Bob Beck

News Director

Phone: 307-766-6626
Email: btwo@uwyo.edu 

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988.  During his time as News Director WPR has won 76 national, regional and state news awards.  Bob has received the WEA School Bell Award for education reporting and was honored by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving for his reporting.  He has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state.  He is a frequent political guest and host on Wyoming PBS.   

Bob also taught broadcast news at the University of Wyoming for 20 years and his 1998 television reporting class won a regional Emmy for reporting excellence.  He also was twice given a Top Prof award by the UW Mortar Board.   Bob is also active in community events and co-chaired the 2009 Albany County United Way Campaign with his wife Debra. 

Prior to coming to WPR, Bob worked as a News and Sportscaster at stations in Wyoming and Illinois.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is a native of Wheaton, Illinois in suburban Chicago.  When he is not working he is running, mountain biking, walking his dog or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

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News
5:56 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Senate kills industrial development money bill

The State Senate has killed a bill that was intended to more quickly get money to counties and communities facing the impacts of industrial development.  Opponents said that the mechanism for funding the communities took away the Joint Appropriations Committee’s ability to oversee such money.   But Senator John Schiffer argued that the current system delays funding to local government entities who need it. “This bill addresses the problem for the little towns, little communities, poorer counties, that gonna get impacted when somebody comes in and builds ...

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News
6:43 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Legislature approves wolf plan

The Wyoming legislature has given final approval to a long-awaited wolf management bill.  

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News
5:34 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Education Accountability Measure Supported, Yet Still Unclear

The Wyoming House of Representatives passed a much-debated education accountability measure. 

Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido is optimistic about the bill, but she still isn’t sure what it will do for education.

“That’s the million dollar question, I really don’t know what it’s going to do,” says Valido. “I do know there are some things that we are a little cautious about.  We still are hearing a little too much about testing, testing, testing and not enough about being creative, thinking skills, that whole side of education.”

News
5:32 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Senate Debates Payments For Developing Communities

The issue of Industrial siting impact payments generated some discussion on the floor of the Wyoming Senate Tuesday.  The payments are intended to help communities deal with the impacts of development. 

Casper Republican Charles Scott expressed concern about the costs to the state of sending money to possibly mineral rich counties to pay for their impacts of development that will ultimately benefit that county.  Baggs Senator Larry Hicks says the impacts are real and notes that the towns of Hanna and Medicine Bow are bracing for impacts from a proposed coal to gas project.

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Legislature
5:13 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

House passes health exchange bill

 The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that would allow the state to continue to study setting up a Health Insurance Exchange.  Supporters of the legislation would like to see if an exchange works, whether or not the federal health care law remains in place. 

House Labor and Health Committee Chair Elaine Harvey tried to convince the House to speed up the process.

“We need to develop a health exchange benefit package. What package is Wyoming going to have and then we need to set up an actuarial study, what can Wyoming afford to have.”

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News
6:16 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Coal Valuation Bill Dies

A bill that would have changed the way the coal industry is taxed has died after the sponsor removed the bill from consideration.   Senate Revenue Committee Chairman John Hines says that’s because the bill would cost the state too much money.

“It showed a loss to the state of originally several million dollars,” says Hines. “So we had worked on it the whole time as  being revenue neutral, and with the thoughts this year that our income is going to be down in the future there is a lot of concern about reducing the coal income which is one of our major sources of income.”

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News
5:58 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Education Accountability Nearly Wrapped Up

The Wyoming House is wrapping up work on an enormous education accountability bill.  During second reading debate on the bill, Casper Republican Steve Harshman added a massive amendment that clarifies a number of standards lawmakers want students to meet including writing.  Harshman says it also notes that the ACT will be the way the state will track students who are high school juniors and, overall,he says the bill has clear goals.

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News
5:56 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Senate Approves Grants For OSHA Compliance

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would provide grant money to small businesses to have OSHA determine whether they have a safe workplace. 

Wyoming has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the country for workers, and Republican Eli Bebout of Riverton sees this as a way to use a positive approach to improve workplace safety.

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Coal Values
5:09 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Coal valuation bill dies in Senate

A bill that would have changed the way the coal industry is taxed has died after the sponsor removed the bill from consideration.  

Senate Revenue Committee Chairman John Hines says that’s because the bill would cost the state too much money.

