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 94 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 was also the voice of an Emmy award winning documentary on memory.  He has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state and 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, doing CrossFit, walking his dog, or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

Ways to Connect

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that would allow educators and students to be trained about child sexual abuse squeaked through the Wyoming Legislature Saturday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Leland Christensen
Wyoming Legislature

A bill that would allow the prosecution of those who damage critical infrastructure or try to prevent its use, is on its way to the governor. Saturday, the Senate voted to accept House changes to the bill that clarified that protesting is okay as long as access to the infrastructure is not blocked.

Listen to the full show here. 

2018 Legislative Session Update: Chaos, Critical Infrastructure, And Education Funding

The Wyoming Legislative session is coming to an end and Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss the lawmakers' progress.

People listen to late night proceedings in the Wyoming House of Representatives
Bob Beck

While budget cutting and education may have been in the headlines, the Wyoming legislature did pass a number of economic development measures this legislative session. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck speaks with Jerimiah Rieman who is the Governor's Director of Economic Diversification Strategy and Initiatives.  

State school administrators oppose funding cuts during a 2018 legislative hearing.
Bob Beck

Education was a main topic of discussion during most of the legislative session. As the legislature comes to a close, K-12 education took a $30 million cut and a couple of constitutional amendments that could have done further damage failed. Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe and Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss join Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to size up what happened.

Wyoming Legislature logo
Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Legislative session is coming to an end and Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss the lawmakers' progress.

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/billreference/BillReference.aspx?type=ALL

Despite strong concern over the appropriateness of spending state money to partner with an airline, the Wyoming House of Representatives approved a bill that is intended to stabilize air service in the state. The plan is to set aside $15 million to partner with an air carrier for 10 years. Supporters say it should reduce current costs that the state pays airlines and should improve air service, which they say is critical for economic development. 

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/LegDetail.aspx?LegID=1241

After a late night debate, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial support for a controversial bill that intends to punish people who damage or tamper with infrastructure such as pipelines or oil and gas facilities. The House amended the measure to narrow what would be declared a felony and reduced the fine for someone convicted, down from $1 million to $100,000.

Wyoming Legislature

The Senate Education Committee stripped out innovative school funding amendments out of a bill after committee members declared the ideas move not germane to the original bill. They also amended the bill so that it resembled a measure that died in a house committee earlier this year.   

Speaker of the House Steve Harshman and House Education Chairman David Northrup were frustrated with the move. They disagreed that the funding proposals didn’t belong in the bill. Northrup says new revenue for education is needed.

Bob Beck

The issue of making edible marijuana a felony is still alive...for now. The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a heavily amended bill that is much different than the Senate version. 

The problem is that some judges won’t sentence someone for a felony of procession of edible marijuana. John Knepper of the Wyoming Attorney General’s office says they are starting to see serious problems with edible marijuana in the state.

LSO

The Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial support to a pair of bills focused on improving Wyoming’s economy. 

The bills would help bring high-speed broadband to more areas of the state and start to find ways to improve air service in Wyoming. Some House members were skeptical about the need to eventually spend $15 million on air service, but House Majority Leader David Miller told a few horror stories about getting major business leaders to Riverton. 

Miller said service gets canceled and flights are delayed on a consistent basis.

Stephanie Joyce

A Wyoming House Committee killed and then said it would resurrect a controversial bill aimed at delaying the construction or operation of an infrastructure facility, like that at Standing Rock in North Dakota. 

The bill provides for prison time and a million dollar fine for someone interfering with something like a pipeline or a power plant. 

Guns in Walmart
Bob Beck

This year the Wyoming Legislature is dealing with a couple of pro-gun bills. So what else is new? It seems like lawmakers are discussing gun bills all the time, but supporters of the legislation say that’s because there are still self-defense and safety issues that need to be resolved.  

The Wyoming Senate made major changes to a bill that would allow someone to use deadly force if their life is in danger or they face the threat of bodily harm. 

