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
6:16 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Governor vetoes portions of the budget bill

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has line item vetoed three areas of the state supplemental budget.  The governor vetoed a section that involved the management of surplus state money and he vetoed a section that required state agencies to consider more budget cuts.  Mead says it doesn’t make sense for agencies to re-do that exercise, especially since it’s possible that the state may get more revenue.

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News
6:13 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

WY one step closer to getting a lottery

The Wyoming Senate is close to approving a bill that would allow the state to enter into a multi-state lottery.  The Senate spent the second day of debate on the bill clarifying language to make sure that the lottery is run properly and that the state is protected.  The Senate has not spent as much time on the moral issues that were the focus in the House.  Senator Michael Von Flatern of Gillette says the Senate noted that those concerns were already aired in the House.

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Lottery bill
6:16 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Senate begins debate on lottery bill

The Wyoming Senate gave initial support to a bill that would allow the state to become part of a multi-state lottery, but not before hearing a lot of questions.  

Much of the debate centered on how the lottery would be administered and costs surrounding it.  Senator Bruce Burns says money raised would go to city and county governments.
 

“They estimate that it will bring in roughly about 25 million and that it should clear based on other states close to our size about a little over six million dollars a year net,” Burns says.

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Education accountability
6:15 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Senate continues work on education accountability bill

The State Senate continues working on a bill that would require schools to be accountable for student performance.  Under the bill, each school in the state would need to meet a pre-determined performance rating. 

Senator Charles Scott successfully amended the bill to say that a principal could be fired if his or her school falls short of that rating two years in a row.

“All these accountability structures are very fine, but when the day’s over you gotta do something if the performance is not adequate,” Scott says.

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Guns
5:27 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Senate Committee amends gun bills

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a pair of gun rights bills with some key changes. 

The Committee reworked a bill that had been intended to threaten federal law enforcement officials with arrest if they tried to enforce federal gun bans in Wyoming.  The committee amended the bill to say that federal officials could carry out their duties, but that local law enforcement could not assist.  Still, the Wyoming Attorney General was given authority to protect citizen gun rights. 

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Sequester
6:23 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Sen. Enzi warns that The Sequester is coming

Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Senator Mike Enzi continues to say that the budget sequester will take effect on March first. 

The Republican told the state Legislature that the sequestration will roll back the federal budget to 2008 levels and will feature an eight-percent cut. 

Enzi says instead of across the board cuts, he says Congress should have taken a page from the Wyoming Legislature and had federal agencies participate in the exercise.

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School accountability
6:16 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Senate debates school accountability

"Empty Desks"
Credit Max Klingensmith / Creative Commons

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would rate schools on student performance. 

The school accountability measure was amended by the Senate to say all schools that do not exceed pre-determined academic targets would have to develop improvement plans. 

The House version of the bill said meeting targets was sufficient.  

Senator Chris Rothfuss of Laramie says the Senate is shooting for a higher bar. 

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

February 15th, 2013

Increased coal exports overseas bring up questions of royalty payments
Coal producers in the U.S. are looking to markets abroad to make up for decreasing demand at home. But a recent investigation by Thomson Reuters news service suggests there might be royalty underpayments on those shipments. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that royalty question is still unresolved.

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Open Spaces
5:12 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Author and Wyoming native Muffy Mead-Ferro discusses her memoir "Its Head Came Off By Accident"

Credit Courtesy of the Carol Mann Agency

The Hansen-Mead family has been an important part of Wyoming history.  Not only are they well known ranchers in Teton County, but they are have yielded 2 governors and even a writer.  Muffy Mead Ferro has written a memoir of growing up in that family called Its Head Came Off by Accident.  Much of the book focuses on her view of ranch life and of her mother Mary Mead...

