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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

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.

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.