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Bob Watson

Stories by Bob

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Curbing water quality control

A Lake of the Ozarks area woman recently told state Sen. Dan Brown that “she’s scared to death” the state and federal regulators will require tougher standards for getting permits to discharge sewage into the lake.

Mid-Missouri lawmakers: State still needs nuclear expansion

Westinghouse pulling back from idea of small reactors

Missouri still must pursue a nuclear option for producing more electricity, even though Westinghouse Electric has said it’s backing off plans to produce “small modular reactors” that Missouri leaders had been supporting.

Impeachment process scrutinized

Twenty years ago this year, Secretary of State Judi Moriarty was accused of allowing her son to file as a candidate for state representative, even though he didn’t make the trip to Jefferson City to file in person as state law required.

Lager renews effort to limit 'whistle blowing'

State Sen. Brad Lager told a Senate committee Monday that a court ruling “a few years ago … dramatically changed the way that ‘whistle blower’ was interpreted in our state.”

Proposed law would give state boards, commissions newer members

When Lincoln University’s curators meet Thursday in Jefferson City, they still will be short one voting member — a vacancy that’s existed for a year, after some members of the Missouri Senate indicated they wouldn’t approve Gov. Jay Nixon’s nomination of former St. Charles Community College President John McGuire as an LU curator to succeed Rodney Boyd of St. Louis, whose term had expired Jan. 1, 2011.

Nixon administration cites savings from efforts to reduce leased spaces

Since January 2009, state government has eliminated more than 432,000 square feet of leased space and renegotiated contracts for leases on other spaces, saving taxpayers $6.7 million.

Nixon releases frozen capital funds

Funding was earmarked for Capitol repairs, address government’s space needs

Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday released $132.5 million in capital improvements funds lawmakers approved last May — the final part of a $400 million withholding he made last summer.

4 petition proposals released for public comment

Four more initiative petition proposals were submitted to Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office this week, and have been released for public comments.

Senate panel backs Nieves’ bill on gun rights

On a 5-1 vote Tuesday afternoon, a Missouri Senate committee endorsed this year’s version of the “Second Amendment Preservation Act” and recommended the full Senate pass the bill.

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Funeral home owner agrees to judgment

She didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, but Barbara Buescher last week agreed to a consent judgment ordering her to pay a $15,000 penalty to “settle the allegations of civil contempt,” in Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Pat Joyce’s words.

Senate debates bill to force governor to fill vacancies quickly

State senators began debate Tuesday on a bill to require Missouri's governor to move more quickly in making appointments to state boards and commissions — or to let the lieutenant governor make those appointments.

Senate again mulls photo-ID requirements for voters

Kander claims measure would disenfranchise 220,000 voters

Calling it “a small issue,” state Sen. Will Kraus on Monday asked colleagues to approve a proposed constitutional amendment and the enabling legislation that “would allow the General Assembly to (write) statutes that would require photo-ID.”

Bill seeks to mandate recusal by appointed judges

Opponents say rules already handle issue, elected judges being ignored

State Sen. Brad Lager told colleagues Monday some Missourians worry that they won’t get a fair hearing in court, if one of the parties or lawyers in the case helped that judge get his or her job.

Bonding plan could lead to fight

How to pay for building a new Fulton State Hospital is the topic of Wednesday’s 8 a.m. House Budget Committee meeting.

Secretary of state gets 4 petitions involving tobacco, income taxes

Missourians have until Feb. 8 to comment on four new initiative petition proposals submitted to Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office Friday.

Joyce announces re-election bid

Patricia Joyce, Cole County’s presiding circuit judge, said Friday she’ll ask voters in November to give her another six-year term on the bench.

MoDOT's funding future called bleak

Missouri’s Transportation Department still faces serious financial troubles, so lawmakers again this year are being asked to place a 1-cent sales tax increase on the Nov. 4 general elections ballot

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Nixon visits Fulton to promote bonding plan

After asking Missouri lawmakers Tuesday night to approve a $198 million bond sale to pay for a new Fulton State Hospital, Gov. Jay Nixon will visit Fulton’s City Hall this morning to discuss his proposal.

Treasurer Zweifel explains need for 'Military Partnership'

With two major military bases — Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base — as well as a successful National Guard operation throughout the state, Missouri leaders want to do more to make sure federal budget changes don’t cause major damage.

Russell touts criminal code revision

Missouri’s courts remain focused on improving the ways technology is used, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Russell told lawmakers Wednesday.

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Budget includes 3 percent raise for state workers

State employees would get a 3 percent “cost of living adjustment” pay raise, starting next Jan. 1, under Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed $27.667 billion budget.

Former lawmakers leading effort to oppose ‘Right to Farm’ amendment

Missourians should oppose the proposed “Right to Farm” amendment on the November ballot, because it takes away their freedoms while giving special protections to one industry, leaders of the new “Missouri’s Food For America” committee said Tuesday.

LU has ideas for using St. Mary's as nursing school

Connie Hamacher is “excited” about the possibility that her Lincoln University nursing students soon could be studying inside the current St. Mary’s Health Center complex.

