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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

Blunt watching budget, environmental issues

Even as Congress continues debating federal defense spending, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt also is looking forward to the debates about environmental issues.

Stringer named new Mental Health director

Mark Stringer will be Missouri’s Mental Health department director beginning July 1, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday, after the state Mental Health Commission made the selection.

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Library seeking consumers' input

Third ‘Coffee with the Director’ session today

Missouri River Regional Library Director Claudia Schoonover is holding “Coffee with the Director” sessions to learn more from consumers about the library she’s been running for nearly a year.

Lawmakers reject bid to drop Nixon from stadium lawsuit

Gov. Jay Nixon should remain a defendant in a lawsuit filed last month challenging plans to build a new NFL stadium in St. Louis, the six lawmakers who filed the suit told the court this week.

Trouble ahead if Obamacare benefit blocked, group says

If the U.S. Supreme Court blocks one of the Affordable Care Act’s benefits, one national group predicts 198,000 moderate- and middle-income Missourians could lose “critical financial assistance” for their health insurance premiums.

Coleman bank robbery conviction upheld

Gary Leland Coleman was convicted and sentenced correctly, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a 5-2 decision.

Committee backs elementary expansion and 2nd high school — but no election date, yet

The Jefferson City Public Schools’ ad hoc facilities committee generally agreed Monday what proposals to recommend to the full, seven-member School Board — but didn’t agree, yet, on when to ask voters to approve the ideas.

Officials still alert as bird flu threat appears to wane

Four Missouri operation remain on quarantine

There are some signs that this year’s bird flu epidemic is starting to wane.

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Initiating possible changes in state government

14 petitions await circulation for Missouri voters' signatures

Missourians soon may be asked to sign petitions seeking various changes in state laws or the Constitution.

Valued employee celebrates 40 years at Lincoln

Several people last week said one of the reasons Rose Ann Ortmeyer is a valued Lincoln University employee is because she “knows everything.”

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Lincoln eyes need for more rooms, still considering hospitality degree

Lincoln University is growing — and that growth means increasing pressures to find more rooms for students to live in.

Curators approve LU budget, strategic plan

Lincoln University’s Board of Curators on Thursday approved the general and auxiliary budget requests, giving administrators the authority to spend almost $41.4 million in the budget year that begins July 1.

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State officials remove Capitol’s time capsule from cornerstone

Link to another time

Missouri officials removed the time capsule from the Capitol cornerstone Tuesday afternoon, and archivists plan to open it some time next week to see what condition its contents are in after a century.

JC educators work on better relationships with students, resource officers

Principles for the principals

Jefferson City Public School middle and high school principals spent Tuesday on a continuing education project — learning how to improve their relationships with their students and with law enforcement officials.

PSC Chairman Robert Kenney announces August departure

Missouri Public Service Commissioners Chairman Robert Kenney said Monday he’ll leave the PSC on Aug. 7, at the end of his six-year term.

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Pastor keeps smiling

One of three “preachers’ kids,” Marcus Sage decided in high school in Oregon he wasn’t going to be a preacher himself.

2015 Relay for Life raises $165,000

The American Cancer Society’s Jefferson City Relay for Life raised $165,000, as of the Closing Ceremony at 2 a.m. Saturday.

Jefferson City Public Schools move closer to November vote

Aug. 25. That’s the deadline for the Jefferson City Public Schools’ Board of Education to tell the Cole and Callaway County clerks they want to hold a special election in November.

Budget bills include Mid-Missouri projects

Mid-Missouri will see a number of projects after Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed three of the budget bills lawmakers passed a month ago.

Lincoln developing study agreements in Asia

In the early 1990s, then-President Wendell Rayburn said Lincoln University had the “most-integrated campus” in the United States.

Groups: Racial disparity report should mark end of bias and beginning of change

Monday’s state attorney general’s report on traffic stops and racial profiling didn’t tell people of color anything they didn’t already know, members of several Mid-Missouri groups told reporters Wednesday.

Osage County fares better in follow-up audit report

State Auditor Nicole Galloway said Tuesday that Osage County government has improved some of its financial operations and is working to improve others.

Mid-Missouri schools do well in bus safety inspections

If they issued a letter grade, Mid-Missouri public schools’ buses would earn an A for passing the Highway Patrol’s bus safety inspections this spring.

'Activist' sues state over 2014 law

Opposes wide-ranging ‘Christmas tree’ bill

Acting as his own attorney, Ron Calzone filed the 19-page lawsuit Friday, challenging “the constitutionality of Senate Bill 672 based on procedural and substantive infirmities, including a change to the original purpose, multiple subjects, and provisions that amount to unconstitutional ‘special laws.’”

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Kelly ready for new adventure after 3 decades of public defense

She hasn’t lost her passion — even though Cathy “Cat” Kelly has retired from the Missouri Public Defender system after 31 years.