“It showed a loss to the state of originally several million dollars.  So we had worked on it the whole time as  being revenue neutral.  And with the thoughts this year that our income is going to be down in the future there is a lot of concern about reducing the coal income which is one of our major sources of income.”

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Drug Testing
4:46 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Senate kills drug testing bill

The Wyoming Senate has voted to defeat a controversial proposal to drug test people receiving welfare benefits. 

The Senate version of the bill was weaker than a bill that passed the House.  It required random drug testing to determine whether there really is a drug problem in the population that receives welfare benefits.  It also allowed for drug testing if the Department of Family Services determined there was cause for testing someone.  But a number of Senators wondered about the purpose of the initiative and whether there wasa need for it. 

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News
7:25 am
Mon March 5, 2012

House debates education reform measure

The Wyoming House of Representatives has begun debating a major education reform measure.  The House gave initial approval to the Education Accountability Bill that is intended to improve all levels of education.   Various types of testing will be part of the process, but despite concerns by the State Superintendent and some legislators, House Education Chairman Matt Teeters says additional testing is not part of the bill. “My belief, depends on who you talk to, but my belief the amount of testing we will do, also because we are timing PAWS will actually be less,” Teeters said. Teeters says

Legislature
6:54 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Committee changes plan to random testing for welfare recipients

A Senate committee is supporting a bill that would require all people who receive welfare benefits to submit to drug tests. 

Casper Senator Charles Scott says the committee amended the bill to conduct random drug testing to determine if there is truly a drug use problem within the welfare program.

“Between now and July of next year we will get a sample of 100 of those people tested to see if we really have a drug problem in our welfare population.”

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Wyoming legislators to study ways to reduce the increasing costs of Medicaid

Listen to the story

A major concern in the state budget is the growing cost of Medicaid.  Medicaid is  matching federal and state funded health coverage for lower income people, children, those with disabilities and elderly nursing home residents.  State officials say that Medicaid costs take up a large chunk of the state budget and recently have been growing between 30 and 40 percent a year.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that has pushed legislators to undertake a major study to find ways to reduce costs.

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Open Spaces
5:39 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Sen. Enzi is eager to wrangle the national budget, Medicare

Listen to the interview

Wyoming's Senior US Senator is trying everything to reduce the federal deficit, but in an election year and a partisan Congress, it's hard to do much.  During a recent visit to Cheyenne, Bob Beck sat down with Senator Mike Enzi to discuss the budget and health care.  On the topic of the budget, he says they must act soon.

Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Chief Justice Kite wants to make young citizens of middle-schoolers

Listen to the interview

The Wyoming Supreme Court is endorsing a new program to teach middle school students about Civics.  The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Marilyn Kite joined Bob Beck to explain the program.

Legislature
4:57 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Legislature approves stricter DUI penalty

    The Wyoming legislature has approved a bill that would increasethe length of time someone could serve in prison for a fourth driving-under-the-influence conviction.  It would raise the maximum amount of time someone can serve in prison from two to seven years.

During final discussion on the bill, the Senate argued over whether this was going too far.  But a number of Senators defended the measure, saying that people who continue to drink and drive are a hazard. 

Democrat Chris Rothfuss of Laramie says protecting the public should be a goal.

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Legislature
6:13 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Senate to allocate AML money to UW, highways

The Wyoming Senate voted to add more money into highway construction and the University of Wyoming during final debate of a funding measure dealing with Abandoned Mine Land money.

During debate of a bill to spend Abandoned Mine Land money, the Senate restored fundin git had removed from highway aid, and added the opportunity for the University to raise more money for a performing arts center

Senator Phil Nicholas continued his pitch to spend money on the UW College of Engineering.

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Legislature
5:16 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

House initally approves wolf plan

It was once a difficult task, trying to get the Wyoming House of Representatives to approve a wolf management plan. But today, nobody on the floor voiced opposition to the bill that would finally give Wyoming the power to manage wolves within the state borders. 

House Wildlife Committee Chairman Del McComie said groups representing competing sides in Wyoming support this bill.  But he admits there is still some minor trepidation.

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Legislature
5:13 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Senate approves redistricting bill

    The State Senate has given final approval to a bill that redraws Wyoming’s legislative seats.  It protects the seat of Senator Curt Meier, after a committee had previously recommended combining his seat with another Senate district. 

Lander Republican Cale Case told the Senate it’s a bill they can be proud of.