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News
5:10 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Senate looks at retooling campaign finance law

The State Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would remove the ability for Political Action Committees to give unlimited donations to candidates running for office.  The bill limits the spending of a PAC to $5,000 in statewide races and $2,500 in local races.  Individuals would be allowed to spend up to $2,500 dollars on a campaign. Supporters of the bill have complained that political action committees are used as a way to get a significant amount of money into a campaign.  Casper Senator Bill Landen says right now people contribute through PACS because it allows them to contr

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News
5:03 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Legislature sends budget bill to the Governor

The Wyoming House and Senate have reached a budget agreement on a $78 million supplemental budget and will send it to the Governor for his consideration.  While there was no discussion in the Senate, several representatives in the House were concerned that instead of cutting government…the legislature is spending more.  But House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says most of the money is one-time spending.

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Gas tax
4:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Wyoming Senate passes fuel tax hike

The State Senate has passed a $.10-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax. 

It would raise the tax from $.14-a-gallon to $.24.  It’s expected to generate about $47 million for highways and several million dollars for local government. 

Senate Transportation Chairman Michael Von Flatern says the money is desperately needed by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, but even with the increase, WYDOT is looking at a shortfall.

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News
6:17 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Senate bill would try to keep Life Resource Center open

The State Senate has approved a bill that will study ways to keep the Life Resource Center in Lander open.  The facility serves those with extreme disabilities. The House version of the bill looked at ways of phasing residents out of the facility with the option of closing it down.  Senator Cale Case of Lander says the Senate wants to take a different approach.

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News
6:11 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Bill to allow silencers while hunting gets final approval

The Wyoming House has passed a bill that will allow hunters to use silencers and suppressors for various types of hunting in the state. Before passing the bill, the House removed an amendment that would not have allowed silencers when hunting for big game.  But Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau argued that there are plenty of protections if someone violates the law and if they misuse a silencer or a suppressor the hunter can be punished.

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News
6:02 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Bill that allows tip redistribution passes the Senate

The Wyoming Senate has given approval to a bill that will allow restaurants to set up a system where servers will turn in tips, so that they can be redistributed to other service workers at the establishment.  Senator Ogden Driskill of Devils Tower says it will allow all service employees to make a greater wage.  Driskill says such pooling already takes place in Wyoming, but it isn’t legal.  He says workers and employers want it legalized.

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silencers
4:56 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

House passes bill allowing hunters to use silencers

Sen. Tom Lubnau

The Wyoming House has passed a bill that will allow hunters to use silencers and suppressors for various types of hunting in the state.  

Before passing the bill, the House removed an amendment that would not have allowed silencers when hunting for big game. 

But Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau argued that there are plenty of protections if someone violates the law, and if they misuse a silencer or a suppressor, the hunter can be punished.

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Permanent Mineral Trust Fund
5:42 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Bebout supports increasing the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund

Sen. Eli Bebout of Riverton

As the Legislature irons out the final details of the State budget, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee says lawmakers were forward-thinking with the budget. 

During a news conference, Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton said the spending reductions and cuts to some agencies were needed to get the budget in shape for future spending. 

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Lottery
5:18 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Lottery bill heads to Senate Floor

The Wyoming Senate will have an opportunity to debate implementing a lottery in Wyoming. 

A committee approved the bill 3-2.  It will allow the state to enter a multi-state lottery, such as Powerball. 

Supporters say a number of Wyoming residents are spending money on lottery tickets in other states, and they want to keep that money here. 

But opponents like Chesie Lee of the Wyoming Association of Churches say lotteries hurt the poor “who are more likely to buy lottery tickets then people in other income brackets,” Lee says. 

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Gas tax
5:17 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Senate approves gas tax hike

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would increase the gas tax by $.10 per-gallon. 

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Federal Cuts
6:23 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Lummis tells the Legislature that cuts are on the way

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis told the state legislature that federal budget cuts of $1.6 trillion are coming.

“I am pleased to say that for the first time since I’ve been in Congress, truly significant cuts are coming.  The sequester will take effect on March 1st, it will cut roughly 10 percent across the board on all discretionary spending.”