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Barrett takes oath as Missouri's 5th Public Defender

Michael Barrett is Missouri’s new state public defender — the head of a statewide system that functions as one of the largest law firms in the state, offering legal assistance to people charged with crimes who can’t afford their own attorneys.

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HUD secretary visits Jefferson City

Add Missouri to the list of places Juan Castro has visited to learn more about housing issues in America.

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Lawmakers sue Nixon, sports authority over proposed football stadium

Six Missouri lawmakers have asked the Cole County circuit court to block Gov. Jay Nixon and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority (RSA) from spending Edward Jones Dome money on a proposed new football stadium.

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JC swimming pools open for the summer

Jefferson City’s two public swimming pools are open for the next almost three months of business, beginning at noon today.

JC Board eyes November vote on school expansion

Jefferson City’s seven-member school board made no formal decisions Tuesday night, except to create a subcommittee to do more detailed studying.

Court denies early release in 2 cases

Chronic offenders must stay behind bars

People determined to be “chronic offenders” under Missouri law must spend at least two years in prison before they can be released on parole, a unanimous Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Appeals court backs Koster, overturns ruling on civil investigation

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s power to issue a “civil investigative demand,” or CID, isn’t blocked by federal law, a three-judge appeals court panel in Kansas City ruled Tuesday.

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Mid-Missourians pay homage on Memorial Day

For nearly an hour Monday morning, a crowd of more than 200 people at Jefferson City’s National Cemetery watched and listened quietly as family members, friends and fellow veterans honored the lives of 130 military veterans who died in the past year.

Interns program to be studied for possible improvements

They’ve come to Missouri's Capitol for years. But events of the past couple weeks have put the legislative interns program in a spotlight few wanted to see or experience.

Chronic offenders seek early release

Missuri Supreme Court hears 2 cases on same issue

Lawyers for two prison inmates told the Missouri Supreme Court this week their clients should be released from prison now that they successfully completed a state-run one-year treatment program — even though a different law says they must stay in prison at least two years.

Appeals court rules former teacher can't recover attorney fees

In connection with child abuse investigation

Judge had tossed child abuse case against former Eldon coach

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Home care workers want Nixon to activate contract

Missouri Home Care Union members and their supporters stood outside Gov. Jay Nixon’s Capitol office for more than an hour Wednesday, urging him to order their new contract be put in place.

School board committee discusses ‘Open Forum’ policy, EpiPens

Rule changes ahead?

Three Jefferson City School Board members spent more than an hour Wednesday morning talking about whether the “Open Forum” portion of board meetings needs to be changed.

Report: Missouri’s poor roads just part of a national problem

A national report confirms what state officials have been saying for some time: Missouri’s roads and bridges are deteriorating — especially in the state’s rural areas.

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Blair Oaks sends 100 seniors out to world

Blair Oaks High School’s 100 graduates heard a lot about “family” during Sunday night’s Commencement Ceremony.

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Observers: Senate’s end both rare and no big deal

Long-time Missouri Capitol observers kept saying they never had seen the type of filibuster the Senate’s Democrats launched during the session’s final three days. And both parties accused the other of stopping action on bills that still needed to be debated.

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Mid-Missouri lawmakers rate legislative session as good

Mid-Missouri lawmakers generally were pleased.

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Dysfunction crowds final day of session

Senate meets for less than 45 minutes on Thursday

The Missouri Legislature came to a standstill Thursday, jeopardizing scores of bills with just one day left in the session, as the Republican House speaker announced his resignation amid a scandal and Senate Democrats blocked all debate because of lingering animosity over a bill limiting union powers.

Schaefer: Special session could change Medicaid

Among the 175 bills and resolutions still waiting for the Missouri Senate’s approval today — the Legislature’s last day for the 2015 session — is the federal reimbursement allowance, or FRA, that means more than $3.6 billion in Medicaid funding for the state budget.

Senate Democrats make good on pledge to stall bills in session’s final days

State of inaction

With only three days to go before the end this year’s General Assembly, state senators on Wednesday took no votes on any bills.

Parson changes recording rules for his committee

For the entire legislative session, state Sen. Mike Parson has prohibited people from using cameras or audio recorders at meetings of the Small Business, Industry and Insurance Committee he chairs.

Joint committee rejects proposed home care pay rule

Missouri’s Health and Senior Services department doesn’t have the authority to propose raising the base wage home health attendants are paid in the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Program, members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) said Tuesday.

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Senate stops debate, sends ‘right to work’ back to House

With several hundred union members watching from the Senate gallery and on closed-circuit TV screens in a couple of hearing rooms, Missouri senators Tuesday evening halted an 8½-hour debate, then passed and sent back to the House a bill that would add Missouri to the list of 25 “right-to-work” states.

Senate Committee endorses right-to-work bill

Issue could be debated today

State Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard said last week debating a right-to-work bill was a top priority for this, the General Assembly’s last week.

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Home care workers, clients urge lawmaker support for wage hike

When the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meets this morning, they should approve a proposed rule affecting home health care wages.