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St. Mary's offers to give old hospital to state

Nixon wants $10 million to renovate part of St. Mary's for LU nursing program

Lincoln University’s nursing program could be holding classes in the soon-to-be-former St. Mary’s Health Center, if Missouri lawmakers approve Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan to take over the seven-acre complex near downtown Jefferson City.

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Facial-hair lovers meet for friendship, service

For the first time, members of several Missouri-based beard and moustache clubs organized a meeting and gathered at Jefferson City’s J. Pfenny’s Sports Grill and Pub on Saturday.

Nixon to make education announcement

One day before delivering his State of the State address Tuesday night, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will stop at Lincoln University to announce a proposal to help students.

Prayer breakfast offering raises $4,354 for Samaritan Center

Jefferson City’s Samaritan Center is getting a $4,354 donation, thanks to donations from any of the nearly 800 people who attended the Jan. 9 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.

Linn State regents extend president's contract

Don Claycomb will remain Linn State Technical College’s president at least through June 2016.

Lawmakers asked to open LAGERS to more pension programs

If Missouri lawmakers and Gov. Jay Nixon agree, Jefferson City government’s management of its older Firefighters Pension Fund could become a thing of the past.

Quick debate eyed on new criminal code

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Dixon said Wednesday the 739-page bill revamping Missouri’s criminal code “will be out of the committee by the end of the month.”

Lawmakers again asked to redefine ‘misconduct’ by fired workers

Missouri lawmakers this year again are being asked to pass a law changing the state’s definitions of “misconduct” and “good cause” as applied to people’s ability to collect unemployment insurance.

2 national groups push for more privatization

The group Americans For Prosperity on Tuesday launched a nine-week campaign to suggest ways the Mo. General Assembly and Gov. Jay Nixon can “think outside the box, really go after some bold ideas,” said Patrick Werner, AFP’s Missouri director.

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Louise Gardner dies at 82; only woman to serve as JC mayor

Louise Gardner is the only woman among 60 people who have served as Jefferson City’s mayor since 1839, according to the list posted on the city’s website, www.jeffcitymo.org. Gardner, 82, died Sunday.

Cole County sees healthy reserves, property tax cut in 2014

For the fifth year, Cole County government’s budget is based on tax income that includes a property tax reduction.

School Board to consider using temp service for substitutes

Jefferson City’s school board has two votes scheduled during Monday’s meeting, including a proposal to use the Kelly Services agency for getting substitute teachers.

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Student leaders learn from others' bad choices

Student leaders from Missouri’s colleges learned about leadership in an unlikely place this week while attending the Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values.

Defendant to testify Monday in his arson trial

State rests after more investigation testimony

Kurt Steidley will testify Monday morning in his own defense, on what will be the fourth day of his trial on second-degree arson charges.

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Convoy of Hope leader urges cooperation among all

For the last two decades, Hal Donaldson has been helping provide emergency assistance to people with great needs.

Nixon urges less conflict among politicians

Gov. Jay Nixon knows politics can be full of conflicts and tension.

4 taxpayers challenge Nixon’s executive order allowing same-sex couples to file ‘married’ tax returns

Four Missouri taxpayers — including Jefferson City resident Don Hinkle and two others connected with the Missouri Baptist Convention — want the courts to reject Gov. Jay Nixon’s November executive order allowing same-sex couples to file “combined” income tax forms, if they also file joint federal returns.

Richard: Senate open for debate on all issues

Any bill that wins a Senate committee’s support this year has a chance to be debated by the full Senate, Floor Leader Ron Richard said Wednesday.

Cole County budget, Bus. 50 contract approved

Cole County commissioners on Wednesday adopted a more than $60 million county government operating budget.

County seeks to block 'jury duty' scam

Cole County officials want to stop a scam before it gets much steam.

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Council OKs funds for more road-clearing supplies

Presentation made on Capital Mall TIF

Even though the city’s code allows Jefferson City’s Public Works department to buy only the amount of street chemicals approved in the budget, the City Council Monday night gave the department temporary authority to move money from other accounts so it can buy more supplies — if it needs to keep dealing with winter weather conditions.

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Council to discuss proposed Capital Mall TIF

On Monday night, Jefferson City’s council members get their first official look at the Capital Mall’s request for a TIF — tax increment financing — district to make improvements at the nearly 36-year-old shopping center.

Mid-Missouri legislators preparing for new session

Expect lawmakers to work on tax cut, economic development and money bills throughout the legislative session that starts Wednesday, Jefferson City Republicans Mike Kehoe and Jay Barnes both said last week.

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The final stamp on his career

Friday will be Don Knoth’s last day as Jefferson City’s postmaster — as well as his last day as an active U.S. Postal Service employee.

Kander explains online registration option

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander last week added an “online tool that allows Missourians to fill out a voter registration form” through his office’s website.

Sheriff Dixon ordered to stand trial after preliminary hearing

Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon faces trial on a felony charge of tampering with a motor vehicle. Although five charges were filed in the case against Dixon, only one is a felony and the subject of Friday’s hearing.

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Patrol returns to river in search for missing man

With some family members watching, the search in the Missouri River resumed Thursday for a Jefferson City man who may have jumped from the Missouri River bridge a week ago.