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Tips
6:18 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Tips bill moves ahead in the Senate

The State Senate has started work on a bill that would allow employers to ask servers to contribute 15 percent of their tips to be redistributed to other service employees of an establishment. 

The goal is to improve service from top to bottom and raise wages for all employees. 

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Workplace Safety
6:16 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Senate debates latest workplace safety measure

A bill that would give Wyoming employers a ten-percent discount on their workers’ compensation payments in exchange for implementing workplace safety initiatives has received initial approval from the State Senate. 

Employers would have to sign up for OSHA’s health and safety consultation program. 

Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton says the program should be a big help for smaller employers.

          

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Life Resource Center
6:14 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Senate considers ways to save the Life Resource Center

The State Senate had a lengthy discussion over a bill that will study future options for the Lander-based Wyoming Life Resource Center.  The facility is used for adults with disabilities and some believe it should be shut down and clients should be sent to other facilities. 

But Senator Cale Case of Lander says the facility is important for people who need specialized care. 

While the House version of the bill was to study how clients would be moved out of the facility, Case says the Senate version will look at ways to upgrade the facility and improve services.

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News
6:37 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

WY House and Senate pass state budget

The Wyoming House and Senate passed their respective versions of a state budget.  Both bodies feature budget cuts of roughly 6% in an effort to deal with declining revenues.  Cheyenne Representative Mary Throne says she is generally satisfied with the budget cuts.

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News
6:17 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Law allowing a secret search for UW President enacted

Governor Matt Mead has let a bill that would change Wyoming’s Open Records law go into effect without his signature.  The Governor expressed concern over the legislation that would allow University of Wyoming Trustees to continue their search for a new President in private.  Mead says he is concerned about expanding the exemption of the Open Records law.  A Judge recently ruled that the finalists for President needed to be made public.   But Senate President Tony Ross defended the bill’s enactment.

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News
12:12 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Senate Committee defeats guns in schools bill

The Senate Education committee killed a bill that would have allowed those with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in schools and on Wyoming College campuses.  The bill died after nobody made a motion to consider it.  A number of educators at all levels testified that the legislation was a bad idea and that such ideas should be left to local school districts to consider.  University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan testified that the allowing guns on campus could lead to problems.

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News
5:14 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Senate begins debate on the interstate sales of health insurance

The State Senate has given initial approval to a bill that will allow out-of-state health insurance companies to offer policies in Wyoming.  The goal of the legislation is to encourage competition and possibly lower health insurance costs.

Wyoming consumers have limited health insurance choices and supporters hope the bill will fix this. However,  Senator Bill Landen of Casper says he is worried that the legislation could harm Wyoming insurers, by bringing in unwanted competition. 

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ExxonMobil
4:53 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

UW gets another donation for the School of Energy Resources

ExxonMobil announced today that it is contributing two-point-five million dollars to the University of Wyoming to support science and technology programs. 

After receiving a state match, the contribution will be increased to $5 million. 

ExxonMobil says that the money will provide laboratory equipment for the Improved Recovery program within the Center for Advanced Oil and Gas technologies. 

Company Vice President Randy Broiles says such investments make sense.             

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News
6:21 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Funding for UW College of Engineering building debated

An attempt to remove funding from the University of Wyoming’s College of Engineering failed in the state House of Representatives. 

Jackson Representative Keith Gingery fought to remove $55 million that will be spent to upgrade the UW College of Engineering, because the state has other needs.     

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News
6:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Lawmakers debate teacher pay

During discussion on the state budget, legislators held a lengthy debate on whether teachers should be eligible for a one-time bonus intended for all state employees.  The bonus is one percent of an employee’s salary. 

In the Senate, discussion centered around the fact that some teachers could get raises through school district base salary increases, while other state employees have not received raises for up to four years.   Senator Chris Rothfuss pointed out that lawmakers have also denied teachers state pay raises in the last few years. He says that could backfire.

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