliminating state income taxes

Mo. Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, thinks the General Assembly should ask voters to eliminate the income tax and raise the sales tax to a maximum of 7 percent for all state taxes, and no more than 10 percent for state and local taxes combined.

Teens charged with several break-ins, thefts

Three times this month, Cole County prosecutors have charged two teens with burglary, stealing and other charges for crimes dating back to last fall.

Lager wants people to limit state's income

Will the 10th time be the “charm” for state Sen. Brad Lager’s plan to limit how much state government takes in each year?

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Bill targets lawmen's tracking ability

Robert and Adlynn Harte of Leawood, Kan., told Missouri senators Wednesday they’ve spent $25,000 trying to learn why Johnson County, Kan., deputies raided their home nearly two years ago.

Bill proposes to limit lawmaker/lobbyist deals

‘We all know it’s wrong — and it’s time we stopped it’

Missouri lawmakers need better guidelines on what their relationships with lobbyists can be, state Sen. Brad Lager told the Senate’s Rules, Joint Ruled and Elections Committee Tuesday afternoon.

Dixon proposes removing judges from redistricting process

Missourians would be asked in November to take judges out of the process of drawing new legislative districts, under a constitutional amendment proposed by state Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield.

CBHE: Helping Missouri colleges cooperate

State Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer thinks Missouri needs a stronger, more focused look at higher education to cut down program costs and duplication.

Osage County sheriff's trial moved to St. Louis County

Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon will face his felony tampering with a motor vehicle charge in St. Louis County.

Special prosecutor drops stealing charge against Klebba

Teressa Klebba won’t be going to trial next week on accusations she stole from the Cole County Circuit Clerk's office where she worked, now that prosecutors dropped the case.

Gun law's constitutionality still under debate

As the Missouri Senate debate began this week on Brian Nieves’ “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” St. Louis Democrat Jamilah Nasheed challenged its validity.

Change sought in school district bidding laws

Throughout most of the state, school board members can sell goods and services to their districts, as long as they are the low bidder, but rules vary in some counties.

University leaders defend schools

During his first seven months as Lincoln University’s president, Kevin Rome told the state Senate’s Appropriations Committee that he’s “made some significant changes” in university operations.

Senator: Right to bear arms unalienable

Schaefer renews effort to modify state Constitution’s right to bear arms language

Just like the U.S. Constitution, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer told the Senate’s Judiciary Committee Monday night, the state Constitution protects Missourians’ right to bear arms.

Education groups offer solution to transfers controversy

They often don’t agree on education policies, but groups representing school board members, administrators, teachers and parents presented a united front Monday on a plan to deal with failing school districts and the state law allowing students to transfer out of those troubled districts.

Blind federation members lobby lawmakers on issues

How Missouri’s blind and visually impaired citizens learn to read remains a key issue for members of the state’s National Federation of the Blind chapter.