“You can always find a better idea for your district, but as the rings of that rock thrown in that pond work its way out to the shores of Wyoming that what happens is, it gets messed up.  So we did the best we can, but I think it’s something you can believe in.”

News
5:11 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

House Approves Schoool Construction Funding Bill

A bill that funds the construction of new schools in the state has received final approval in the Wyoming House of Representatives.  This despite an effort by the House Education Committee Chairman to remove some money from the bill.  Lingle Republican Matt Teeters complained that lawmakers are building some schools too big and have obligated too many schools to be built.

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Legislature
4:59 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

House approves judicial salary increase

Rep. Rosie Berger

 The Wyoming House has given initial approval to a bill that would raise salaries for Judges.   

House Appropriations Chair Rosie Berger says Judicial Salaries have not increased for many years, and there is a concern if they do not go up soon.

“Just in District court alone we have 22 judges and most probably within the next five years we will have eleven that will probably retire.  What was explained to us in committee is that as they recruit for these judges with these applications that the pool is not large because we are not able to compete with private sector.”

Legislature
4:57 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Senate reconsiders coal tax rates

Sen. Cale Case

The state Senate is considering an attempt to simplify the way coal is valued across Wyoming.  

Members of the coal industry are concerned by rising taxes.  

Lander Republican Cale Case says it’s an interesting issue.

“We are standing back and looking at it,and saying gee is it fair to have a situation where the company’s costs are increasing and yet they are being taxed more per unit of production.”

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Legislature
4:54 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Senate postpones decision on drug-testing welfare recipients

Linda Burt, Wyoming ACLU

A Senate committee has postponed action on a bill that would require the state to drug test people who receive welfare benefits. 

Representative David Miller wants to suspend benefits up to a month for anyone who tests positive. 

Committee Chair Charles Scott noted that Wyoming has very strong welfare regulations, and he said there is very little chance of drug problems with any recipients in the state.  But the committee still wants more time to discussthe measure. 

That frustrates Linda Burt of the Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

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LEGISLATURE
4:48 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Senate considers bankrolling natural gas-station

Sen. John Schiffer

While the Wyoming Senate debated how to spend Abandoned Mine Land funds today, members discussed setting aside one million dollars to build a natural gas conversion and fueling facility for state and private vehicles. 

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News
7:31 am
Wed February 29, 2012

House approves contraception resolution

The Wyoming House approved a measure that some are calling anti-woman. 

The bill called “Resolution-conscience rights” sponsored by Casper Republican Bob Brechtel calls on President Obama to reverse a rule requiring insurance coverage of all approved contraceptive and sterilization methods.  

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News
4:57 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Bill Redraws Districts, Protects Meiers Seat

The State Senate has given initial approval to a bill that redraws legislative districts.  The House of Representatives added an amendment to the redistricting measure that protected the seat of Senator Curt Meier.  This fall a joint committee told Meier his Senate seat would be combined with one in Laramie County and he’d have to run against Senator Wayne Johnson in order to keep his seat. 

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Legislature
3:43 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Senate wants AML money to fund UW upgrades

Sen. Phil Nicholas, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Comittee

The Wyoming Senate voted to use Abandoned Mine Land money to fund upgrades for the University of Wyoming’s Performing Arts Center and College of Engineering. 

At the same time, the Senate added language to the bill, saying that the Joint Minerals Committee will look for ways to enhance the College of Engineering. 

Senate Appropriations Chairman Phil Nicholas says enhancing the College of Engineering both through construction and innovation should be a focus.

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News
7:04 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Senate approves education accountability measure

The State Senate gave final approval to a major Education Accountability measure.  It provides testing and other procedures to keep students, teachers, administrators and parents accountable for a child’s education.  The Senate approved an amendment that would allow school districts to better track how students are doing throughout their entire career. Senator Chris Rothfuss says it’s a different approach. “Tracking a student’s growth year to year -- how good are they one year, the next year, the following year…in K-12.  And that’s what we are trying to track from the growth standpoint,” Ro

News
6:57 am
Tue February 28, 2012

House denies funding for developmental disability services

On the final day of budget debate, the Wyoming House of Representatives denied funding to try and remove some of those on the waiting list for developmental disability services. Jackson Representative Keith Gingery says there is a need to get people off waiting lists as soon as possible and asked the House to approve 3-point-five million dollars to make a difference. “The quicker you can get to a child at an early age, the better they are going to do," Gingery said.

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