The biggest change to the Stand Your Ground Bill removed immunity from prosecution and civil liability for someone who uses deadly force. Senator Drew Perkins says his amendment moves the bill closer to what other states are doing. Senator Anthony Bouchard said the Perkins amendment guts the bill. He added that people in Wyoming have gone to prison for just defending themselves.

A bill that would remove several million dollars from the education funding model was approved on second reading despite some amendments.  The bill was changed to reduce cuts that most school districts would face to roughly three percent.

Wyoming State Legislature

It’s the halfway point of the Wyoming legislative session, and Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to discuss what the big issues are for the state's lawmakers.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming House and Senate wrapped up budget work Friday. As predicted the Senate made several reductions to education spending. Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says the cuts were outside of the classroom and were necessary when you look at the state’s fiscal situation. 

“If all the cuts take place that we are talking about here with what we did last year, we are talking about 5 percent in cuts total. Most agencies have taken ten and 12 percent, community colleges have taken 15 percent cuts, the University has cut $41 million. So, I think there’s room for reductions.”

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate heard its version of a Stand Your Ground gun law and gave it initial support despite a lot of concern over a presumed innocence provision. The House is considering a similar bill.

EQC Funding Restored

Feb 25, 2018

The Wyoming Senate on Friday voted to overturn a decision by the Joint Appropriations Committee to remove future funding from the state’s Environmental Quality Council. 

The funding was removed over the fact that the EQC opposed a coal mine in Sheridan County. Senator Cale Case says the issue was clearly payback.

“And Mr. President you and I both know that’s not the best way to handle an appellate agency that has such an important role in our state.”

Marion Orr

An effort to pass legislation to help smaller communities get high-speed internet is getting pushback from those in the industry. Lobbyists presented a substitute bill presumably intended to keep communities from forming their own internet operations. 

Legislative Service Office

Despite some strong opposition, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill that would set up an investments task force with the goal of getting more money out of Wyoming’s investments. 

Wyoming State Legislature

A Senate legislative committee has approved two bills intended to help address the state’s opioid problem. One bill sets up a task force to determine what the problem is and what could be done about it and the other sets up tracking for controlled substance prescriptions in the state. 

Kemmerer Senator Fred Baldwin says they want to track prescriptions so they know who is getting what and how often. 

Logo is courtesy of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition

You may have heard a little about Blockchain, but if some people in Wyoming have their way, you will learn a lot about it. Because according to these experts, legislation that Wyoming lawmakers are considering this year could open the floodgates for Blockchain businesses. Some lawmakers are comparing it to the internet boom of the 1990’s and say it could completely change Wyoming’s economic future. 

Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Major General Don Alston was in charge of the nation’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force at F.E. Warren Air Force base and is considered an expert on nuclear deterrence.

He’s currently a consultant on the issue and lives in Cheyenne. Major General Alston joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck to discuss a recent review of the nation’s nuclear system and what needs to be done to prepare the country for some new threats. Alston says a recent report indicated that the nation is facing some challenges.

Bob Beck

A State Senate Committee voted to unanimously support a bill that will help the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality clean up abandoned contaminated sites in the state. The DEQ has been busy repairing a number of so-called orphan sites around the state where the companies are no longer available to pay for the cleanup.  

Luke Esch of the DEQ says the legislation provides money from an account funded by taxes and fees. 

"Really allows us to get away from general funds and find a sustainable source of funding for these projects."

Office of Governor Matt Mead

In his final state of the state message, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead stressed the need to restore some budget cuts, work to diversify the economy, and look for long-term ways to fund education. 

Mead says Wyoming did a good job cutting the budget to deal with a revenue shortfall, but now that the revenue picture has improved, he would like to see the legislature restore funding cuts for agencies such as the Departments of Health and Corrections. 

The 2018 budget session gets underway today, and Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck will once again oversee coverage. He joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to preview what might be in store.

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